Story by Kyle Ellison | Photo by Andrew Shoemaker
More than sixty 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; it could take months, if not years, to leave your footprints on all of them. To help, here’s a starter kit of beaches we recommend for the attractions they offer from morning to night . . . and beyond.
Best Beach for an Early-Morning Stroll: Sugar Beach, Kealia
How long is this sandy crescent along Mā‘alaea Bay? The exact length is up for debate (it runs into other named beaches near its southern end, in Kīhei), but it’s safe to say you could walk a 5K without having to turn around. Early mornings are quiet and still, and in the soft, pastel light of dawn, when the sun is rising behind Haleakalā volcano and casting shadows on the shoreline, there are few more scenic places for a stroll than here on Maui’s longest unbroken beach. As a bonus for cetacean fans, Mā‘alaea Bay is one of the island’s best places for spotting whales in winter. Honu (Hawaiian green sea turtles) hang out here, too, enjoying a nap on the sand, unperturbed by the teams of outrigger-canoe paddlers who stroke in unison offshore. The northern terminus is in Mā‘alaea, with parking at Haycraft Park. You can also begin in Kīhei, by Sugar Beach Resort, or in the middle, by Keālia Boardwalk.