Best Kihei Beaches Guide: Photos + Locations of ALL 15 Beaches

Best Kihei Beaches Maui blog cover image.  Text overlaying an image of a golden sand beach with turquoise ocean and palm trees overhanging the beach in Kihei, Maui.

Maui’s Kihei Beaches are considered some of the best in all of Hawaii. A stretch of golden-sand shorelines and crystal clear water spans the west coast of South Maui, providing idyllic views for sunset and whale watching.

There are 15 named beaches in the Kihei region. Each provide unique experiences and cater to different crowds.

In this guide, you will find photos, descriptions, locations, and services provided at each of them.

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Kihei Beaches Overview

While many people may be searching for Kihei Beach, it is worth noting that there isn’t a single beach with this name. Rather the shoreline along Kihei is home to a collection of beautiful beaches.

Ordered from north to south, there are 15 Kihei Beaches:

*SEE ALL 15 KIHEI BEACHES IN THE SLIDESHOW BELOW*

  • A photo of the empty, tree-lined Maalaea Beach at the north end of Kihei.
    1. Maalaea Beach

Being located along the west coast, all of the Kihei Beaches are great for watching the sunset in Maui. Additionally, due to the shallow waters between Maui, Molokai, and Lanai, the beaches along Kihei also provide some of the best whale-watching spots in the world during the winter months.


Kihei Beaches Map

Below you will find a map of all the beaches in Kihei mentioned in this blog post. Click here or on the image below to open the interactive Google Map in a new tab.


All Kihei Beaches: Photos + Descriptions

It is an impossible task to determine which is the “best” beach in Kihei, with each offering its unique advantages. Therefore, rather than list them in any form of hierarchy, we have instead listed them from north to south (although our favorite beaches were mostly in the south!).

1. Maalaea Beach

Best for beach walks.

Maalaea Beach, the northernmost Kihei beach, on a sunny afternoon.

Amenities

  • Parking? Small parking lot at Kealia Coastal Boardwalk, or streetside parking
  • Public Bathrooms? No
  • Picnic Benches? No
  • Showers? No
  • Grills? No
  • Lifeguard? No

Description

Located next to Kealia Coastal Boardwalk, Maalaea Beach is technically a continuation of Sugar Beach to the south. However, as you venture north the beach changes a lot. The sand is not as nice, becoming coarser and with more debris mixed in, and the beach is much narrower.

While less ideal for laying out on or swimming, it is the perfect beach in Kihei for long walks, with 2.5 miles of uninterrupted sand to traverse, and is popular with local turtles! Additionally, due to being a bit further from the center of Kihei, you can expect to have much of the beach to yourself.

FIND OUT MORE:
Complete Guide to Maalaea Beach


2. Sugar Beach

Best for beach walks, kitesurfing, and windsurfing.

Palm trees line Sugar Beach in the Kihei region of Maui.

Amenities

  • Parking? Streetside
  • Public Bathrooms? No
  • Picnic Benches? No
  • Showers? No
  • Grills? No
  • Lifeguard? No

Description

Sugar Beach offers the longest continuous stretch of sand on Maui and is one of the lesser-visited beaches in Kihei.

The sandy shoreline stretches from North Kihei to Haycraft Park, making it the longest stretch of beach in Maui. With around 2.5 miles of uninterrupted sand, it is the perfect place for a long stroll.

However, keep an eye out for Kiawe thorns in places, particularly further north. These nasty thorns from the invasive Kiawe tree can be over an inch long and can puncture thin flip flops. Wear beach shoes or stick to the water’s edge to avoid them.

FIND OUT MORE:
Complete Guide to Sugar Beach


3. Kenolio Beach

Best for experiencing a Hawaiian outrigger canoe or searching for sea glass.

Palm trees sway as clouds cover the top of the West Maui Mountains facing North from Kenolio Beach in Kihei.

Amenities

  • Parking? Streetside
  • Public Bathrooms? Yes
  • Picnic Benches? No
  • Showers? Yes
  • Grills? No
  • Lifeguard? No

Description

Kenolio Beach, also known as Kihei Wharf, is just south of Sugar Beach, separated by a rocky outcrop. It is conveniently located next to the Kihei Farmer’s Market and Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice.

