Kapalua Bay Beach

Kapalua Bay Beach - Maui's Family Friendly Oasis
Local Expert's Rating:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Located on Maui's west coast, Kapalua Bay Beach is a gorgeous crescent-shaped beach that is popular year-round for its tranquil waters and beautiful sands. Two reefs protect the bay and offer outstanding snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities. So if you're looking for a place to safely swim, lounge, and generally enjoy Hawaii's beaches, then Kapalua Bay Beach ought to be on your go-to list. 

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

Located on the far western side of Maui, Kapalua Bay Beach is a pretty white sandy beach that is incredibly popular. In fact, this beach has consistently made the “best of” lists when it comes to beaches and once even earned the title of America’s Best Beach

The foremost reason why Kapalua Bay Beach consistently earns such high renown and appreciation is because it offers visitors plenty of activities. Hawaii has many beaches that are downright gorgeous but tragically inaccessible or unswimmable due to things like the land’s layout and the force of the ocean’s waves. Such is not the case with Kapalua Bay Beach. This beach is easy to get to and boasts tranquil waters thanks to it being in a cove protected from rough ocean waves by two reefs that fully extend around the bay in a C formation. 

The tranquil waters of Kapalua Bay Beach make it a go-to location for families and those who want to relax in beautiful waters without battling waves. There is, however, no lifeguard on duty so you will want to swim with caution.

Snorkeling and scuba diving at Kapalua Bay Beach are excellent thanks to the beauty of those protective reefs that are not too far from shore. Corals, tropical fish, turtles, and more all await the underwater explorer. If you don’t have gear, you can get some from a gear rental shack located just off the beach itself. 

In addition to the calm water activities, Kapalua Bay Beach is also beloved for other beach attractions. The soft, golden-white sand here is perfect to lounge upon. Nearby sand dunes and tropical vegetation give the beach a more secluded feel — at least in terms of being away from urban attractions. This is not a private beach in terms of it being quiet. This is a very popular beach and so visitors should expect some crowds whenever they go. 

The good news is that the same popularity makes it so that Kapalua Bay Beach boasts a lot of amenities. Clean, updated restrooms and showers are readily available to the public. Those who drive here can park in a nice public parking area with plenty of spots. There is even a nearly 2-miles paved oceanfront pathway that starts here. This path meanders along the coastline and offers its walkers, runners, and bikers access to three different bays.

Being on the west side of Maui, Kapalua Bay Beach is also a fantastic spot to watch the sunset. The rocky outcroppings that help protect the cove also serve as water mirrors during the sunset and contribute to a gorgeous viewing. 

Truly, it is easy to spend an entire day at Kapalua Bay Beach. Go early to enjoy a more serene morning at the beach and a more private snorkeling experience along the protective reefs. When the sun nears its zenith and the crowds begin to peak, head out to wander the restaurants and shops of the greater Kapalua area. In the afternoon, cool off again with dips and swimming before relaxing on the beaches to watch the sunset. 

Insider Tips:
-If you are having trouble finding a parking spot, or are generally worried about parking, know that you can pay $15 to park at either Merriman’s parking lot or the golf course parking lot located across the street. 
-The tranquil waters make Kapalua Bay Beach a very family-friendly beach. So, if you have kids, this beach is certainly recommended. But if you don’t have kids and are sensitive to the noise and bustle of children, then you might not appreciate this beach to its fullest. 
-If you are still looking for resorts to stay at, consider booking near Kapalua Bay Beach. The resorts here are a bit cheaper than others as they aren’t on, on the beach, but they still offer nearby access to this beach and other attractions (like the aforementioned trail).