The 11 BEST Beaches in West Maui (2024)

Looking for the best beaches in West Maui? I’ve researched and visited many West Maui beaches to compile this list of the 11 best – plus all the details for each of them! 

Every time I visit Maui, I’ll find a new beach that stuns me. And while I don’t like picking favorites, I’ll say the best ones I’ve been to are in West Maui. The magic of West Maui beaches is the variety.

Whether you want a beach for the little ones to play at, looking for the best spot to snorkel, or want to be in the heart of the action, you’ll be able to find it on this side of the island.

If you want to see which one is best for you, keep reading for my top 11 picks for the best beaches in West Maui.

If you’re going to Maui for the first time and need a guide to the island,
👉 read over my ultimate Maui guide!  

Key Takeaways

  • West Maui offers a variety of beaches for every type of visitor – whether you’re looking for a family-friendly beach, a surfer’s paradise, or the best spots to snorkel, you’ll find it here. 
  • The northern coast offers amazing beaches like Napili and Kapalua Bay Beaches, Fleming Beach, and Honokowai Beach that are all great for families. 
  • On the central coast, Ka’anapali Beach is a crowd pleaser in the resort area, while Kahekili Beach is the spot to snorkel.  

Table of Contents

Beach Locations + Map

Since there are beaches sprinkled all over the west side, I separated them by section.

North:

  • Kapalua Bay
  • Napili Bay
  • Oneloa Beach
  • DT Fleming Beach
  • Slaughterhouse Beach
  • Honokowai Beach

 

Central:

  • Kahekili Beach
  • Ka’anapali Beach
  • Baby Beach

 

South:

  • Launiupoko Beach
  • Olowalu Beach 

Top 11 Best Beaches in West Maui

Northern Beaches:

1. Kapalua Bay Beach

Best for: families, snorkeling
Beach condition: small beach, golden sand, clear water
Check out the TripAdvisor reviews here. 

Amenities:
Cost: Free
Parking lot: Yes
Restrooms: Yes
Showers: Yes
Lifeguard: No
Food nearby: Yes
Equipment rental nearby: Yes
Other: Walking path

Named America’s Best Beach in 2018, Kapalua Beach is one of the most beautiful and family friendly beaches on Maui.

It’s crescent shaped and because it’s in a little cove, it’s protected from winds and rough waves.

That makes it perfect for two things—because it’s so calm, littles can easily swim and play in the water AND it’s a great spot to snorkel. There are two reefs, so sea life is abundant here! Several types of tropical fish and sea turtles.

For anyone adventurous, there are cliffs that are popular for cliff jumping. Just be careful because there is NOT a lifeguard here.

The beach has all the amenities a visitor needs plus there’s also a paved oceanfront pathway that starts here and goes on for about two miles for a peaceful oceanside stroll. 

one of the best beaches in west maui is kapalua beach

2. Napili Bay Beach

Good for: families, snorkeling
Beach condition: small beach, golden sand, clear water
Check out the TripAdvisor reviews here.

Amenities:
Cost: Free
Parking lot: No; limited street parking
Restrooms: No
Showers: No
Lifeguard: No
Food nearby: Yes, plus a supermarket
Equipment rental nearby: Yes
Other: Walking path 

Napili Bay is one of Maui’s most visited beaches. And not only because of the white sand and clear, turquoise water..

Families love that it’s the calmest beach on the west side with small and gentle waves perfect for littles. They also love the low-key, less commercialized vibe; it’s more basic and homier than neighboring Ka’anapali.

Water lovers love that it’s great for snorkeling, swimming, stand-up paddleboarding, and boogie boarding. There are great opportunities for snorkeling and because the water is so calm, even kids can do it.

Since there are hotels in the area, there are plenty of spots to pick up some food. (The Gazebo is well-known and a perfect spot to pick up breakfast before you head to the beach!) 

one of the top things to do in maui with kids is visit the beach!

3. Oneloa Beach

Good for: families, snorkeling, boogie boarding, no crowds
Beach condition: ¼ mile long, golden sand, clear waters, rocky shelf at some points
Check out the TripAdvisor reviews here.

Amenities:
Cost: Free
Parking: Small parking lot
Restrooms: No
Showers: Yes
Lifeguard: No
Food nearby: No
Equipment rental nearby: No
Other: Kapalua Coastal Trail

Oneloa Beach is considered a hidden gem in West Maui. It’s a peaceful and beautiful small stretch of sand next to the Ritz Carlton.

If you want an uncrowded beach to play in the water, this is your spot. In calm conditions, the swimming and snorkeling are great. If there are some nice waves, boogie boarding can be awesome.

The section of the beach that you enter onto has a rocky shelf, so head to the left end for the best conditions and a sandy bottom 

oneloa beach

4. DT Fleming Beach

Good for: families, surfing, boogie boarding
Beach condition: large, golden sand, clear water, surf can get rough
Check out the TripAdvisor reviews here.

