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Article Source: Copyright © 2012 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House Inc. All rights reserved.
There's no better place on this or any other island to watch the world's finest windsurfers and kitesurfers in action. They know the five different surf breaks here by name. Unless it's a rare day without wind or waves, you're sure to get a show. It's not safe to park on the shoulder. Use the ample parking lot at the county park entrance.
Ah, Maui's beaches: it's hard to single out just a few because the island's strands are so varied. The leeward shores of West and South Maui have calm beaches and some great snorkeling, but experienced surfers and windsurfers gravitate to the windward (North Shore and East Maui) beaches that face the open ocean. Here are some favorites for different interests from around the island.
Fronting the Maui Sunset Resort, Waipuilani Park is a spectacular place to sunbathe, relax, or picnic on golf-course-quality grass. A small beach hides behind the dunes, although it's usually speckled with seaweed and shells. This park often hosts local activities, such as volleyball and croquet, and it attracts many dog lovers. There are tennis courts, too. Although the park can be crowded, it's still a perfect place to watch the sunset. From South Kihei Road, turn onto West Waipuilani Road, near the Maui Sunset Resort. Amenities: parking (no fee); toilets. Best for: partiers; sunset.
Small but rarely crowded, this beach will remain in your memory long after your visit. Fingers of white foam rush onto a black volcanic-pebble beach fringed with green beach vines and palms. Swimming here is both relaxing and invigorating: Strong currents bump smooth stones up against your ankles while seabirds flit above a black, jagged sea arch. There are picnic tables and grills. At the edge of the parking lot a sign tells you the sad story of a doomed Hawaiian princess. Stairs lead through a tunnel of interlocking Polynesian hau (a native tree) branches to an icy cave pool—the secret hiding place of the ancient princess. You can swim in this pool, but beware of mosquitoes. In the other direction a dramatic 3-mile coastal path continues past sea arches, blowholes, and cultural sites all the way to Hana town. Amenities: parking (free); showers; toilets. Best for: walking.
A road near the Grand Wailea Resort takes you to Wailea Beach, a wide, sandy stretch with snorkeling and swimming. If you're not a guest at the Grand Wailea or Four Seasons the cluster of private umbrellas and chaise lounges can be a little annoying, but any complaint is more than made up for by the calm, unclouded waters and soft, white sand. From the parking lot, walk to the right to get to the main beach; to the left is another, smaller section that fronts the Four Seasons. There are picnic tables and grills away from the beach. Amenities: parking (no fee); showers; toilets. Best for: snorkeling; swimming.
Stories to inspire your own adventures at Outrigger's travel blog.