11 Best Maui Beaches for Swimming

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Every beach on the island of Maui presents a different spectacle. Some are vast expanses of soft, fluffy sand, while others are strewn with rocks. Some have shallow and placid waters, while others have strong currents and riptides that can challenge even the best swimmers. 

Some of the best Maui beaches for swimming are Kapalua Bay Beach, Wailea Beach, Kaanapali Beach, Napili Beach, Palauea Beach, and Kanaha Beach Park. They have calm waters, and many have inclined shorelines and sandy bottoms. Most of these beaches have restrooms and outdoor showers.

In this article, I have listed the 11 best beaches in Maui for swimming. Read on to find out where you can head out for a dip, splash, and swim when you are in Maui. 

1. Kapalua Bay Beach

Size1.7 miles (2.73 km) long
Popular Activities• Surfing
• Swimming
• Snorkeling
• Scuba-diving
• Picnicking
What’s NearbyKapalua Bay Villas
Merriman’s Kapalua

The Kapalua Bay Beach on the northwestern island flank is a swimmer’s Mecca, which remains so all year round. 

The expansive outcrops at either end of the bay shelter the beach, so the waters around here are calm throughout the year and are safe and enjoyable for both experienced and amateur swimmers. The shore slopes gently into the water, making the beach safe for kids who want to splash around. 

Kapalua Beach is also known for its gorgeous sunsets. The golden sands, crystal-clear waters, and majestic palm trees on the fringe add to the scenic appeal of the beach. 

There are plenty of other water sports options here. If you feel more adventurous or want to explore more, you can go snorkeling and scuba-diving. The waters are teeming with varied, colorful life forms, such as tropical fish and green sea turtles

The Kapalua Coastal Trail snakes past the shoreline to DT Fleming Beach. Bring a picnic lunch with you if you want to explore the trail. 

Kapalua Beach ranks consistently among Hawaii’s most beautiful and swimming-friendly beaches, which means that the shores can sometimes be crowded. Ensure that you arrive early in the day and find a vantage spot.

2. Wailea Beach

Size1.6 miles (2.57 km) long
Popular Activities• Swimming
• Snorkeling
• Kayaking
• Paddleboarding
What’s NearbyHumuhumunukunukuapua’a
Grand Wailea
Akamai Coffee
The Shops at Wailea

Hawaii’s fun and frolicky beachy and party vibes are nowhere more evident than at Wailea Beach in Maui. The vast sandy shores of the beach are teeming with people and abuzz with activities throughout the day. 

The waters are calm around here, and the shore has a gentle slope, making the beach safe for kids and amateur swimmers.

The Wailea Beach comprises five pocket-sized strips of sandy shores that are part of the vast premises of the Wailea resort complex. However, the beach is open to all, and you can use the free parking facilities, public restrooms, and outdoor showers. 

The landscaped and manicured gardens and parks of the upscale resorts and hotels around the beach are visible from the shores and create a beautiful and serene backdrop.

If you are at Wailea Beach, try and make it to the Grand Wailea Luau [link to “XX Best Maui Luaus for Families and Kids”], a sensory spectacle comprising fire dances, traditional Hawaiian dances, lilting music, and lip-smacking delicacies. 

It is one of the best Maui luaus for families and kids.

And, of course, you can always choose not to do anything while on the beach and just settle into a lounge chair and soak up the glorious sun. 

3. Kaanapali Beach

Size 1 mile (1.6 km) long
Popular Activities• Swimming
• Snorkeling
• Surfing
• Paddleboarding
• Riding a jet ski
• Parasailing
• Picnicking
What’s NearbyKaanapali Alii Resort
Maui Poke
Leilani’s on the Beach

The crescent-shaped Kaanapali Beach is a vast expanse of soft sand straddling the western flank of Maui. It is one of the best beaches in Maui, where you can go to enjoy a “fun day” or just relax.

That said, the waters are also ideal for a relaxing and rejuvenating swim. The entry into the water is cushioned by a soft, sandy bottom, making it ideal for amateur swimmers and kids who may sometimes fail to gauge the depth of the water correctly. 

You can plunge into the water at the southernmost point of the beach, swim almost two-thirds of a mile, and emerge out of the seas near Black Rock at the northernmost end. 

Besides this, the clean beach is littered with many shopping destinations and dining places within walking distance.

