If you’re heading up the Hana Highway or even staying on Maui’s North Shore, you’ll be experiencing a very different slice of the island if you’ve only found yourself in the resort areas of South and West Maui, so far. Let’s visit Maui’s BEST North shore beaches!
We’ll make it simple and start from the beginning. You will be able to visit all of these locations on the trip to Hana, so do plan accordingly and bring swim wear and towels.
A few miles past the intersection of Hana and Haleakala Highways, you’ll pass the neighborhood of Spreckelsville and find Baldwin Beach Park.
This is actually more like the equivalent of three great Maui beaches all rolled into one and is several miles long. Visitors and locals alike frequent this spot as there is something for just about everyone.
1 – Baby Beach: This lovely little beach is found at the far end of Baldwin and can also be accessed through the neighborhood of Spreckelsville. Protected by a good chunk of reef, creating a kind of sandy swimming pool that is ideal for children and families. The far end is rocky and small fishes can often be seen while the middle is sandy and relatively shallow.
2 – Baldwin Beach: The main part of Baldwin Beach is always tons of fun with a pavilion, grills and plenty of room to spread out. Lifeguards are on duty here during daytime hours. If you’re looking for a good work-out, walk from one end to the other then jump in to cool off!
3 – Baldwin Beach Cove: This lovely little spot marks the end of Baldwin Beach and offers lovely, crystal clear water. Spread out a blanket under the trees or at the water’s edge and take some time to check out the area. If you walk up the hill a bit, you’ll find the hidden gem coming up next! *** Be sure to wear flip flops or shoes as some of the walk is rocky terrain (easy to walk on … no worries!).
4 – Secret Beach (Paia): This stretch of beach offers lovely views and can take you all the way into the town of Paia if you keep going. For those looking for someplace a bit out of the way, this is it. While there are legally no nude beaches on Maui, you will find this area can be “clothing optional” … so don’t be surprised if you happen upon a nude sunbather or two. After you pass under the Ironwood trees, you will find yourself at Paia Bay.
5 – Paia Bay: This little crescent of white sand is a very popular beach and adjacent park, with basketball courts, green grass for lounging and a Youth Center. It’s a fun spot to surf or boogie-board for those with a bit more experience and there’s always something fun going on! If you walk up the street a bit, you will be in Paia Town.
From here, you will need to drive to the next beaches unless you’re REALLY up for a hike! After exploring the funky and fun village of Paia a bit, head out of town and you will soon discover Tavares. You may want to grab a bite in Paia Town, as there aren’t many places past to do so, other than small general stores, and they are limited.
6 – Tavares Beach: This is a small beach, surrounded by reef and rocks. Experienced surfers and paddlers use it by going out through a small channel but at high tide, it makes for a refreshing place to take a dip. Mornings find it pretty empty but it does get a bit crowded as the day wears on.
If you’re planning to have lunch or dinner at Mama’s Fish House (Most visitors find it next to impossible to visit Maui without it!), you may wish to reverse the next two listings; however, I will stick to the current route for ease.
7 – Kuau Cove: We are SO lucky in Hawaii to have laws in place allowing public access to all beaches … no such thing as a “private” beach anywhere in the state! This little beach sits on a lovely tide pool and is surrounded by swaying palms, stunning homes and, of course, Mama’s Fish House and Inn. While not usually the best for swimming (fun for little ones but not very deep), it’s a great place to hang out for sunset or just enjoying the views.
8 – Ho’okipa Beach Park: A favorite surf spot for experienced surfers and one of the top windsurfing destinations in the world, you can always expect a spectacular show of some kind at this beach park! I watch sunset from this spot almost daily.
Watch along the reef for sea turtles, as they like this spot and are seen here very frequently. Also look for monk seals in the mornings as they sometimes like to come up for a little time on the sand. There is actually one who seems to love the tournaments … every year, she comes up and sits right in front of the entrance to the water during an entire wind surfing competition!
While parking can be a challenge, there is an upper level lot for over flow that offer stellar views. Definitely stop and soak it all in before you walk down to the beach.
This concludes our tour of some of the best Maui beaches you’ll experience when visiting the Northern side of the island. While it seems like a lot, you’re really only looking at about 10 miles or so total. Grab your sunscreen, hit the road and have a a great time!