West Maui Beaches (Kapalua & Napili areas)

Honolua Bay

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Due to the rocky coastline, this beach is not an ideal spot for the passive sun-seeker. However, if snorkeling is what you are looking for, there are very few places on the island better than Honolua. The crystal blue waters and giant reefs offer an endless display of fish of every color and shape, and for the lucky few Honolua always offers the possibility of swimming with the sea turtles. Charter boats are often docked in the bay to let their clients experience the incredible beauty found in these protected waters. While the beach here is uninviting, you can almost always find a small patch of sand or flat rock in order to dry out in the sun after your snorkeling excursion. If you are out to see the beauty of Maui’s underwater world, make sure you stop at Honolua Bay. Two miles north past Kapalua Bay Resort on Honoapiilani Highway, there will be cars parked on the left-hand side of the road. The beach is accessed by walking a short distance under a canopy of tropical trees. Make sure all valuables are out of sight in your car, as break-ins have occurred.

Mokule'ia (Slaughterhouse) Beach

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Tucked against the cliff-slide, this little crescent of white sand provides a perfect environment for the sun-seeker, while the more active explore the incredible snorkeling found in this tiny bay. In winter months conditions can be dangerous as heavy surf pounds the shore, but the summer often bring perfect conditions for bodysurfers. Concrete stairs lead down to this incredibly picturesque beach that still bares the unfortunate name "Slaughterhouse" among the locals. The name is a holdover from the time when two sheds were constructed by Honolua Ranch on the cliffs overlooking the beach. The sheds were torn down in the mid-Sixties, but the name remains.  Head North on Honoapiilani Highway.  The beach is located just short of two miles past the entrance to the Kapalua Bay Resorts.

D.T (David Thomas) Fleming Beach

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Beautiful, big , and wide, Fleming Beach is one of the best on the Northwest side of the island and surprisingly uncrowded considering its beauty and many amenities. Located between two large reefs on either side, the swimming here can be ideal when the conditions permit. However, when the wind kicks up, this protected cove becomes choppy and bodysurfers are more likely to head into the water. Fleming Beach is situated at the bottom of the Kapalua Ritz-Carlton, and while the beach chairs are meant for guests, an unoccupied chair is not too hard to find. Other amenities associated with the hotel include a restaurant overlooking the beach with an activity rental center attached. Accommodations provided by the park include restrooms, barbecue grills, showers, and a lifeguard. When conditions are rough, Fleming Beach is not ideal for families with small children who like to play in the surf. Watch for red flags posted along the beach which warn of strong riptides- a fairly common occurrence in winter. Drive north on Honoapiilani Highway past Kapalua Bay Resort for about one mile. Turn left and follow the "shoreline access" signs.

Kapalua Bay Beach

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Kapalua is Hawaiian for "arms embracing the sea", and nowhere is this more visible than at Kapalua Bay Beach. One of the most popular destinations for beach-goers on the Northwest side of the island, this crescent of white sand is nestled between two black lava rock points which reach out into the sea and protect the bay from the rough ocean currents. The soft white sand here is quite enticing, but the beach is also sloped toward the ocean and heavily populated by tourists. However, a small grassy area sprinkled with palm trees provides plenty of room to lay out for those who aren’t at the beach to be "seen". The swimming here is quite good, the snorkeling is decent, and there is occasional surf. Thus, while it may not have the best of these individual attractions, Kapalua Bay Beach offers a little bit of everything in a truly ideal environment. Public accommodations include bathrooms, two showers, and an activities rental shack. Access at the southern end of Kapalua on Lower Honoapiilani Highway, on the northern side of the Napili Kai Beach Club. There is public parking but it is limited, so if you park on the street make sure it is in a legal area.

Napili Bay Beach

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Great for a casual day at the beach, Napili Bay has all of the amenities of a world class beach but lacks any one outstanding feature that would bring in flocks of tourists. The beach here is a large crescent of fine white sand with a flat shelf that slopes rather steeply toward the ocean. That slope continues into the crystal blue water, leading to a rather strong rip current and shorebreaks that draw bodyboarders during the winter months. At other times of the year, however, the water here is ideal for swimmers. Snorkeling is decent on the left-hand side of the beach, but not of a caliber to draw people here for that purpose. Napili Bay Beach is often overlooked in favor of its neighbor, Kapalua Beach, yet it offers many of the same perks without the density of beachgoers. Public access is found at the end of Hui St. off of Lower Honoapiilani Highway. Parking is legal along the street, with a convenience store and beach shower adding to the amenities.

Kahana Beach

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Beginning at the Kahana Beach Resort and continuing past the Sands of Kahana Condominiums, this stretch of beach offers plenty of space for sunbathers. The swimming here is very good thanks to a protective offshore reef, but the combination of sand and rock as you enter the water may discourage the younger beach-goers from playing in the shore-break. Kahana is a nice beach which is never very crowded, but not one that you should actively search out if you are not staying in the area. Take Hoohui road off of Honoapiilani Highway and head west toward the ocean. Turn left on Lower Honoapiilani Highway and look for parking on the far side of the Kahana Beach Resort.