Amenities:

Cost: Free
Parking: Parking lot
Restrooms: Yes
Showers: Yes
Lifeguard: Yes
Food nearby: Yes
Equipment rental nearby: No
Other: picnic tables, BBQ grills, walking trail.

Next to the Ritz Carlton, D.T. Fleming Beach is one of the most popular surfing and boogie boarding spots on the west coast

With beautiful golden sands, shade from plenty of ironwood trees, and all the beach amenities, it’s definitely one of the best beaches in West Maui.

The beach is wide and long, so kids will love playing in the sand. On most days, the water is calm so splashing around in the water is a blast too.

However, watch out for the waves though, they can get big depending on the weather. Luckily there’s a lifeguard there to ask before you jump in.

Once you’re done at the beach, head over to the Beach Shack for a delicious lunch! 

visiting fleming beach is one of the best things to do in maui with kids!

5. Slaughterhouse Beach

Good for: snorkeling, boogie boarding
Beach condition: golden sand, clear waters, large rocks, steep stairway down to get to beach
Check out the TripAdvisor reviews here.

Amenities:

Cost: Free
Parking: On-street, minimal
Restrooms: No
Showers: No
Lifeguard: No
Food nearby: No
Equipment rental nearby: No

Located near Kapalua in West Maui, Slaughterhouse Beach is a large pocket of golden sand backed by dramatic sea cliffs. The natural beauty of this beach is unmatched.

If you want a quiet spot to snorkel or swim in the summer months, the water is mellow and the conditions are great. The large stones you’ll see have created a home for all kinds of beautiful fishes and turtles, so snorkeling is a delight.

The winter months bring large waves that are perfect for the more experienced boogie boarders and surfers. The waves are serious though, they can even reach the shore so only experienced surfers should visit.

You won’t find crowds here because parking is limited, and you’ll need to go down a steep staircase to get to the beach path. 

slaughterhouse beach

6. Honokowai Beach

Good for: families
Beach condition:
large beach, golden sand
Check out the TripAdvisor reviews here.

Amenities:
Cost: Free
Parking: Yes, parking lot
Restrooms: Yes
Showers: Yes
Lifeguard: No
Food nearby: Yes
Equipment rental nearby: No
Other: playground, picnic tables, BBQ grill, grassy area

Honokowai Beach Park is another great kid-friendly beach in West Maui.
There’s a barrier reef that forms a natural kid’s pool. It’s a long and shallow pool and perfect for littles. Beyond the reef is good swimming for older kids or adults.

There’s some snorkeling beyond the reef ledges, too. Sea turtles are sometimes spotted off the beachfront.

It’s also a perfect place for a beach picnic. There are a variety of food spots nearby plus a farmer’s market to pick up food.

In addition to picnic tables and BBQ grills, there’s also plenty of shade at the beaches edge. Plus, there are also the added bonuses of a playground and big grassy area too! 

honoko

Central Beaches:

7. Kahekili Beach

Good for: snorkeling, less crowds
Beach condition: large beach, golden sand, clear water
Check out the TripAdvisor reviews here.

Amenities:
Cost: Free
Parking lot: Yes
Restrooms: Yes
Showers: Yes
Lifeguards: No
Food nearby: No
Equipment rental nearby: No
Other: Picnic tables, BBQ grills, grassy area, walking path

Right in front of the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas is Kahekili Beach, the less crowded and commercialized beach in the Ka’anapali area.

It’s an excellent beach to snorkel at—the reef comes right up to the shore so you just dive in and you’re in it! Talk about easy entry.

On the downside, this is not really the place for swimming and surfing because of how close the reef is to the shore.

But for anyone looking for a quieter beach experience with great snorkeling, this is the spot.

You can easily spend the whole day there too—there’s a huge beach pavilion with picnic tables, BBQ grills, and a flat stretch of green grass. 

kahekili beach in west maui

8. Ka’anapali Beach

Good for: families, snorkeling, fun
Beach condition:
long beach, golden sand, clear water, hotel zone
Check out the TripAdvisor reviews here. 

Amenities:
Cost: Free
Parking: lots for a fee, limited free parking
Restrooms: Yes
Showers: Yes
Lifeguard: Yes
Food nearby: Yes
Equipment rental nearby: Yes

Another previous winner for America’s Best Beach! (Are you sensing a pattern here?) Ka’anapali Beach has beautiful golden sands, clear waters, and a fun vibe.

There are seven resorts that line the beach plus a neighboring mall and many restaurants and activities around. So, if you want action, this is your spot.

Snorkeling is excellent around Black Rock, especially at the north end of the beach. I saw every single color of fish when I went!

You can also visit the booths along the beach and sign up to go parasailing, windsurfing, jet skiing, on a boat, or sign up for surfing lessons.

One of the coolest (and most famous) attractions is the cliff diving ceremony every night at sunset. A cliff diver lights the torches along the cliff and dives off of Black Rock. It is awesome to watch! 

kaanapali beach in west maui

9. Baby Beach

Good for: families with small kids
Beach condition: small, thin beach, golden sand, clear water
Check out the TripAdvisor reviews here.

