Papalaua Beach (Thousand Peaks, Maui): Complete 2023 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, also known as Thousand Peaks Beach, and the entire West Maui region is currently closed to non-essential travel. The scheduled re-opening is October 8, 2023.


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.

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 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.


  • Nearest Town: Lahaina & Kihei (both 20 minutes away, both Top 10 Maui Towns to Visit)
  • Public Bathrooms? Yes, portapotties.
  • Picnic Benches? No.
  • Showers? No.
  • Grills? No.
  • Lifeguard? No.

🗺 How to Get to Papalaua Beach (Thousand Peaks)

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.

🌺 More Maui Travel 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.

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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!

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