Top 5 Family-Friendly Maui Beaches
Discover your favorite family-friendly Maui beach!
Congratulations, you’ve made it to the Islands! There are beaches everywhere you look, and though all of them offer sand, surf, and sun, each one is different. How do you find the right family-friendly Maui beach for you? In today’s post, we make it easy for you. We outline three spots on the west side, and two on the south side. Read on, and head to one or all of these Maui beaches to get everyone’s toes in the sand!
Number 1: Baby Beach, Lahaina
Baby Beach in Lahaina is far and away the best family-friendly Maui beach for very small children. It is called Baby Beach because it is a great place to bring toddlers. There is a fringing reef not far offshore that keeps large waves from reaching the coast. This dynamic keeps the water gentle. Being in the ocean here usually feels like being in a large, warm bath lined with soft sand.
The water is very shallow – no more than two or three feet deep, and that depth remains the same even as you walk out to sea a ways. We love this beach because it’s like a giant tidepool you can wade into: there is coral reef habitat throughout, and you can walk close to it. While looking in the water, you’ll often see fish and other sea creatures as they hustle and bustle around these central areas. As you can imagine, Baby Beach can be a great spot to introduce older children to their snorkel equipment.
As always, enjoy looking, but make sure you do not touch the reef. Corals may seem to be rocks, but reefs are alive and made of fragile living organisms. Coral reefs provide housing for many other animals, too. You are likely to notice spiny sea urchins living within the coral. Lots of other creatures live deep in reef cracks and crevices, and they might feel threatened by an intrusion and defend themselves by biting. It is safest for everyone involved for you to be hands-off.
One more thing will really enhance your tidepool time at Baby Beach: remember to wear your sunglasses. They will protect your eyes from the glare coming off the water, and if your glasses are polarized, you will be able to see the animals beneath the surface a lot more clearly!
You can find Baby Beach in Lahaina.
Number 2: Launipoko Beach Park, Lahaina
If boards are your thing, Launiupoko is an awesome family-friendly Maui beach. There is a constant stream of gentle rolling waves at this beach that tend to be perfect for beginning surfers and stand up paddle boarders. There’s also a sandy beach for lounging and floating, and large rocks for kids to climb onto and watch the waves and turtles. The rocks can be slippery. This is not a good place to snorkel because it is such a busy surf spot, and there is not much of a reef.
One of the coolest things at Launiupoko is for the little kids: a beautiful ocean-infused “wading pool!” This wading area is shallow. It’s a half inch deep at the edges, and maxes out at about two feet deep.
There is a shady lawn area where you’ll find amenities like picnic tables, BBQs, restrooms, and trash cans. This beach park is just a few miles south of Lahaina town, so if you forget something you want to have with lunch, you can easily drive in and grab it at one of the many grocery stores nearby.
Have a great time at Launiupoko Beach Park in Lahaina!
Number 3: Kapalua Bay, Kapalua
Consistently named one of the best beaches in the world, Kapalua Bay is almost indescribably beautiful. Many couples who marry on Maui choose this spot for their wedding ceremony. It’s easy to stay here all day, and it’s also an epic spot to see the sunset. There are restrooms and drinking fountains. You’ll want to bring snacks to tide you over, and an umbrella for shade. Arrive early for the best parking. A concrete staircase leads down to the beach. If you are carrying strollers, that may be something to keep in mind.
Kapalua Bay can be great for all ages to play and walk on the shore. The sand slopes gently to the sea, so toddlers will have it easier than they might on other, steeper beaches like Napili Bay. One of the nice pluses here is that just behind the beach, there is a fabulous, wide, winding path for walking or running.
Because the water is usually calm, Kapalua Bay is our west side pick for a family-friendly Maui beach for snorkeling. Turtles abound, and the beach is made of soft white sand. The area is shallow and protected from most large waves.
If you stay in the bay and don’t venture out past the rocky points to either side, this is generally a wonderful setting for anyone who wants to try out their snorkel equipment in the wild. Leave from and return to the bay’s sandy left side; the right side is full of rocks. If you are brand new to snorkeling, and you have access to a swimming pool, consider getting used to your new gear in a controlled environment before you go into the ocean. Bathtubs are a bit too small, we’ve found.
Discover Kapalua Bay.
Number 4: Kamaole Beach III, Kihei
All three Kamaole beaches in Kihei are good for kids, but Kamaole III (“Kam III,” as the locals call it) is an especially family-friendly Maui beach. In addition to being a great snorkeling beach, Kam III boasts a playground with swings, and huge grassy hills to run around and roll on.
This beach seems to go on forever, and there is wonderful snorkeling. Large sea turtles swim by regularly. They are mobbed every day by excited visitors, and they get stressed out just like we do when the Paparazzi is after us. Please take pictures from several yards away, let the turtles swim where and when they please, and remember your technology through your epic joy. It takes more energy for turtles to zoom away from you than for you to use the zoom function on your camera and/or editing software. Mahalo!
The Kamaole beaches are close to all kinds of shops and restaurants. If you need a break from the sun or you have become chilled, but you don’t want to surrender your parking space, there are plenty of options. Looking at Maui’s sun-warmed, blue-green ocean in a photograph, it may not seem possible that one can get cold, but one can. The water takes your body heat from you, especially when you are floating motionless and watching the fish. The more active you are, the more heat you generate, and the longer you can stay in the water – at least when it comes to a comfortable body temperature. After playing in the water for a while, we love going to nearby Cafe Ole’i for their delicious French onion soup!
Find out more about the amenities, location, and parking for Kamaole Beach III.
Number 5: Maluaka Beach, Makena
Maluaka Beach is farther south than many other snorkeling beaches on the island, but it is worth the drive. Most of the time, this family-friendly Maui beach is not too crowded. On the sand, you can enjoy shade as well as full sun. There are public restrooms and outdoor showers available, as well as a grassy area for lounging. Arrive as early as possible for calmer waters, better visibility, and more parking.
The walk down to the shore can be a bit daunting for short legs, so if you’re looking for a place to park and hit the sand immediately, Maluaka is not the beach you’re looking for. The snorkeling here can be great, but the water gets rough once the wind picks up. The center of the bay is all soft sand except for a few large rocks reaching through the surface. When you snorkel, do not explore too close to those rocks, because the water can throw you against them. The rest of the place, however, is stunning.
Like every family-friendly Maui beach on our list, Maluaka is mostly flat, which we hope will be comfortable for everybody. As we mentioned, this beach is a bit far from the beaten path, so make sure you bring everything you need like water, food, and reef-safe sunscreen.
Learn more about Maluaka!
Pack the whole crew, and go find your favorite family-friendly Maui beach. Aloha for now!
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