Papalaua Beach (Thousand Peaks, Maui): The Complete Guide

Pāpalaua Beach (Thousand Peaks, Maui) blog post cover.  Text overlaying an image of Papalaua Beach looking towards Lanai with turquoise water, white sand, and bright blue sky with fluffy white clouds.

Papalaua Beach Park, or Thousand Peaks Beach as it is known locally, is a small beach on the south shore of the West Maui region.

While the sand is generally more course and filled with debris than tourists prefer, it is popular for locals due to the ability to camp, snorkel, and BBQ.

Find photos, directions, and everything you need to know for visiting Thousand Peaks Maui below.

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Papalaua Beach (Thousand Peaks) Overview

PAPALAUA BEACH PHOTO GALLERY

DESCRIPTION

Papalaua Beach Park (or Papalaua State Wayside Park) is a short stretch of course sand on the south shore region of West Maui. It is also referred to as Thousand Peaks locally due to the many surf breaks, or peaks, that occur on the shallow reef offshore. These breaks make it a popular spot for bodyboarders and longboard surfers.

Locals enjoy Papalaua Beach as one of the few places where camping is permitted, although a permit must be obtained. It is also a popular spot for snorkeling when the ocean is calm and is considered one of the best destinations for watching the sunset in Maui.

Make sure you have beach shoes or tread carefully here as invasive kiawe trees line the beach, dropping their sharp thorns onto the sand.

SERVICES

  • Nearest Town: Lahaina & Kihei (both 20 minutes away)
  • Public Bathrooms? Yes, portapotties.
  • Picnic Benches? No.
  • Showers? No.
  • Grills? No.
  • Lifeguard? No.

How to Get to Papalaua Beach / Thousand Peaks Maui

With Navigation: Input Papalaua Beach Park into Google Maps or other navigation.

General Directions from Lahaina: Drive 10 miles south along Highway 30 toward Kihei. Papalaua Beach will be on your right, but there is signage.

General Directions from Kihei: Drive 11 miles north along Hwy 30 toward Lahaina. Thousand Peaks will be the first beach on the right after driving through the tunnel.

When to Visit Papalaua Beach / Thousand Peaks

Sunset photography from Thousand Peaks Beach in West Maui.
Sunset is a magical time to visit Thousand Peaks Beach

The best time to visit Papalaua Beach is at sunset. In fact, this destination is considered one of the top 10 beaches for watching sunset in Maui. Most of the beach is west-facing, providing a picturesque view of the sun going down behind Lanai.

Daytime is also an excellent time to visit, particularly on sunny days, as Thousand Peaks Beach has a stunning coral garden to snorkel.

Overnight visits are also extremely popular here as it is one of three Maui county campsites. Permits for camping must be obtained from the Maui Department of Parks and Recreation.

Other Relevant Maui Guides

A swimmer walking the shore of Red Sand Beach, Maui.
Do not miss any hidden gems like Red Sand Beach! Check out our complete Maui Itinerary for more information.

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
BEST MAUI PHOTO SPOTS: 15 best places for photographing Maui
MAUI SUNSETS: Top 10 places to watch the sunset in Maui

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