Easily accessed via a road off the Honoapiilani Highway near Kapalua, West Maui’s D.T. Fleming Beach Park offers some 1,500 feet of plush white sands and plentiful ironwood shade. It’s best known as a place to play in the surf, with bodysurfing and bodyboarding especially popular.
Served with plentiful parking, D.T. Fleming Beach Park fronting Honokahua Bay is part of a great lineup of West Maui beaches in the Kapalua area. Westward on the other side of scenic Makaluapuna Point lies Oneloa Beach. Oneloa and Honokahua bays form a distinctively west-east oceanfront on West Maui’s northwestern coast. Northeast of D.T. Fleming, meanwhile, Slaughterhouse Beach draws sand-and-surf lovers to Mohuleia Bay.
You’ll see the sands of D.T. Fleming Beach Park variously called D.T. Fleming Beach, Fleming Beach, or Honokahua Beach. The Fleming name comes from a historically important figure of the late 1800s and early 1900s in West Maui: David Thomas Fleming, who, as manager of the Honolua Ranch, is credited with introducing pineapple to this part of the Valley Isle.
The broad white strand of D.T. Fleming Beach Park is extra appealing thanks to the plentiful shade provided by the ironwood trees along the beach’s backing dunes. You’ll find lifeguards here, plus such essential amenities as restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and grills.
A sandbar edging most of the beachfront sets up a pretty reliable year-round surf break coveted by boogie-boarders. A little reef buffers the east end of the beach and can deliver its own wave-play opportunities. Calm days provide decent swimming.
As anywhere in Hawaii, though, definitely be cautious if going in the water in Honokahua Bay. In heavy surf, rip currents can be a problem along the Fleming Park sandbar. That’s especially true with the big swells of winter, but even the summertime chop and backwash can be tricky. Consult the lifeguards on hand as to current ocean conditions and never push your limits.
Between the extensive, inviting sands and the bodyboarding/surfing opportunities, D.T. Fleming Beach Park is a popular hangout for locals and tourists alike. Weekends are, unsurprisingly, particularly busy—often downright crowded. Weekday beachgoers will typically enjoy a bit more elbow room.
Whether or not you’re braving the surf breaks yourself, D.T. Fleming Beach Park can be a fine place to hang out with some sand between your toes while touring your way around West Maui.
-Come afternoon, a rather stiff (and rather annoying) wind often rises at D.T. Fleming Beach Park. Expect some whipped-up sand that time of day. Aim for a morning visit, and you’ll generally enjoy calmer conditions.
-In winter, keep your eyes peeled offshore when visiting D.T. Fleming Beach Park. You’ve got a decent chance of spotting some of the humpback whales that calve and cavort in Maui’s waters between December and April. Whale spouts or gleaming upraised flukes can be especially magical around sunset.