The beach is often windy and choppy here, and at high tide the beach becomes very narrow. It is therefore not so ideal for swimming or lounging. However, it is a good place for spotting sea glass, interesting rocks, and shells.

Additionally, the Kihei Canoe Club is based here and offers a visitor paddle program on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The visitor paddle provides an introduction to Hawaiian Culture, instruction in outrigger canoe paddling, and a discussion of the local sea life. 

FIND OUT MORE:
Complete Guide to Kenolio Beach


4. Mai Poina Beach Park

Best for SUP, kitesurfing, windsurfing, fishing, and picnics.

A photo from one of the best Kihei Beaches at Mai Poina Beach Park.

Amenities

  • Parking? Streetside
  • Public Bathrooms? Yes
  • Picnic Benches? Yes
  • Showers? Yes
  • Grills? Yes
  • Lifeguard? No

Description

Mai Poina Beach Park, also known as Mai Poina ‘Oe Ia’u Beach, is often much less crowded than the Kihei beaches further south. The beach park has ample facilities and is perfect for picnicking, with a large grassy area and picnic benches.

The sand here is soft, but it is rocky along the water’s edge so it’s worth wearing beach shoes. In the afternoons it can be very windy here. This combined with the beach’s close proximity to the roadside makes it a less popular option for laying out.

However, in the morning it’s a great beach for stand-up paddleboarding, and in the afternoon kitesurfing and windsurfing. Plus the palm trees lining either end of the beach add a tropical feel.

For those who enjoy fishing, this beach is a great spot for shore casting.

FIND OUT MORE:
Complete Guide to Mai Poina Beach Park


5. Kalepolepo Beach Park

Best for families and snorkel practice.

Kalepolepo Beach Park photography from Kihei Beach in Maui.

Amenities

  • Parking? Small parking lot and streetside parking
  • Public Bathrooms? Portapotties
  • Picnic Benches? Yes
  • Showers? Yes
  • Grills? Yes
  • Lifeguard? No

Description

Although only a small beach, Kalepolepo Beach Park is ideal for families with young children.

Due to its location further north, this beach typically sees fewer people and can have the feeling of a private beach. The enclosed ancient Hawaiian fish pond creates a calm, shallow pool, ideal for young children and those learning to snorkel.

This area is also of cultural importance to native Hawaiians, having once been a thriving Hawaiian village.

The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is also located here and is a great place to learn more about the humpback whales that frequent these shores in the winter and other marine life. Admission is free and the Visitor Center features exhibits, interactive displays, and family-friendly programs.

FIND OUT MORE:
Complete Guide to Kalepolepo Beach Park


6. Keaka Beach

Best for swimming, beachcombing, and beach walks.

The beach seen beyond the rock wall is Keaka Beach as seen from Kalepolepo Beach Park in Maui.
The beach seen beyond the rock wall is Keaka Beach as seen from Kalepolepo Beach Park.

Amenities

  • Parking? Some streetside parking, or walk down from Kalepolepo Beach Park
  • Public Bathrooms? No
  • Picnic Benches? No
  • Showers? No
  • Grills? No
  • Lifeguard? No

Description

Just south of Kalepolepo Beach Park is Keaka Beach, which eventually becomes Waipu’ilani  Beach. This sandy beach is best in the mornings as the winds can pick up here in the afternoon.

Like many of the more northern Kihei beaches, the sand here is a little rockier and the beach is often much quieter. While not the best snorkel location in Maui, it isn’t uncommon to spot turtles in the water here.

FIND OUT MORE:
Complete Guide to Keaka Beach


7. Waipu’ilani Beach Park

Best for beachcombing, watching sunset, and beach walks.

The view facing north from Waipu’ilani Beach Park on the Kihei coastline of Maui.

Amenities

  • Parking? Small lot and streetside parking
  • Public Bathrooms? Yes
  • Picnic Benches? Yes
  • Showers? No
  • Grills? Yes
  • Lifeguard? No

Description

The beach at Waipui’lani Beach Park is a long narrow stretch with a mixture of sand and coral/sand. Due to it being so narrow there are few dry areas of sand to sit on, particularly during high tide. You may also find a lot of beach debris such as rocks, trees, and at times seaweed.

