Beach-goers relaxing at Kamaole Beach in Kihei Maui

It's no mystery why so many Hawaii vacationers choose Maui over any other island- the crowds are smaller than Oahu, but bigger than Kauai, (offering a varied nightlife), the scenery is unbeatable (living up to it's nickname “The Valley Isle”), and the beaches are diverse and beautiful. And speaking of beaches, today we're highlighting our top five picks of Maui's stretches of coastline, where golden sand meets turquoise waters and in some instances, a refreshing mai tai is only steps from your beach towel and umbrella. Some folks prefer a beach with accessibility (restrooms, parking lots, picnic tables, etc.) whereas some prefer a beach off the beaten path, where getting to it is half the adventure. Others are looking for a family-friendly place where the kids can swim safely, whereas some folks simply prefer an all-around good beach (temperate swimming conditions, ample shade, decent parking, etc.). Showcasing a little bit of everything, Maui is an ideal island for beach varieties so without further ado, here are our five favorites.

Kaanapali Beach, West Maui- This stretch offers three miles of yellow/white sand with incredibly clear waters. Perfect for a lazy day, Kaanapali Beach offers umbrellas and lounge chairs and plenty of space to stretch out your beach towel. Located in the popular resort community of Kaanapali, this beach is ideal for anyone wanting to experience a bit of beach with a bit of luxury. Located just steps off the sand is a variety of bars and outdoor restaurants, plus an outdoor shopping mall and plenty of fresh water showers. Kaanapali is also great for ocean activities such as parasailing, surfing, SUPing and sea kayaking, and at Black Rock you can take the adventurous plunge off the cliff or check out some great snorkeling spots along the coast. This beach definitely gives you the feeling of being on vacation in Hawaii, and we recommend it for families, couples, or groups.

Mokuleia Bay (Slaughterhouse Beach), West Maui- Part of a 45-acre marine life conservation district, Mokuleia Bay is alive with beauty both above and under water. Ideal during the summer months, this beach offers clear waters perfect for swimming and snorkeling and is sheltered from any wind, making it a good beach to get a tan. Parking is ample and the walk is easy, down concrete steps with a hand railing. Once you're down, the white sand, blue waters, and green background will be breath taking. Honolua Bay, another great spot for snorkeling, is next door to Mokuleia on the northern side and is just a quick swim away during calm ocean conditions. We recommend this spot for couples and adventurous families, due to its seclusion and accessibility. It's a beautiful bay that will surely bring you back to Maui for your next tropical vacation.

Kamaole Beach Parks, Kihei- There are three beaches to the Kamaole Beach Parks, known as I, II, and III. This review is for Kamaole Beach I because of its size and the fun body boarding waves it provides. Fronting the Kamaole Beach Club, this beach is ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and whale watching during the months of December-April. Close to shops and a variety of dining options, this spot is a great place to come during the later afternoon. Prop up a beach chair, take a few dips in the ocean, warm up and dry off just in time to watch the sunset, and then saunter over to the nearby town of Kihei for a great dinner or evening cocktails. This stretch of sand is ideal for just about anyone, as you can walk to any of the three “Kam's”, each offering up something different but equally beautiful.

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