Lahaina/Kaanapali (15 + minutes north of Lahaina) This is a beach park so the facilities are wonderful. The beach seems to go on forever and snorkeling is really nice at this spot. As it is fairly exposed to winds there can be a bit of a current here. Just be careful when you get in the water and keep your eyes on the shore. Traveling north past Lahaina Town, turn left on Kai Ala. Follow the "beach access" signs to the right.
This beach consists of one of the longest stretches of white sand coastline on the island and, as its nickname "Dig Me" implies, this is the place to "see and be seen". So, if you have the kind of body you just have to show off or you feel the need to satisfy your voyeuristic side, come on down to Kaanapali. This beach is much more than just a showplace, however, and offers an incredible array of activities and amenities. Charter boats regularly set sail from shore, and rental companies offer all kinds of activities. The sun-bathing here is world-class, although you will have to search for any shady areas if you need to get out of the midday sun. Beyond the beach Kaanapali offers some of the finest resort accomadations, shopping, and beachfront restaurants in the Hawaiian Islands. There is a reason that this is one of Hawaii’s top tourist destinations, so if the crowds don’t bother you, experience this beach for yourself. About 1 mile outside of Lahaina Town on the main highway (30), take the first Kaanapali Resorts entrance. Public parking can be hard to find, but does exist next to all the Resorts so keep an eye out for "Beach Parking" signs.
Used as the launching site for numerous canoe clubs (hence the nickname), this beach is also the beginning of a huge stretch of shoreline which extends all the through Kaanapali and on to Honokowai. Called Canoe Beach by almost everyone, this park area is perfect for a number of activities. The shorebreak often attracts bodyboarders, and once beyond the surf you will find the conditions to be perfect for swimming parallel to the expansive shoreline. Sunbathing here is also quite good, but the beach lacks the pristine quality of a Kaanapali or Kapalua Beach. Just north of Lahaina Town on Honoapiilani Highway (30), the parking entrance is the first left after Wahikuli State Beach, and just before the Kaanapali Resorts.
This beach is very close to Lahaina and is popular for visitors and residents of the area. A good spot for families to relax for the day, as there are plenty of tables, BBQ pits, and shady areas just up from the shore. The water here is not great for surfing, but calmer and better suited to good swimming and snorkeling. This beach is located right next to the Hanaka'o'o Beach Park, almost as an extension to the Canoe Beach, so parking may be found at both places. Located on the very northern edge of Lahaina Town, look for the sign on the left when traveling north on Honoapiilani Highway.
Known to some locals as "Hot Sands", this park just south of Lahaina Town is a popular spot for surfers looking for small but plentiful offshore swells. The ocean here is rather shallow with a rock and sand floor, making it good for swimmers and o.k. for young shoreline frolickers. Like many of the beaches along the highway between Maalaea and Lahaina, this is a nice spot but it lacks the qualities which would make it memorable enough to recount when you return home- unless of course, you test your skills riding the waves. Located on the very southern edge of Lahaina Town off of Honoapiilani Highway. Look for the sign.
This is a popular spot for novice surfers, but for those of you who lack boards, there is little to draw you to this spot other than a need to use the facilities. The shoreline is shallow and decent for wading, and while the sand isn’t of the pure white variety, it does offer plenty of space to lay out your towel or beach chair. There are plenty of facilities to enjoy, including bathrooms, showers, barbecues, and picnic tables. If you stop you should also make sure to take the time to enjoy the view of all three off-shore islands (*uh-oh, a quiz!). Overall, if you don’t have a surfboard, either rent one from one of the convenient activity rental companies or keep on going to one of the other great beach destinations on this side of the island. Found a few miles south of Lahaina Town. Look for the sign.
Sometimes referred to as "Thousand Peaks", this beach offers numerous offshore breaks for the surfers in the crowd. The beach itself is long and narrow, but there is plenty of room to lay out provided you keep a lookout for the numerous, and painful, kiawe tree stickers. Swimming and snorkeling here is decent enough, but not spectacular. Like other beaches along the highway, Papalaua can be convenient if not spectacular. On Honoapiilani Highway between mile markers 11 and 12. There is no turn lane and no paved parking so use caution getting on and off the highway.
Lahaina (15 minutes drive south from Lahaina) This area is protected from waves when the rest of the snorkel spots might be inaccessible due to swell conditions. The reef area reaches out to sea about 250 feet with perfect visibility due to the shallow 15-20 feet depth. Again, one of the favorites for fish and turtles. There is beach but it is rather thin, especially at low tide. You'll just be pulling off the road to enjoy this snorkel spot. No facilities. As the name suggests, the beach is located at mile marker 14 on Honoapiilani Highway(30). There are no turn lanes or paved parking, so be careful getting on and off the highway.
Popular with local fishermen, this beach has little else to make it stand out in the crowd of excellent Maui beaches. There is a paved parking lot, some grills and picnic tables, and a restroom. The beach is rather small and the shoreline is rocky. All in all, not a very exciting place for a day at the beach. Located between mile markers 12 and 13 on Honoapiilani Highway. Look for the sign.