It is an ideal spot for beachcombing, walking, and watching an incredible Maui sunset. However, there are nicer beaches on Maui for swimming, snorkeling, and laying out. If it’s not too windy in the evening, it is a wonderful place for a picnic with ample grass and benches to sit out on while watching the sunset.

The park does also have tennis courts if you’re feeling a little more energetic.

FIND OUT MORE:
Complete Guide to Waipui’lani Beach Park


8. Lipoa Street Beach

Best for seeing turtles at sunset.

Golden hour storm lighting brings magic to one of the best Kihei beaches at Lipoa Street Beach.

Amenities

  • Parking? Streetside
  • Public Bathrooms? No
  • Picnic Benches? No
  • Showers? No
  • Grills? No
  • Lifeguard? No

DESCRIPTION

While not one of the best beaches in Kihei, you will often find a green turtle, or honu in Hawaiian, resting on Lipoa Street Beach in the afternoons. Additionally, the row of palm trees makes for some great photo opportunities.

There is often a lot of debris on the beach, and when we visited there was a bit of trash here too. This, unfortunately, seems common based on other users’ reviews of this beach.

It’s worth stopping by at sunset to possibly catch a glimpse of a turtle and to watch the sunset between the palms, but spend your days on other Kihei beaches.

FIND OUT MORE:
Complete Guide to Lipoa Street Beach


9. Kalama Beach Park

Best for picnicking by the ocean and family outings.

A photo of the small shoreline at Kalama Beach Park in Maui.

Amenities

  • Parking? Ample parking in the lot
  • Public Bathrooms? Yes
  • Picnic Benches? Yes
  • Showers? Yes
  • Grills? Yes
  • Lifeguard? No

Description

While it is a beach park, Kalama Park offers little in the way of sandy beach but rather provides a spacious 36-acre park. The ocean is shallow and rocky here, and often murky with seaweed, making it less than ideal for swimming. However, it offers great recreational facilities and is conveniently located in front of Kihei Kalama Village, where you’ll find many shops and restaurants.

While the beach itself is not much of an attraction, it is a popular location, along with nearby Cove Beach Park for surf lessons and stand-up paddleboard lessons. The reliable, gentle waves and shallower water provide the perfect place for beginner and intermediate surfers.

At the park, there is a skate park, inline skate rink, baseball and soccer field, basketball and tennis court, and children’s playground. You may also find sports events, outdoor concerts, and festivals occurring.

With its covered pavilion and ample facilities, it is a great place for a family picnic. The short paved walkway also allows for a pleasant stroll along the shoreline.

FIND OUT MORE:
Complete Guide to Kalama Park


10. Cove Beach Park

Best for learning to surf, SUP, and bodyboarding.

Cove Beach Park is one of the best beaches in Kihei for bodyboarding, paddleboarding, and learning to surf.

Amenities

  • Parking? Small lot
  • Public Bathrooms? Porta-potties
  • Picnic Benches? Yes
  • Showers? Yes
  • Grills? Yes
  • Lifeguard? No

Description

At the southern end of Kalama Park, as the name suggests, Cove Beach Park is a small sandy cove. This beach is most popular with surfers, bodyboarders, and stand-up paddleboarders. The sheltered cove creates gentle waves for those learning and surf lessons are often held here.

Just south of the cove is another small and secluded sandy beach that many don’t even realize exists! This beach is much better for laying out, swimming and snorkeling.

FIND OUT MORE:
Complete Guide to Cove Beach Park


11. Charley Young Beach

Best for exploring tidepools, laying out, fishing, and bodyboarding.

A busy day on Charley Young Beach in Kihei.

Amenities

  • Parking? Small lot
  • Public Bathrooms? Portapotties
  • Picnic Benches? No
  • Showers? Yes
  • Grills? No
  • Lifeguard? No

Description

Located at the northern end of Kamaole I, Charley Young Beach is quieter than other Kihei beaches. This beautiful stretch of beach is perfect for laying out and sunbathing, with some shade provided by trees overhanging the beach.

With many rocks along the shore, it is not quite as ideal for swimming as the Kam beaches. However, the north reef can provide some good snorkeling when the conditions are calm and it is a great place to spot sea turtles.

It is popular with locals who enjoy bodyboarding and surfing here. Unlike the Kamaole Beaches to the south, there is no lifeguard present here.