Because of the serene natural ambiance and plenty of commercial hubs, the place is a tourist magnet. That said, its sheer expanse never makes it feel stifling. You can go about your activities without feeling that the crowd is closing down on you.

4. Wahikuli Wayside State Park

Size2.8 miles (4.5 km) long
Popular Activities• Swimming
• Snorkelling
• Picnicking
• Surfing
• bodyboarding
• Watching Sea Turtles
What’s NearbyPalafamala (Canoe and Kayak Store)
Da Shrimp Hale West
Star Noodle

Discovering the tiny strip of sand in Wahikuli Wayside State Park is like learning a closely-guarded secret

The Wahikuli Wayside State Park beach is nestled between Kaanapali and Lahaina, and most tourists tend to miss it as they travel around this region. The beach is, however, popular with the locals since it’s one of the best spots for swimming. 

The region is usually not windy, and the swells are gentle and regular. There are also plenty of restrooms and outdoor showers available. 

Besides swimming, you can enjoy snorkeling here. The Wahikuli Wayside State Park beach is the best site on the west side of Maui to spot sea turtles. The waters here are clear, and you will enjoy up-close and personal encounters with the turtles. 

After an invigorating day in the waters, head for one of the many BBQ grills to enjoy fresh, local delicacies. 

Although popular with the locals, the small beach at the Wahikuli Wayside State Park is quiet and doesn’t feel crowded. The lush lawns and trees of the park offer plenty of spots to wind down and soak in the serene surroundings.

5. Kanaha Beach Park

Size1.31 (2.1 km) miles long
Popular Activities• Swimming
• Surfing
• Kiteboarding
• Fishing
• canoeing
• paddleboarding
• windsurfing
• Picnicking
What’s NearbyThai Farm Fresh
Kalesi Lunchbox

The Kanaha Beach Park is located near the airport and is sandwiched between Kahului Bay and Spreckelsville Beach. The waves break gently, and the beach has a sandy bottom, making it ideal for novice swimmers. 

The beach at Kanaha is swimmer-friendly and provides plenty of amenities. There are outdoor showers, restroom facilities, and lifeguards on patrol. 

This beautiful two-mile-long beach has spectacular views of the West Maui Mountains. Besides swimming, Kanaha Beach Park offers opportunities for various water sports. But at the same time, it also maintains a pleasant and welcoming family vibe in the air.

Locals usually come here to sunbathe, swim, or enjoy a game of volleyball accompanied by lip-smacking snacks and frothy drinks.

6. Baby Beach

Size1 mile (1.6 km) long
Popular Activities• Swimming
• Picnicking
What’s NearbyPaia Fish Market
Island Fresh Cafe
Thai Farm Fresh
Mama’s Fish House

Many beaches in Maui have strong swells and are not ideal for inexperienced swimmers. Baby Beach on Maui’s North Shore, part of Baldwin Beach Park, is one of the safest beaches on Maui for swimming, including for families with toddlers and very young children. 

An exposed reef connects to a rocky dirt patch on the western flank of the beach to create a placid lagoon where the waters are shallow and calm. 

You can see all the way to the bottom, making swimming a fun activity for the young. Giant sand dunes and a wooded strip act as a barrier between the sandy shores and the beach homes and the Maui Country Club behind the beach and protect the privacy of the beach-goers. 

Although there are no restrooms and outdoor showers on the beach, you can access these facilities at Baldwin Beach Park, which is a short and enchanting walk away.

7. Slaughterhouse Beach

Size0.75 miles (1.2 km) long
Popular Activities• Swimming
• Snorkeling
• Surfing
• Bodyboarding
• Windsurfing
What’s NearbyHonolua Farms Kitchen
Coconut Caboose

Don’t be fooled by the name, as there’s nothing scary about a day out at Slaughterhouse Beach.

Located near Kapalua in the western part of Maui, the beach earned its unfortunate moniker due to the presence of a slaughterhouse and tanning shed nearby. The structures have since been torn down, but the name has stuck.

Brittany and I taking a picture with a lounging sea turtle at Slaughterhouse Beach.

The Slaughterhouse Beach boasts the perfect swimming conditions during the summer months, as the waters are placid and clear and are ideal for enjoying a languid swim with sea turtles for company. The water is crystal clear, and you can see right to the bottom. 

