Among the Hawaiian islands, Maui is a top choice for families with kids, thanks to its beaches. The sun, sand, and waves offer endless possibilities for adventure and fun. If you are local families living in Maui, you know that different beaches can provide different experiences. But as travelers, how do you decide which beach is best for your family vacation? Here are our picks for the top eight beaches in Maui that are perfect for kids and adults alike:
Best Beaches for Kids in Maui
1. Ka’anapali Beach
Located on the western shore of Maui, Ka’anapali Beach (or just Kaanapali Beach) is a stunning stretch of sand that is perfect for families looking to enjoy a day out in the sun. The beach stretches for three miles, offering plenty of space for kids to run around and play, while the calm waters make it a safe place for swimming, snorkeling, and paddle boarding.
One of the unique features of Ka’anapali Beach is the daily cliff diving ceremony at Black Rock, a rocky outcrop at the north end of the beach. The ceremony is a tribute to a legendary Maui warrior who was said to have jumped off the cliff to prove his bravery to his people. Today, visitors can watch as trained divers perform the same feat, accompanied by traditional Hawaiian chants and music.
In addition to swimming and sunbathing, Ka’anapali Beach offers plenty of other activities for families to enjoy. Kids can learn to surf, take a sunset catamaran cruise, or explore the underwater world on a snorkeling or scuba diving trip. There are also plenty of restaurants and shops nearby, including the Whalers Village shopping center, which features a variety of grocery stores and eateries.
2. Baby Beach (Lahaina)
Located in the town of Lahaina on the west coast of Maui, Baby Beach is a favorite destination for families with small children. As the name suggests, the beach is specifically designed for babies and toddlers, with shallow, calm waters that are perfect for little ones to splash and play in.
Thank to the protective barrier that blocks the waves from entering the area, making it an ideal spot for parents to relax while their kids play in the water. The beach also has a soft, sandy bottom that is perfect for building sandcastles and digging for treasure.
The beach is well-equipped with amenities, including restrooms, showers, and picnic tables. There’s even an on-site snack bar with drinks and snacks to keep energy levels up throughout the day.
3. Baby Beach (Paia)
The second Baby Beach, also known as Baldwin Beach Park, is a hidden gem in the town of Paia on the north shore of Maui, Hawaii. This beautiful beach is a popular destination for families with young children, as its calm waters are protected by a natural reef, creating a safe swimming environment for kids.
The beach’s soft white sand, clear turquoise waters, and stunning views of the neighboring islands make it a picturesque spot for relaxation and recreation. Visitors can enjoy various activities and water sports, such as snorkeling, swimming, paddle boarding, and building sandcastles.
Baby Beach is also home to a diverse range of marine life, including colorful fish and sea turtles. Snorkeling enthusiasts can explore the underwater world and get up close and personal with these beautiful creatures.
There are also several facilities available at Baby Beach, including restrooms, showers, and picnic areas, making it a great option for a family day out.
4. Kapalua Bay Beach
Nestled in the heart of Maui, Kapalua Bay Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Hawaii. This stunning crescent-shaped beach is surrounded by towering palm trees, crystal clear water, and powdery white sand, making it a perfect destination for families with young kids because of its calm waters and sandy bottom.
What makes Kapalua Bay Beach unique is its remarkable coral reef, which creates a natural barrier, protecting the beach from rough waters and strong currents. Aside from its natural beauty and calmer waters, Kapalua Bay Beach also boasts excellent amenities like clean restrooms, showers, and picnic areas. It also has a variety of eateries and cafes nearby that offer a range of delicious snacks and refreshments.
If you’re looking for an adventure, you can hike the scenic Coastal Trail that takes you to other stunning beaches such as Napili Bay and Oneloa Beach. Or, if you prefer a more relaxed experience, you can simply bask in the sun and enjoy the breathtaking views of the ocean.
5. Napili Beach
Napili Beach is a charming and family-friendly beach in the western part of Maui. The beach offers a tranquil and serene environment for those who want to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The turquoise waters and the soft, white sand make it an ideal location for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing.
Napili Bay Beach is known for its crystal-clear waters, which provide an excellent opportunity for snorkeling and exploring the underwater world. The beach is also surrounded by lush vegetation and towering palm trees, providing a picturesque setting for a family picnic or a romantic walk.
One of the unique features of Napili Bay Beach is the variety of marine life that can be found there. Visitors can see a wide range of colorful fish, sea turtles, and even dolphins swimming in the bay. The beach is also home to a variety of seabirds, which adds to the natural beauty of the area.
