It is no easy task selecting the best beaches in South Maui, where there is an abundance of soft sand, gentle surf, clear water, swaying palm trees and beautiful weather. Still, there are those beaches which truly stand out, which offer the very best swimming and snorkeling conditions, the most spectacular sunsets and such. And these are the beaches you will learn about in the paragraphs that follow. These are the best beaches in South Maui.
Many experts rank Wailea Beach as the best beach in America. This crescent of sand is a third of a mile long and offers calm, clear waters and fine-grained sand in a magnificent tropical setting. Swimming conditions at Wailea Beach are excellent and the area doesn’t get windy as early as the beaches farther north. The waves are small and close to shore, inviting even inexperienced boogie boarders to give them a try. Snorkeling is enjoyable when the waters are especially calm; the morning is always more appealing than the afternoon. Of course, being referred to by many as the best beach in America has its drawbacks. Wailea Beach is a popular spot, and parking can be a problem. So, my advice is to get there early, but by all means do get there sometime during your stay on Maui.
Oneuli Beach, also known as Black Sand Beach, is a true Hawaiian treasure that is rarely crowded. There is a large hill in Makena called Pu’u Ola’i, and Black Sand Beach is located just north of it. That hill is basically a large mound of lava cinders, which the ocean waves have loosened and ground into the beautiful black sand. The water here is usually calm, making it a terrific place for swimming and snorkeling. If you head out into the ocean and to the left, where the water is less cloudy, you will see plenty of fish, sea turtles and dazzling coral.
Once a haven for hippies, Big Beach is now a breathtaking state park. This very popular beach is only two-thirds of a mile long, but over one hundred feet wide. The ocean here offers excellent opportunities for swimming and snorkeling. Of course, being the popular beach that it is, you likely won’t have Big Beach all to yourself. On the right side of Big Beach, you can take a short trail to a lava promontory (an area of high land jutting out into the sea), and enjoy the magnificent view. On the other side, you’ll find Little Beach, which offers more golden sand and occasionally…nudists. Although nudity is unlawful in Hawaii, this small stretch of sand can’t be seen from the road and is, therefore, the beach of choice for those uncomfortable in their swimsuits.
If you’re looking for a spectacular beach that is less well-known and therefore less crowded or not crowded at all (my preference), then look no further than Po’olenalena Beach. This half mile is often nearly empty during the week, yet it offers everything you could hope for in a South Maui Beach, including easy access, exceptional swimming, and even outstanding snorkeling. You’ll view a lot of turtles, plenty of fish, and healthy coral untouched by man. Considering the lack of crowds, I consider Po’olenalena Beach to be my favorite on South Maui.
There you have it, the best beaches on South Maui. Of course, if you have the time, you’ll want to check out other South Maui beaches, such as Keawakapu Beach, Kama’ole Beach, and Palauea Beach. Don’t forget to check out my articles on the Best Beaches in West Maui and Getting Married on Maui. Aloha, and enjoy your stay in the Hawaiian Islands.