Maalaea Beach is the northernmost beach along the Kihei shoreline in South Maui. It is one of the quietest options in the region and one of the best for beach walks.
Trees and vegetation separate the coarse, white-sand shoreline from Kealia Coastal Boardwalk which runs adjacent. The lack of soft, golden-sand and swaying palm trees, as well as its distance from the town center, makes Maalaea Beach one of the least-visited of the 15 Kihei beaches.
In this guide, you will find everything you need to know for visiting. This includes the precise location, parking, photos, and services, as well as several additional useful travel guides for the island of Maui.
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Maalaea Beach Photo Gallery
The slideshow above demonstrates the tropical scenery you can expect to find on a visit to this quiet, secluded beach.
Framed by the West Maui Mountains to the north and Haleakala to the south, this is one of the most underrated of the Kihei beaches.
EXPLORE MORE OF THE AREA:
Complete Guide to ALL 15 Kihei Beaches
Maalaea Beach Overview
- Nearest Town: Maalaea (small harbor town) & Kihei
- Parking? Small parking lot at Kealia Coastal Boardwalk as well as streetside parking.
- Public Bathrooms? No
- Picnic Benches? No
- Showers? No
- Grills? No
- Lifeguard? No
Maalaea Beach is really just an extension of Sugar Beach to the south. However, things change rapidly as you move just that little bit north.
The sand at Maalaea is far more coarse and the scenery far less tropical. On the flip side, the crowds and developments also shrink as you move north.
While it may not have the iconic aloha vibes with swaying palms and soft sand, the beauty of Maalaea Beach is often understated. Tucked between the mountains, this quaint shoreline is favorite for locals and visitors trying to escape the crowds that flock to most Kihei beaches.
It is well worth taking a stroll along the Kealia Coastal Boardwalk too. Traversing the coastal marshland, the easy 0.9 miles out and back trail takes you past a number of interpretive signs and allows you to spot many local birds and wildlife.
DISCOVER MORE OF MAUI:
The Perfect Maui Itinerary for an Unforgettable Vacation
How to Get to Maalaea Beach
With Navigation: Rather than inputting the name of the beach, navigate to “Kealia Coastal Boardwalk“ instead. This is the easiest place to park and access the shoreline.
General Directions: From anywhere in South Maui, drive north along S Kihei Road or State Hwy 31 (Piilani Hwy) until you reach N Kihei Road. Turn left and drive about 1.5 miles until you see the parking area on the left for Kealia Coastal Boardwalk.
When to Visit
The best time to visit Maalaea Beach is on any sunny day! Day or night, this secluded oasis is somehow always quiet despite being so near a road.
Sunset provides a little extra magic. It is one of the few west-coast beaches that did not get a spot on the list of Maui’s best sunsets because it goes down behind the West Maui Mountains to the west, but it is still a fine place to end the day. You may also find some local honus (green turtles in Hawaiian) basking in the afternoon sun on the beach.
As with all of the beaches on the west coast, the wind tends to pick up more in the afternoons, for better or worse. It can create a nice breeze for an afternoon stroll, but is often less pleasant for sitting out in.
Other Relevant Maui Guides
Before you go, you may want to skim some of the titles for other relevant Maui guides below to ensure you do not miss any epic beaches, sunset destinations, or noteworthy things to do during your visit to the Valley Isle!
- HAWAII PACKING LIST: A printable essential packing list + 25 useful items to consider
- 5-7 DAY MAUI ITINERARY: How to see the entire island in one week or less
- WHERE TO STAY ON MAUI: The best places and areas to stay on the island
- PLANNING A TRIP TO MAUI: Step by step guide for planning your first visit to Maui
- ROAD TO HANA STOPS: The Top 25 places to visit on the Road to Hana
- ROAD TO HANA ITINERARY: How to plan for a 1-2 day self drive.
- BEST MAUI PHOTO SPOTS: 15 best places for photographing Maui
- SECRET BEACHES OF MAUI: The 10 most incredible hidden beaches on the island
- MAUI SUNSETS: The Top 10 places & activities for watching sunset in Maui
- KIHEI BEACHES GUIDE: Photos, locations, and descriptions for all 15 beaches in Kihei
- BEST SNORKELING IN MAUI: Best snorkel spots, tips, tours and more.