Kapalua Bay

Kapalua Bay Maui
Overview: With its white sand, exceptional snorkeling, and relative proximity to resorts, Kapalua Bay is definitely up there with the best beaches on Maui. It's such a nice beach it was named "Best Beach in America" in 1991 AND 2018!

That said, here's the thing with Kapalua Bay: It's crowded, crowded, crowded. This isn't to say you won't have a great time—just don't expect to waltz right up and have the beach to yourself.

Parking most days is an absolute nightmare, so unless you've arrived before 9am and there are still some spots available, just drop your party by the stairs to the beach and then designate someone to head back out and find parking along the street.

Another nice thing about Kapalua Bay is it's largely shielded from winter surf. If neighboring Napili has thundering shorebreak, chances are Kapalua will be a little bit calmer. Not flat, but calmer. It's also moderately shielded from the wind and is of not Maui's best beaches for children because of the showers and restrooms.

Good For: Hiking the Kapalua Coastal Trail, families with children, snorkeling, suntanning, feeling like you're staying in Kapalua without actually paying to stay there.

Not So Good For: Finding parking, escaping the crowds

Maui Expert Tip For Kapalau Bay: If you're a super snorkeler and a really strong swimmer, you can snorkel around to Namalu Bay, which is the next bay to the north. Currents out here can be dangerous, however, so know your limits and don't try if it's windy.

All other snorkelers will find the best snorkeling on the right side of the bay. If you're up for a scenic coastal walk, follow the sidewalk behind the beach for the start of the Kapalua Coastal Trail.
Directions and Parking Situation: Drive along Lower Honoapi'ilani Road until you pass Napili Kai on your left. You'll notice the Kapalua Tennis Center on the right side of the road, and the beach parking lot is on the left side of the road. Just look for the sign for Merriman's.

If all of the beach parking spots are taken you'll need to find a spot on the road between here and Napili Kai.

Facilities: Public restrooms and showers are available. Access is via a short set of stairs.
Kapalua Bay Maui