FIND OUT MORE:
Complete Guide to Charley Young Beach


12. Kama’ole I (Kam 1)

Best for swimming, volleyball, and family beach days.

Facing down the beach at a washed up boat from Kam 1.

Amenities

  • Parking? Parking lot and streetside parking
  • Public Bathrooms? Yes
  • Picnic Benches? Yes
  • Showers? Yes
  • Grills? Yes
  • Lifeguard? Yes

Description

Located right on South Kihei Road, Kama’ole Beach Park is a collection of three beaches, locally referred to as Kam 1, Kam 2, and Kam 3. These three beaches are perhaps the most popular of all the Kihei beaches, particularly with families, and with good reason.

With their soft golden sand, lifeguards on duty, excellent facilities, convenient locations, and accessibility, all three beaches are perfect for relaxing, swimming, snorkeling, building sandcastles, and enjoying a tropical Maui vacation.

At 0.3 miles in length, Kam I is the largest of the three beaches and the least rocky. A wide white sand beach stretches out between two rocky outcrops, with Charley Young Beach at its northern end.

For those with a bit more energy, there is a volleyball net on the sandy area near the parking lot!

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT KAM I:
Complete Guide to Kamaole Beach Park


13. Kama’ole II (Kam 2)

Best for swimming, snorkeling, exploring tidepools, and family beach days.

Crowds fill the sandy shore at Kam 2, one of the most family friendly Kihei Beaches in Maui.

Amenities

  • Parking? Parking lot and streetside parking
  • Public Bathrooms? Yes
  • Picnic Benches? Yes
  • Showers? Yes
  • Grills? Yes
  • Lifeguard? Yes

Description

If you’re looking for a family day out, Kam 2 is the best beach in Kihei. With soft white sand perfect for building sandcastles or laying out on, calm waters for snorkeling and swimming, and tidepools during low tide, it’s ideal for the whole family.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT KAM 2:
Complete Guide to Kamaole Beach Park


14. Kama’ole III (Kam 3)

Best for bodyboarding, exploring tidepools, and snorkeling.

A sunny day at Kamole Beach Park (Kam 3) with turquoise water and golden sand.

Amenities

  • Parking? Parking lot and streetside parking
  • Public Bathrooms? Yes
  • Picnic Benches? Yes
  • Showers? Yes
  • Grills? Yes
  • Lifeguard? Yes

Description

Of the three Kamaole Beaches, Kam 3 is the smallest. However, it does have the largest park area and the most facilities. In addition to a huge grassy area with plenty of picnic tables and BBQ grills, there is also a swing set for children here.

While the shoreline is a little rockier at Kamaole III, these rocks serve to provide some of the best snorkeling, particularly around the rocky point at the south end of the beach. Make sure to bring some beach shoes.

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If visiting with younger children, it is worth noting that the water here can occasionally be a bit rougher than in Kam 1 and Kam 2. This makes it great for bodyboarding, but not so good for swimming with little ones.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT KAM 3:
Complete Guide to Kamaole Beach Park


15. Keawakapu Beach

Sandy beach with turquoise waters and West Maui mountains in the background at Keawakapu Beach, one of Kihei's best beaches.

Best for swimming, lounging, and snorkeling.

Amenities

  • Parking? Parking lots at both north and south end, as well as Kilohana lot near the middle.
  • Public Bathrooms? Portapotty at Keawakapu II parking lot
  • Picnic Benches? No
  • Showers? Yes
  • Grills? No
  • Lifeguard? No

Description

Nestled between Kihei in the north and Wailea in the south, Keawakapu Beach is the southernmost of the Kihei beaches. At 0.7 miles in length, it provides a long expanse of white sand. The northern part of the beach is typically busier, but also boasts more pristine sand. To the south, the beach becomes quieter but also a little rockier.

It boasts some of the calmest water in Kihei, making it an ideal beach for swimming and snorkeling. Sea turtles can often be spotted swimming around and feeding off the rocks at either end of the beach.

During low tide, these rocky outcrops also provide tidepools that are great for exploring with little ones – just ensure you have some beach shoes for walking over the lava rocks.

