Maui’s Best Beaches

More than 60 beaches hug Maui’s coastline, including four that have been named “Best Beach in America” by environmental scientist and author Steven “Dr. Beach” Leatherman. Choosing which stretch of sand to visit is an inviting tropical challenge, and it could take months — or even years — to leave your footprints on all of them. Here’s a starter kit of beaches we recommend for the attractions they offer — from sunup to sundown.

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Hookipa maui surfing beach

Best Beach for Watching Watersports in the Late Afternoon
Ho‘okipa Beach Park, Pā‘ia

This beach located at mile-marker 9 along the Hāna Highway is known as the windsurfing capital of the world and the home of contemporary surfing. Ho‘okipa, which means “hospitality” in Hawaiian, has four distinct breaks: Pavilions, Middles, H‘poko (or the Point) and Lanes. The break you choose depends as much on your preferred sport as the time of day: the wind picks up in the afternoon, making conditions more favorable for kiting activities. Ho‘okipa has some shallow tide pools for curious keiki (children), as well as outdoor showers, restrooms, lifeguard towers, picnic pavilions and barbecues. However, an exposed reef, high surf and strong rip currents make Ho‘okipa an experts-only surf destination. Even though it’s not ideal for a casual dip, the cliffs surrounding the bay are great for watching the pros at play. Enter the parking lot at the eastern end of the beach and stake out your spectating area. Stay until dusk and see the honu haul out and bask in the waning light of the day — from a distance, of course. Runner-up: Kanahā Beach Park, Kahului

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