The beach offers a scenic view of the towering cliffs that flank the white sandy strip. It’s part of the Honolua-Mokuleia Bay Marine Life Conservation District and is adjacent to Honolua Bay Beach. However, Slaughterhouse Beach is less rocky than its neighbor. 

The sandy beach is easily accessible from the road and provides ample spots to relax and soak in the sun. The towering cliff faces and the trees lining the beach provide shade from the intense morning and afternoon sun in the summer months.

8. Palauea Beach

Size0.17 miles (0.27 km) long
Popular Activities• Swimming
• Snorkeling
What’s NearbyMulligans on the Blue
Ama Bar and Grill
Gannon’s

Hawaii is a land of parties, and the beaches in Maui sport the festive vibes in dollops. However, if you are on the hunt for a serene spot where you can enjoy the sand and the surf without being smothered by crowds, come to Palauea Beach.

Located in south Maui and nestled between Makena and Wailea, this little beach is a beautiful stretch of silvery sand and calm waters. 

The Palauea bay is a recessed bay. The waters are protected from high winds, and rocky outcroppings are at either end of the beach. So, the waves are mellow and break gently on the shore. 

Additionally, the gentle slope offshore and the sandy-bottomed entry create the ideal conditions for swimming for novice and experienced swimmers. 

The beach is tucked away amid residences and is usually populated by the locals. In fact, not many tourists know about this beach, so parking spots are easy to find, and you can enjoy a quiet day here.

9. Makena Beach

Size0.625 miles (1 km) long
Popular Activities• Swimming
• Snorkeling
• Beech Volleyball
What’s NearbyMakena State Park
Jazzy’s Kitchen

Hawaii is dotted with beautiful beaches. However, Makena Beach takes the crown, as it’s one of the most photographed beaches in Hawaii. The vast stretch of white and orange sand flanked by jagged black cliffs create a dramatic scenery. 

The brilliant blue and green waters add color to the landscape.

It’s also one of the safest beaches in Maui for swimming. The inclined shoreline and the sandy bottom make the beach extremely safe for swimming when the ocean is calm.

The water is clear, and an enchanting world of colors, shapes, and textures shimmers underneath the calm watery surface. You can swim and snorkel to enjoy and explore the waterscape.

10. Napili Beach

Size0.7 miles (1.1 km) long
Popular Activities• Swimming
• Paddleboarding
• Bodyboarding
• Snorkeling
What’s NearbyThe Gazebo
Napili Shores Maui by Outrigger
Napili Point Resort Rentals

The crescent-shaped Napili Beach straddles the island’s northwestern shore and is located a few miles south of Kapalua. Its spectacular sunsets and soft golden sands make it one of the most scenic beaches on Maui. 

The setting sun washes the sky and the turquoise waters in a fiery palette of reds and oranges, and you can soak in the views while swimming in the calm waters near the shore. 

The outer reefs protect the waters near the shore from large swells, making Napili Beach ideal for amateur and experienced swimmers and kids. In fact, this beach has calmer waters than most other beaches in Maui.

Apart from swimming, the beach is also popular for other activities like snorkeling and a few water sports.

If you are in Maui to enjoy a lazy vacation, stay at one of the many resorts near Napili Beach. The beach is popular with tourists, and parking is easier to find if you stay in one of the nearby resorts. Also, several facilities on the beach are reserved for resort guests. 

11. Olowalu Beach

Size0.5 (0.8 km) miles long
Popular Activities• Swimming
• Snorkeling
• Surfing
• Kayaking
• Scuba-diving
What’s NearbyMaui Paintball
Olowalu Cultural Reserve

Located on the western side of Maui, just four miles south of Lahaina, Olowalu Beach is home to the Olowalu Reef. This pristine spot harbors a rich and abundant marine ecosystem and is one of the most ancient reef structures in the Hawaiian archipelago. 

The beach is protected from the strong trade winds, and the waters near the shoreline remain calm even on windy afternoons.

The waters are clear and shallow even if you swim further out toward the Olowalu Reef, which is why it’s one of the safest beaches for swimming in Maui.

Besides swimming, you can also go to the beach to enjoy a leisurely afternoon or get your adrenaline pumping with a few casual water sports.

This is also one of the best places in Hawaiian to explore abundant marine life which is teeming on the reef.

Steve Rajeckas

Steve is an avid traveler who can't get enough of the wonder and curiosity that comes with visiting a new place. Some of his favorite destinations include Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne, and Maui.

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