FIND OUT MORE:
Complete Guide to Keawakapu Beach


Best Beaches near Kihei

Continuing further south from Kihei into Wailea, you will continue to find some of the best beaches on Maui. Golden sand beaches continue to adorn the shoreline, with outcrops of lava rock separating them.

To the north, shallow coral reefs are visible from the shore, making for perfect snorkeling opportunities.

Below are the top 5 best beaches near Kihei, all of which are within a half-hour drive from Kihei.

  1. Makena Cove (aka Secret Beach)
    Best for solitude and scenery.
  2. Olowalu
    Best for snorkeling and a local vibe.
  3. Wailea Beach
    Best for relaxing, resort vibes, and swimming, and home to some of the best honeymoon hotels in Maui.
  4. Maluaka Beach (aka Turtle Town)
    Best for snorkeling and spotting sea turtles.
  5. Makena Beach
    Best for lounging, swimming, snorkeling, and fishing.

How to Get to the Kihei Beaches

A photo showing the long, empty shoreline of Sugar Beach in Kihei.

The best beaches in Kihei are spread out over almost 8 miles of shoreline. Therefore, although you may be able to reach some on foot from your accommodation if staying in Kihei, you’ll likely need to take a shuttle, bus, taxi, or drive to reach others.

By Shuttle

Some hotels offer free shuttle services to the beaches, so it’s worth checking with your hotel if this service is available to you.

By Bus

The bus is a great option for exploring Kihei’s beaches as most of the beaches have bus stops near them. With some walking (typically less than 10-15 minutes), all of the beaches between Sugar Beach in the north and Wailea Beach in the south can be accessed via the Kihei Islander Route 10.

Additionally, the Kihei Villager Route 15 covers most of the northern Kihei Beaches, running from Kenolio Beach Park to Lipoa Street Beach.

Buses run from around 6am until 8pm, depending on the stop. As of April 2022, a single fare costs $2 and a daily pass costs $4 making it a very affordable option. You can find more information about pricing and timetables on the Maui Bus website.

By Car

Most beaches in Kihei provide free public parking lots, or roadside parking. If you plan on visiting several beaches or exploring more of the island, it is definitely worth considering renting a car for your time in Maui.

By Taxi

Taxi services are also available in Maui and offer an easy way to get to and from the beach. Uber and Lyft have become increasingly popular in Hawaii. They are typically a little cheaper than traditional taxi options, and are usually easier to arrange.


Kihei Beaches FAQs

Does Kihei have a beach?

Yes and no – Kihei is a region with some of Maui’s best beaches but there is no one beach named “Kihei Beach.”

Does Kihei have nice beaches?

Boasting over 6 miles of beaches, Kihei has some of the best beaches on Maui. Once a regular vacation destination for Hawaiian royalty, it is typically sunnier and drier in Kihei than in other parts of the island making the weather perfect for enjoying the beach.

Facing west, Kihei beaches are also some of the best beaches for watching the sunset in Hawaii, with impressive views of Kahoolawe, Molokini, Lanai, and West Maui.

What is the prettiest beach in Maui?

The prettiest beach in Maui is hugely subjective and no easy thing to decide with so many spectacular beaches. However, some of the prettiest beaches in Maui include:

Can you swim in Kihei?

Yes! Most of the beaches in Kihei are safe for swimming, however, some are better than others. Kamaole Beach Park (Kam 1, Kam 2, and Kam 3 beaches) offers the best swimming, with lifeguards on duty. Always check current conditions before entering the water.

What is the calmest beach in Maui?

Keawakapu Beach in Kihei is one of the calmest beaches on Maui. Other calm beaches in Maui include Kamaole Beaches in Kihei, and Kapalua Beach and Honolua Bay in West Maui. The water is also typically calmer in the morning.

Is it always windy in Kihei?

It can be windy anywhere on the island on any given day. However, North Kihei and Maalaea are typically windier than South Kihei. The windiest time of year is the summer from June to August and throughout the year, mornings are the calmest.


Other Maui Guides

A swimmer walks the shores of Red Sand Beach in Maui.
Discover some of Maui’s best secret beaches, such as Red Sand Beach featured above.

If you have found this guide to Kihei beaches useful, you may also find some of our other guides to “the Valley Isle” helpful for planning the rest of your vacation. Browse the resources below and make sure you do not miss a thing on your once in a lifetime trip!

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