⚠️ SEP 22, 2023 – MAUI WILDFIRE UPDATES
All fires are now contained. Travel is safe and encouraged to Maui, but the region of West Maui specifically will remain closed to non-essential travel until October 8, 2023. The town of Lahaina will remain closed indefinitely.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority is urging visitors to maintain travel plans as tourism is essential to the local economy, but to be mindful and respectful of the hardships the locals are enduring, and to avoid Lahaina specifically.
Dotted throughout the island are a handful of Maui secret beaches that offer magical experiences for those who learn where and how to find them.
These secluded coves and hidden shorelines are some of the most beautiful places in Hawaii where you can still find peace and solitude.
If you wish to add any of the Maui secret beaches presented below, be sure to click through to their complete guides for specific instructions on where to find them, when to visit, and everything else you need to know for planning your trip.
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Maui Secret Beaches Overview
The Valley Isle is home to some of the most photogenic, tropical shorelines you will find anywhere in the world. Among them, some of the most hidden and least known are also the most beautiful.
This collection highlights the most picturesque and interesting coastal destinations the island has to offer. In order, the Top 10 Maui secret beaches are:
- Makena Cove (aka Maui Secret Beach)
- Kaihalulu Beach (aka Red Sand Beach)
- Honokalani Beach (aka Black Sand Beach)
- VOR Beach (aka Kahului Airport Beach)
- Kaulahao Beach (aka Kuau Beach Park)
- Little Beach
- Paia Secret Beach
- Oneuli Beach (aka Secret Black Sand Beach)
- Chang’s Beach (aka Po’olenalena Beach)
- Slaughterhouse Beach & Honolua Bay (currently closed!)
EXPLORE THE COMPLETE LIST OF THE
BEST BEACHES OF HAWAII
Best Maui Secret Beaches
1. Makena Cove aka Maui Secret Beach
The most beautiful beach in all of Maui is Secret Cove Beach, also known as “Makena Cove”, “Paako Cove”, and “Maui Secret Beach”.
While no one can seem to agree on what to call it, everyone agrees it is stunning.
Hidden behind a stone wall along a major thoroughfare is the main beach of Makena Cove. Golden sand, rustling palms, dramatic lava rock, and tropical-blue water collide to create an incredible scene.
Once you have enjoyed the main beach, you can also walk over the lava rock to the right for a few other smaller coves that you will likely have all to yourself!
You will find Maui Secret Beach on the southern end of the Wailea-Makena region. There is no official sign and it is mostly hidden behind a large rock wall which aids in its anonymity.
The easiest way to make sure you get to the right place is to consult this complete guide to Makena Cove for first-time visitors, which provides in-depth instructions on finding this haven.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW:
A COMPLETE GUIDE TO MAKENA COVE
2. Kaihalulu Beach aka Red Sand Beach
WARNING: Trail conditions are rapidly deteriorating and visits to Red Sand Beach are not encouraged. Read our FULL GUIDE TO KAIHALULU BEACH before even considering this location.
Location: Adjacent to Hana Town (one of the best towns in Maui to visit)
Kaihalulu Beach, also known as “Red Sand Beach” would be the best of the Maui Secret Beaches by many criteria. It is truly one of the greatest natural marvels you will discover anywhere in the world.
Forged by time and lava, this small cove boasts an otherworldly beauty unlike anything you’ve ever seen. For those able to visit, it is one of the best stops on the Road to Hana.
It is very important to note a few things regarding Kaihalulu Beach.
The first is that the trail to the beach can be difficult to find and should not be attempted with children or by anyone with even minor mobility issues, nor following heavy rain. Only fully-capable explorers should seek this out. Also, multiple rescue missions have occurred due to swimmers who underestimate the undertow that can occur within the cove; something you must be extremely mindful of!
The second is that the local community will vocally discourage anyone from visiting and will not provide directions due to the safety risk mentioned above.
With that said, our research has indicated many of the incidents have occurred as a result of people taking the wrong trail. We believe it is more responsible to provide the safest directions with all necessary warnings and information and to let you decide if visiting Red Sand Beach is worth including on your Maui itinerary. If you would like more information on this location, consult the visitor guide below.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW:
COMPLETE GUIDE TO KAIHALULU RED SAND BEACH
3. Black Sand Beach AKA Honokalani Beach
Location: Road to Hana
Honokalani Beach is another incredible volcanic marvel found along the Road to Hana within Waiʻānapanapa State Park. This is easily the most well-known of the Maui secret beaches, but is still missed by many tourists who fail to make the detour off of the Hana Hwy.
