If you’re looking for a relatively uncrowded beach in South Maui, consider steering your way to the south edge of Kihei. That’s where you’ll find Keawakapu Beach, a lovely sandy seashore where at least a bit of elbow room tends to be easy to come by.
The better part of a mile long, Keawakapu Beach has some hotels and resorts at its north end and then an impressive flank of ritzy houses southward. But that doesn’t detract much from the spell of the sands themselves. And, in fact, it may partly “hide” the beach from the tourist throngs.
You can access Keawakapu Beach from three parking lots strung along its north-south length. You’ll find showers and port-a-potties here, with watersports rentals, restaurants, and shops near to hand. There aren’t lifeguards posted here, mind you.
Nevertheless, normally placid waters and plush sands offshore along the beach face make Keawakapu Beach a great place to swim, most of the time. The southerly to a southwesterly blast of a Kona storm, though, can really do a number on the beach. And heavy surf in general here should give you pause if you want a dip.
That’s because the beach is mostly exposed to westerly or southerly swells. However, a seawall and an artificial reef—a whole load of cars, actually, dumped back in the early 1960s, plus tires and other automotive parts placed later—provide some protection.
(When the surf is lively, you can often find OK body-boarding opportunities at Keawakapu Beach.)
You’ll savor the views out to offshore islands—Molokini and Kahoolawe—and northwestward to West Maui.
Tidepools at the north side of the beach—usually the more crowded part—can delight young and old alike. The snorkeling is also quite good here: decent at the south end, better yet at the north end where a submarine wall extends a way offshore. Sea turtles are common sights. You can also see wide-mouthed moray eels—always a thrill!
Divers, meanwhile, can appreciate the sea life attracted to the sunken chassis and tires a half-mile or so off the beach, which lie in a roughly 80-foot water column.
You can appreciate marine life without even getting into the water at Keawakapu Beach. This is a decent shoreline vantage for whale watching in the winter and early spring when humpbacks famously mass in Maui’s coastal waters.
And we’d be remiss not plugging the sunsets at Keawakapu Beach. Those uninterrupted westward sightlines out to the Pacific make for quite the vantage for enjoying the nightly sundown show. Unlike humpback-watching, this is a year-round spectacle.
Whether you’re here to kick back on the sands, explore the tidepools, or get offshore with snorkel or SCUBA gear—or on a stand-up paddleboard—Keawakapu Beach is one of the best places in South Maui to hit up the coast!
If you want to snorkel off Keawakapu Beach, your best bet is coming here in the morning. As along much of this western seaboard of South Maui, the wind tends to stiffen come afternoon.