Find the Perfect Beach
So here you are, more than 2,000 miles from anywhere on a 727-square-mile island that lies just below the tropic of Cancer. The temperature fluctuates wildly between the mid 70s in the winter and the low 80s in the summer. And the great Pacific stretches endlessly in all directions bordered by 120 miles of coastline and at least 80 sun-burnished beaches. The question isn’t whether or not to head for a beach, but how to pick the one that matches your mood and energy level.
Some beaches offer lifeguards, facilities and parking. Others don’t. If you want to see and be seen try Dig Me Beach in Kaʻanapali. If you’re looking for a place to actually swim, check out the beaches lining the west shore from Maʻalaea to Kaʻanapali to Kapalua and Napili, beaches like D.T. Fleming Beach, about 4 miles north of Lahaina, and Kapalua Beach at the Kapalua Resort.
Big Beach, Little Beach
Southwest Maui offers one of the best and largest beaches on the island. The entrance for the north end of Makena’s Oneloa, or Big Beach, is at the second dirt road to the right off old Makena Highway. The lovely white sand beach is long and wide and is the last major undeveloped beach on the leeward side of the island. Little Beach is located to the northwest of Makena Beach and cannot be approached by car. To get there, park in the Makena lot, follow the beach west until you reach a path up lava rocks that will take you to Little Beach.
Ho’okipa (which means hospitality) Beach in North Maui is about six miles from the intersection of Haleakala and Hana Highways, about two miles outside of Pa’ia. This beach is a great place to windsurf, surf, kite surf, sunbathe or just watch it all. The beach borders a coral reef that creates a pond-like area perfect for kids to play in. Beyond the reef, northern swells produce large waves that draw windsurfers. And above the beach is an ancient historical ruin that adds character to the place. Public restrooms and showers are available at the beach and there’s plenty of parking.
Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach
Hana is home to Red Sand Beach, which is hard to reach but interesting. The beach is located in the caldera of an old cinder cone and is made up of finely ground red cinders, thus its name. Located near the grounds of the Hotel Hana Maui, you’ll have to walk along private property to get there.
Many of Maui’s beaches are unguarded, so please take note of beach warning signs and follow basic common sense rules: swim with companions, never turn your back on the ocean, study the ocean before you enter it, avoid swimming in shore break areas, and if caught in a current, don’t panic, never swim against a strong current. Finally, be aware that shark attacks, though uncommon, do occur.
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