There are few beaches as postcard-perfect as Hamoa Beach. This east Maui beach stretches 100 feet wide within a 1,000-foot crescent wrapping about turquoise blue waters. You won’t find it ringed by big resorts, but rather by foliage-covered cliffs and sand dunes rising into grassy hills. In other words, if you are looking for a natural, nature-oriented beach, then you are looking for Hamoa Beach.
Located several miles south of Hana and away from any dense residential or commercial districts, Hamoa Beach is gorgeous in its seclusion, but that does also have some drawbacks. You will find public showers and restrooms here, but they are not the best on the island. While there is one nearby hotel, you otherwise won’t find any shops, rental outfits, or dining establishments within walking distance. So when you visit, make sure you pack and bring with you everything you want (ie surfing equipment, picnic materials, etc.) for your time at the beach. Finally, there are no lifeguards on duty here and, because the surf can be rough with the potential of rip currents (there is no protective offshore reef here), visitors should be cautious about entering the water.
The surf, however, is one of the biggest draws of Hamoa Beach. Hawaiians have, in fact, been surfing the waves here well before surfing was a more widely known activity. Surfers love this location because the waves break further out and atop a combination of sand, rocks, and reef. On moderate days, longboarding and stand-up boarding are excellent due to the short size, long breaks of the waves. On other days, the waves are steep and ideal for experienced short boarders.
Getting to Hamoa Beach is tricky — but the reason behind that is pretty neat. Oprah Winfrey bought just over 200 acres of undeveloped land next to the beach in 2002. She promised to preserve the open spaces and access local fishermen and surfers had to Hamoa Beach for millennia and preserve she did! In 2005, Winfrey donated 182 of those acres to the Maui Costal Land Trust and now the open spaces add to the wildness and overall beauty of Hamoa Beach.
This preservation aspect of the land, however, does make parking tricky as there is no dedicated parking lot for the beach due to it. Instead, visitors will need to use on-street parallel parking or get a shuttle to the beach (the local hotel has a drop-off point).
If you are an early riser, consider waking up before dawn and making your way to Hamoa Beach. Being unconnected to any resort means those who venture here early may find the beach all to themselves or at most a couple of other early risers. The sunrise here is also simply fantastic due to how untouched the land is surrounding the cove. The sunrise is backed by a lava hill that is ringed by coconut palm trees and other tropical plants with dark rocks dotting the foreground along with the white and black sands of the beach itself.
-Hamoa Beach really is secluded from most things, but there is one fantastic food stand just a few blocks away. If you’re feeling hungry and don’t mind making a little walk, check out Tony’s Place on the corner of Haneoo Road and Hana Highway.
-Don’t turn your back on the ocean here. Remember, there is no protective reef and so waves can crash intermittently and with great force. Many unsuspecting people find themselves tousled from a rogue wave crashing atop them.
-Watch the local surfers before getting into the water. Generally, there is a rip current along the left end of the beach. Many surfers will use this rip current to their advantage so as to swiftly get out to where they can more easily catch the surf. However, an uninformed swimmer in this area might find themselves suddenly at a loss when that same current takes them very quickly away from shore without a surfboard.