Here we highlight a select few of the many South Maui beaches. A tour of these beaches brings you through Maalaea, into Kihei and right to the heart of Wailea. You really can't go wrong with any beach in South Maui.
We will start at Sugar Beach, a long, vacant stretch of beach that branches from Maalaea to North Kihei and sits adjacent to the Keālia Pond Natural Wildlife Refuge. This refuge is a natural saltwater marshland that is home to many endangered birds. If you love long walks on the beach, this is the beach for you. With sweeping panoramic views, you can see both Haleakalā and West Maui Mountains, Kaho‘olawe and Molokini islands. The calm morning sea reflects the sunrise perfectly, and gorgeous sunsets make this the prettiest 2.5 mile stroll first thing in the morning or early evening. While you’re at it, enjoy the coastal boardwalk that parallels the beach as part of the Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge.
Sugar Beach boasts white sand and a shallow, reef filled shoreline. This makes for a great opportunity to get up close and personal with tide pools at low tide. A big bonus is that you can park right alongside the road in multiple spots and access the beach easily. This area does catch a lot of wind on breezy days, great for windsurfing and kitesurfing, but if you’re picturing laying in the sand soaking up the sun, you may want to avoid this beach in the middle of the day. Once the wind picks up, so too does the sand.
Kalepolepo Beach Park
The first thing you should know about this beach park is that there is a great deal of history that has swept its shores over the centuries. It is home to the Kalepolepo fish pond, historically known as Ko’ie’ie loko i’a. Built between 1400 and 1500 A.D., it was once the site of a thriving Hawaiian village. Thanks to the remnants of the fish pond’s rock wall, the shoreline waters steady to a shallow pond, ideal for small children and those seeking the solitude of a quiet, uncrowded beach. The beach park provides a large grassy lawn, picnic tables and bbq stands. There is a small parking lot that is shared with the Whale Education Center.
While this area is comfortable and clean, there is not much potential for snorkeling. But if a member of your family is new to water, like a small child or baby, or if you are interested in the history of the area, this is a worthy stop for you.
Keawakapu Beach stretches from the bustling tip of Kihei town into gorgeous Wailea. And so in that way, it’s the best of both worlds and frequented by both locals and visitors. This sandy bottom beach offers a sometimes exhilarating shore break, so the waters are best for families with experienced swimmers.
Whether snorkeling, swimming, beach strolling or spending hours camped out on the beach, the best thing about Keawakapu is that, despite its popularity, there always seems to be plenty of room for everyone. There are also multiple locations to park. We suggest bringing an umbrella as there are no significant shady spots. There are showers and portable toilets for the convenience of beach goers.
Named after the highly sought after Hawaiian game fish, ‘Ulua Beach was known historically as Kaula’uo, and briefly Little Tarawa during World War II military training.
‘Ulua Beach is in the heart of ritzy Wailea, and thus, the amenities surrounding it are very well maintained. A paved pathway, fresh grassy knoll, clean bathrooms and shower area are definite bonuses to this small beach tucked neatly in front of the Wailea Elua Village condos. The public parking lot fills quickly but there are lots of nearby options. The 1.5-mile walk itself is totally do-able with the paved pathway.
This beach offers amazing snorkeling, swimming, boogie boarding, as well as potential for sand castle building, picnicking, sun tanning and making memories. On top of all that, there are excellent eateries nearby at The Shops of Wailea, including Tommy Bahamas, Cheeseburger-in-Paradise and Longhi’s.