Gentle waves wash up on to a golden sand beach with a multi-story resort in the distance.

Sunset on the famed Keawakapu beach. Photo © Eddy Galeotti/123rf.

Maui is famous for its gorgeous beaches that attract all types, from those looking for a great snorkeling spot to those who just want a secluded escape from the crowds. Here are 12 of the best beaches on the island.

D.T. Fleming Beach

Fleming’s offers some of the island’s best bodysurfing, beachcombing, and coastal hiking. Public restrooms, showers, lifeguards, and parking make this a family-friendly beach. Surfers flock here in winter to tackle the large swells.

Ka‘anapali Beach

Whether you’re looking for snorkeling, standup paddling, cliff jumping, or scuba diving, you’ll find it down at Ka‘anapali Beach. This resort district is the see-and-be-seen shoreline for the island’s West Side.

Napili Bay and Kapalua Bay

These two northwestern beaches offer protected snorkeling during summer. Swim with sea turtles at Napili and watch the sun go down from the deck of the Sea House restaurant with a drink in your hand.

Mokulei‘a Bay

During summer, there are few better ways to start the day than by snorkeling at Mokulei‘a. Tucked away at the base of the cliffs and hidden from the road, this is also a scenic and sandy spot for watching the large winter surf.

Keawakapu Beach

Enjoy a sunset stroll down Kihei’s nicest beach, or spend your days snorkeling, stand-up paddling, or basking in the sun. Keawakapu has facilities on both ends of the beach, but despite the beach’s popularity, there is always room to find your own section of shoreline.

Maluaka Beach

Maluaka is the most happening beach in Makena, where everything from kayaking to snorkeling and stand-up paddling are readily available. Public restrooms and showers make this a convenient spot for families, and you can walk down the road to historic Keawala‘i Church. Or pamper yourself in a beachfront cabana with a relaxing oceanfront massage.

Makena State Park

Wide, long, and completely undeveloped, aptly-named Big Beach is a local favorite that comes alive at sunset. This legendary shoreline has a lengthy hippie history: counterculturists and nudists should visit neighboring Little Beach for Sunday night drum circles.

Baldwin Beach

This North Shore classic is a local favorite for bodysurfing, bodyboarding, and scenic morning jogs. Undeveloped sand dunes meld into turquoise waters. Families with small children will love the cove at Baby Beach with its protected saltwater lagoon.

Hamoa Beach

If your vision of paradise involves a book, a palm tree, and the sound of waves at your feet, you’ll find it at Hamoa Beach, the nicest beach in Hana. Travelers from Michener to Twain have written of the beauty of its sandy shoreline.

Hulopo‘e Beach Park

This marine reserve has a sandy cove, vibrant reef, and palm-fringed shoreline. Summer months bring good surfing and bodysurfing and easy access to coastal hiking trails. Public restrooms, showers, and picnic tables make this a family-friendly outing on the island of Lana‘i.

Papohaku Beach

On most days your footprints will be the only set in the sand at Papohaku, one of the longest beaches in Hawai‘i. This westward-facing shoreline offers Moloka‘i’s best sunsets. It’s perfect for anyone wanting to escape for a little while.

Excerpted from the Ninth Edition of Moon Maui.