In addition to its natural beauty, Napili Bay Beach is also known for its family-friendly atmosphere. The beach is ideal for children, as the calm waters and shallow depths make it safe for swimming and playing. There are also several nearby restaurants and shops that cater to families, providing a range of options for meals and souvenirs.
6. Kalama Beach
Kalama Beach is a fantastic destination for families with kids who are looking to enjoy the sunshine and the sand. Located in Kihei, Kalama Beach offers a wide range of amenities that cater to the needs of children of all ages.
One of the most significant advantages of Kalama Beach is the shallow water, which is ideal for young children to swim in safely. The beach also has gentle waves that are perfect for boogie boarding and body surfing, making it a great place for kids to learn how to surf.
In addition to swimming and surfing, there are plenty of other activities for children to enjoy at Kalama Beach. The beach has several playgrounds and picnic areas, where kids can run around and play while parents relax and soak up the sun. The beach also has basketball and volleyball courts, as well as a skate park, which is sure to keep older children entertained.
For families with young children, Kalama Beach is conveniently located near several restaurants and shops, making it easy to grab a bite to eat or pick up any necessary beach gear. There are also public restrooms and showers on-site, which are perfect for cleaning up after a day in the sand and surfing.
7. Wailea Beach
Wailea Beach is a breathtaking crescent-shaped beach located on the southwestern coast of Maui. It is renowned for its crystal-clear turquoise waters, powdery white sand, and an array of fun-filled activities that make it a perfect destination for families with kids. The beach stretches over 1.5 miles and offers a safe and fun environment for children of all ages.
One of the reasons why Wailea Beach is ideal for kids is the gentle slope of the ocean floor, which makes it perfect for swimming and wading. The water is relatively calm, with no strong currents or waves, ensuring a safe environment for children to play and swim. Additionally, the beach is patrolled by lifeguards, ensuring that parents can relax and enjoy the stunning scenery while their kids play.
Wailea Beach also offers an array of kid-friendly activities. Children can play in the sand, build sandcastles, or explore the tide pools. The beach also provides an opportunity for great snorkeling, where older kids can observe the colorful fish and other marine creatures that inhabit the coral reefs close to the shore.
Furthermore, the beach has amenities such as restrooms, showers, and picnic tables, making it a comfortable and convenient destination for families. It is also easily accessible, with ample parking and several resorts and restaurants within a short walk.
8. Makena State Park (aka Big Beach)
Makena State Park, also known as Big Beach, is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. It is located on the southern coast of Maui, just south of Wailea, and is easily accessible by car. The beach is known for its long, wide stretch of golden sand and clear blue waters, making it a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and playing beach games.
One of the unique features of Makena State Park is its size. The beach is nearly two-thirds of a mile long and 100 yards wide, providing ample space for visitors to spread out and enjoy their time in the sun. Despite its size, the beach can get busy during peak season, so it’s best to arrive early in the day to secure a good spot.
Aside from its beach, Makena State Park is also located near several other attractions that are worth exploring. Just north of the park is the stunning Wailea Beach, which features soft white sand and crystal-clear water. To the south, visitors can explore the lava fields and tide pools of La Perouse Bay, which is a popular spot for snorkeling and diving.
Overall, Makena State Park is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Maui. With its expansive beach, beautiful scenery, and convenient location, it offers something for everyone and is sure to be a highlight of any trip to the island.
Beach Safety on Maui
It is important to keep safety in mind when visiting beaches on Maui. All beachgoers should be aware of the ocean’s changing conditions and pay special attention to warning signs posted at each beach.
Swimming can be dangerous due to strong currents, so it is best to stay within designated swimming areas and always keep a close eye on children. If you have to swim outside of designated areas, it is important to be aware of the ocean’s tides and look for any warning signs or flags that may be posted. It is also recommended that visitors bring a floatation device, such as an inflatable raft or life jacket when entering the water.
It is also important to wear proper sun protection, such as sunscreen and hats, to protect against the island’s strong ultraviolet rays, especially during the summer months, when the sun is at its strongest.
By following these simple safety tips, you can enjoy your time at the beach with peace of mind. With some basic knowledge and preparation, you can have an enjoyable and safe experience on the beaches of Maui.
The Editor’s Note
Maui has always been one of the most popular vacation destinations for families with kids, and it’s easy to see why this island is among the top picks for a family-friendly getaway. From the gentle waves of Kalama Beach to the breathtaking sights of Wailea and Makena State Park, Maui has something for everyone in the family to enjoy.
Whether you’re looking for a beach day full of swimming and sandcastle building or an activity such as snorkeling or exploring nearby attractions, there’s something for everyone. With its stunning scenery, convenient location, and a plethora of water activities, Maui is the perfect destination for a family vacation.