Honokalani is a black sand beach on the east coast of Maui that is decorated with vibrant greenery and thriving palm trees. Its east-facing views and natural color contrast make it one of the best places to for photographing Hawaii at sunrise.
This is one of the best places for camping on the island. Waiʻānapanapa is a state park and is therefore well-maintained. If you are planning to drive the entire Road to Hana loop, we highly recommend staying here overnight to break the long drive into two halves and to allow you to be on location for sunrise.
If you do plan to visit, advance reservations are now required for visiting the state park as of April 19, 2021. Learn what this entails in our complete guide to Black Sand Beach Reservations.
For directions, photos, and more information on visiting, see our visitor guide below.
VIEW OUR COMPLETE GUIDE TO
WAIANAPANAPA STATE PARK: MAUI’S BLACK SAND BEACH
4. VOR Beach
VOR Beach is one of the most beautiful and best-kept secret beaches on Maui. Despite being so close to Kahului Airport on the North Shore of Maui, it is extremely unusual to encounter any non-Hawaiian residents. In fact, you may even share the beach with the exclusive company of honu (sea turtle in Hawaiian!)
The beach itself is comprised of semi-coarse sand and is surrounded by vegetation, including towering palms and greenery. The water is typically very clear and appears a deep shade of turquoise and blue when the sun is out.
VOR Beach is excellent for snorkeling, kite-surfing, or just relaxing on a quiet beach with plenty of optional sand in the shade. There are also plenty of small coves and inlets within a short walking distance if you want more privacy.
If you want to visit and would like more information, you can find everything you need to know in the ultimate guide below.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW:
COMPLETE GUIDE TO VOR BEACH
5. Kaulahao Beach aka Kuau Beach Park
This is the only beach on the list of the best Maui secret beaches that has a sign on the road, but it is still often overlooked. What makes it so special is not the soft sand or palm trees or tropical scenery, but the section of the beach dedicated to the resident sea turtles.
Any time of day, visitors can expect to see a myriad of honu resting quietly on the shore or feeding in the coral garden. Turtles are a protected species and disturbing them in any way is a criminal offense. Please give them their space and keep at least 10ft (3m) away. Just like you, they want to be able to enjoy the aloha on the beach in Hawaii without being poked and prodded!
Learn everything about Kuau / Kaulahao Beach including how and when to swim with the turtles in the complete guide below.
FIND OUT MORE:
COMPLETE GUIDE TO KAULAHAO BEACH
Runner-Up Best Maui Secret Beaches
There are a few Maui secret beaches that didn’t quite crack the top 5 but are worth knowing about if you have the time and desire to truly explore it all.
Most of these are beautiful, tropical beaches that are amazing in their own rights. Some may even be award-winning destinations if they existed anywhere but Hawaii!
The secret beaches that complete the Top 10 list as runners-up are:
- Little Beach: A hidden cove requiring a short hike overland from Makena Beach.
- Paia Secret Beach: A clothing-optional beach slightly detached from Paia Beach.
- Oneuli Beach: Limited-access blackish sand beach at the base of the Makena caldera.
- Chang’s Beach: The new destination for the clothing-optional Sunday drum circle.
- Slaughterhouse Beach: Secluded beach on the northern tip of West Maui with sea caves.
Honolua Bay: Next cove over and the best place for snorkeling in all of Maui.
*Slaughterhouse Beach, Honolua Bay, and the entirety of West Maui is currently closed due to the August wildfire. Scheduled re-opening is October 8, 2023.
Maui Secret Beaches Map
Find the exact locations for each of the featured Maui secret beaches on the map below.
Click here or on the image below to open the interactive Google Map in a new tab.
More Maui Travel 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!
- MAUI PACKING LIST: A printable essential packing list + 25 useful items to consider
- 7 DAY MAUI ITINERARY: How to see the entire island in one week
- 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.
Final Thoughts on the Best Maui Secret Beaches
The two of us work very hard to create these free travel guides to help you plan your dream vacation. If you think we’ve done a good job and would like to say thanks, please consider clicking the donate button below 🙂
We truly hope you have discovered some gems hidden away on Maui’s coastline that makes for some special memories on your next Hawaii vacation.
Now we’d like to hear from YOU!
Was there any that we missed? Was all of the information and location detail accurate? Did we do a phenomenal job?
Let us know in the comments below!