7 Best Beaches in Kihei, Maui
First off, let me disclose that these are simply my opinions for the best beaches in KIHEI, Maui. Not Wailea. If you want to know what the best beaches in Wailea, Maui are, you’ll have to read that post. This article explores the best beaches in Kihei, and defining Kihei as starting from South Kihei Road to Kilohana Drive.
Before we dive into the list, let’s first lay out what makes for a good beach (in my opinion). First, the water has to be clear, not murky with sandy bottom and easy access. Next, they’ve gotta have showers and parking nearby. Finally any intangibles that make the beach more desirable like snorkeling, reef quality, surfability, body boarding-ability, volleyball courts, etc. are taken into account when trying to factor in the best beaches in Kihei, Maui.
Alright let’s dive in…
7. Mai Poina ‘Oe la’u Beach Park
This is a great little local beach in Kihei, mostly frequented by residents and when the conditions are right, wind surfers. Mai Poina does have charcoal grills, bathrooms and showers, but there is limited parking and the swimming and snorkeling is not very good. However, if you are a wind surfer or kite surfer, this area has become very popular due to the consistent winds in the area. There is a good bit of shade with keawe and monkeypod trees and a nice grassy hill area to relax.
6. Kalepolepo Beach Park
Kalepolepo is one of the best beach parks for families in Kihei. While there isnʻt a ton of parking here, there is a fishpond that is protected and provides little ones a very gentle and easy way to get in the water without having to worry about shorebreak or being swept away. Kalepolepo beach park also includes the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Sanctuary which is a really cool place to learn about these amazing creatures. On the North side of the whale sanctuary are large sand dunes and vast stretches of soft sand, making this one of the best beaches in North Kihei. The down side of Kalepolepo is the same as Mai Poina beach park, the ocean is shallow and the reef is sharp, making it not a great place to swim.
5. Kamaole III Beach Park
Now we get into the good stuff. All the best beaches in Kihei, Maui are in South Kihei. Basically from Charley Young and south. And while Kam III could easily be ranked higher, the reason I have it down here is simply that I think the swimming here is not as good as the beaches ahead of it. HOWEVER, Kamaole III Beach Park has a lot of great intangibles that you might find more desireable. There is a HUGE grassy area that is perfect for watching a sunset, sipping mai tais or having a party! In fact, thereʻs a good chance you’ll probably see a few of those at Kam III. Swimming here is good and snorkeling is excellent, though there are a bunch of hidden rocks as you enter the water, so be careful where you get in.
4. Kamaole I Beach Park
Flip a coin with any of these beaches from Kam III down. They’re all excellent. Kamaole I Beach Park is gorgeous. Long stretches of golden sand, plenty of places to sit, even a grassy area that provides a little bit of shade. There is a big parking lot across the street and it has restraunts and shopping nearby. Snorkeling is pretty good on the South side of the beach, out from the rocks.
3. Charley Young Beach Park
Charley Young is at the north end of Kamaole I Beach Park and in my opinion is the first really good beach you get to when entering the South side of Maui. The waters are clear and easily swimmable. It has ample parking most of the time, showers, and a little bit of shade on the south end. There’s even a volleyball court set up on the beach most of the time and is a spot you will find more locals than tourists usually.
2. Kamaole II Beach Park
Just like with Kam III and Kam I, Kam II could certainly make a case for being ranked higher. In fact, it is probably the one I frequent the most with my family. It has perfect sand, is easy to get in and out of the water, and has a fun shore break when the surf is up. Kamaole II Beach has rock outcroppings on either side of the beach, around which reef grows under the water and fish tend to congregate. This makes the snorkeling along the north and south sides of the beach really good, while leaving all the sand in the middle – perfect for swimming. The knock on Kam II Beach Park is that it does lack parking. Which is actually also a perk. Because there isn’t much parking, Kam II tends to be less crowded than some of the other beaches on this list, and with restaurants and shopping literally across the street, this is one of my favorite beaches on Maui and an easy choice for the best beaches in Kihei, Maui list!
1. Keawakapu Beach
It was hard to put this on the list as it sits on the border of Kihei and Wailea, but since a good portion of it does sit on Kihei sand, I’ve gotta put it on here. I don’t think it’s possible not to love this beach. The white sands are so fine they slip between your toes, and the overall vastness of the beach seems to go on forever. Along the north end is the Mana Kai resort, which has a nice restaurant and even a general store for any incidentals you may need. In front of Mana Kai is excellent snorkeling, while moving south down the beach provides great swimming opportunities. The water is usually mālie (calm), though at certain times of the year you will definitely want to have a body board! Keawakapu is an awesome beach you absolutely must visit when going to Maui. When you get there you will see why it rounds out our top spot on our 7 Best Beaches in Kihei, Maui list!