Mai Poina Beach Park

Mai Poina Beach Park - Nice South Kaui Sands & Windsurfing
Local Expert's Rating:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Mai Poina Beach Park is often on the less-busy side of the beachgoing spectrum in South Maui. Offering plentiful sand and picnic facilities, the park’s popular for stand-up paddleboarding and windsurfing. It’s also a great place for sunsets and wintertime whale-watching.

- The Local Expert Team

Situated in North Kihei, Mai Poina Beach Park offers a mile-long swath of sand that’s part of the extensive Maalae Bay beachfront. (It essentially forms a southern extension of Sugar Beach.) Easily accessed off South Kihei Road, Mai Poina is a great place for beach-strolling, sunset-watching, and watersports, and is rarely overly crowded.

This 5.3-acre park—also sometimes called Mai Point—includes a 10-space parking lot and an additional gravel parking area. You can also generally find street parking along the road. The beach park includes a picnic pavilion, restrooms, and showers as well as a lawn area, but no lifeguards.

The beach itself here is Mai Poina Oelau (“forget me not”) Beach. It’s a nice sample of South Maui sand, though you’ll deal with a bit of road noise. 

The waters just offshore, meanwhile, beckon with a variety of activities. In the morning, when winds are generally calm, this can be a good place to swim and snorkel. (That said, see our Insider Tips for a caveat on this count.) Many take out stand-up paddleboards for a spin this time of day as well. There are good opportunities for surf-casting as well.

As elsewhere along the South Maui coast, Mai Poina Beach Park sees pretty reliable winds kick up by the afternoon. These can be blustery indeed. Windsurfers and kiteboarders are often in action by then here. (When the southerly Kona winds are blowing—an occasional pattern in fall and winter especially—the windsurfing gets even better.) Whether you join the fun or just watch, it’s part of a typical day’s routine at Mai Poina Ouelau. 

Also part of a typical day’s routine here? Paying your respects to leeward Maui’s glorious sunset show. No two are ever exactly the same!

The same long ocean sightlines that are particularly ravishing come sundown also make for solid shore-based whale-watching in winter. That’s when North Pacific humpback whales flock to Maui from Alaskan waters to breed and have their calves. Watch for blows, flipper slaps, head-lunges, and tail flukes—maybe even all-out breaches! A pair of binoculars comes in definite handy for better viewing of these magnificent leviathans. (As you might imagine, it’s easiest to see whales from shore in calm waters. Chop and whitecaps complicate things.)

Mai Poina Beach Park is a great place for morning beach-lounging, afternoon windsurfing, and sunset appreciation, plus all-day (if potentially breezy) picnicking. Checking out its charms, you’ll also find yourself just a short drive from Kihei’s restaurants and shops, plus numerous other beaches.

Insider Tips:
Nutrient-loaded discharge from an outlet in Kalama Beach Park notoriously affects water quality along part of the Kihei beachfront. Southerly currents transport this brown water, which nourishes algae and seaweed, northward. Usually worst between Kalama and Kalepolepo parks, this murky zone often dissipates before majorly impacting Mai Poina Oelau. But the water here is sometimes affected, which takes snorkeling off the table and makes swimming pretty unpleasant. So just be aware!