Amenities:

Cost: Free
Parking: Limited street parking. *Park on Front St and enter using Kai Pali Pl or Pu’unoa.
Restrooms: No
Showers: No
Parking lot: No
Lifeguards: No
Food nearby: No
Equipment rental nearby: No

Just like the name suggests, Baby Beach is the perfect beach for babies and small ones to splash around. A long reef protects the area, so the water is shallow, gentle, and warm. It’s almost like a huge heated pool.

It’s also a great spot to go snorkeling. There are plenty of fish and even sea turtles that you can spot. You’ll have to bring your own gear though, because there aren’t any rental shops around.

This beach is popular with families, both tourists and locals, so it can get crowded. The beach is narrow so come early to get a good spot under a shady tree. 

baby beach is one of the best beaches in west maui for families

Southern Beaches:

10. Launiupoko Beach

Good for: families, surfing, paddleboarding
Beach condition:
dark sands, clear water, large rocks, lagoon
Check out the TripAdvisor reviews here.

Amenities:
Cost: Free
Parking: lot and on-street
Restrooms: Yes
Showers: Yes
Lifeguard: No
Food nearby: No
Equipment rental nearby: No
Other: picnic tables, grassy area

Launiupoko Beach Park is a great beach for families, both for kids who want to swim and surf.

Firstly, there’s a protected wading area that is like an ocean pool for the younger kids. The protected pool is formed by partially buried lava rocks. It starts out at couple of inches high to about two feet high.

The beach is also known as one of the premier beginner surf spots on the west side. There are great waves and surf breaks for surfing, paddleboarding, and boogie boarding.

There’s also a sandy beach and a wide grassy area with lots of trees for shade. And if you need a spot to eat lunch, there are plenty of picnic tables to choose from. 

launiup

11. Olowalu Beach

Good for: snorkeling
Beach condition: small beach, dark sand, clear water on most days (visibility improves further out)
Check out the TripAdvisor reviews here.

Amenities:

Cost: Free
Parking: Street parking; look out for the 14-mile marker. Make sure not to park in the sand.
Restrooms: No
Showers: No
Lifeguard: No
Food nearby: Olowalu General Store
Equipment rental nearby: No

Olowalu Beach isn’t the most beautiful, but there’s a good reason that locals recommend it to tourists!

Olowalu offers some of the best snorkeling on the island thanks to a huge reef that comes right up to the sand. It’s also protected from the trade winds, so it stays calm when the rest of the beaches are not.

Its even nicknamed Turtle Reef because sea turtles often swim around the reef and even come up to the shore.

If you want to bring the kids, the water close to the shoreline is protected and shallow, so they can splash around safely. 

olowalu beach is one of the best beaches in west maui

FAQs: Best Beaches in West Maui

What is the prettiest beach on Maui?

Ultimately, the prettiest beach on Maui is a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer the secluded beauty of Slaughterhouse Beach, while others prefer the more active atmosphere of Kaanapali Beach.

There’s no right or wrong answer, so the best way to decide is to visit a few different beaches and see which one you like best.

 

What beaches are on the west side of Maui?

There are numerous beaches on the west side of Maui, all with their own unique beauty and features.

The top beaches on the north west side are Kapalua Bay, Napili Bay, Oneloa Beach, DT Fleming Beach, Slaughterhouse Beach, Honokowai Beach.

Centrally, there’s Kahekili Beach and Ka’anapali Beach.

On the southern end, you’ll find Baby Beach, Launiupoko Beach, and Olowalu Beach. 

Wrapping Up: Best Beaches in West Maui

So, there you have it! I hope this list helps you plan your trip to West Maui.
With so many amazing beaches to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the sun and sand.

Whether it’s family-friendly Napili Beach and Baby Beach, or snorkeling spots like Olowalu and Kahekili Beach, you’re sure to have a great time.

Aloha! 

MEET BESA

Your Go-To Girl for Beach Travel

Hi! I’m Besa. I’ve always been a travel-loving beach bum… and then I had kids. Two boys, born 19 months apart. But I didn’t let that stop me. I still travel, even with a couple little boys in tow – and I want to help other parents like you do the same!

I’ll be sharing all my travel tips, beach hacks, and guides for some of my favorite family vacation beach spots.

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Why Trust Beaches and Babies?

Besa has been a frequent traveler for almost 20 years, and the last five years of her travels have included her two toddler boys, 19 months apart.
Years of flying and beach bumming with her kids has given her plenty of hard-earned experience in the travel world.

Need Help Booking Your Trip?
Use My Favorite Resources!

FLIGHTS
Kayak searches hundreds of travel sites for the lowest prices plus the flexible calendar tells you which days are the cheapest to fly.

LODGING
booking.com is easy to use and gives options for all types of lodging. When I know I want a big rental house, I use VRBO.

RENTAL CARS
rentalcars.com scans multiple agencies at your destination to give you the best price.

ACTIVITIES
Viator lets you search for a specific activity at your destination or scroll all available.

Read over my full list of the best sites to book with on my Resources page.