Mommy Needs A Mai Tai

Last Updated on December 18, 2023 by Florabeth Coble

A mom with a sleeping baby on her chest on a beach in Maui, Hawaii.

Maui is known for its beaches; some are the best in the world! I’m a mom of two Maui-born children, and both have been raised with their toes in the sand. So, if you’re looking for the best beaches on Maui for families, you’ve come to the right place!

Maui can boast some pretty big swells, and if you have young kids, you’ll probably want to spend your time on beaches with smaller waves that are easier to navigate. These are our favorite family-friendly beaches on the island of Maui.

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Wailea Beach, Wailea

This gorgeous stretch of sand is just steps from the Grand Wailea, one of Maui’s most popular family-friendly hotels. The waves are small, the rocks are few, and the views are stunning!

If you’re staying at any of the oceanside resorts in Wailea, you can easily access this beach from the walking path. Renting a wagon is super helpful with young kids in tow! A small, paved parking lot is also walkable to the beach if you’re coming from elsewhere. The lot fills up quickly, so be sure to arrive early! 

Bathrooms: Yes, near the parking lot

Showers: Yes

Lifeguard: No

Parking: Paved lot

A baby in a stroller looking out at the ocean in Maui, Hawaii.

Ulua Beach, Wailea

Ulua is another stunning beach in Wailea. There’s a reason all the best Southside hotels are located here! You’ll find Ulua just south of Andaz Resort, with access from the walking path. Ulua Beach provides calm water, good snorkeling, and fun little tide pools for kids to explore.

Bathrooms: Yes

Showers: Yes

Lifeguard: No

Parking: Paved lot

Polo Beach, Wailea

Polo Beach is the third and final Wailea Beach on this list, and on a good day, its shallow waters are perfect for kiddos to splash around in. There’s nothing quite like building sandcastles here as the sun sets!

Located at the southernmost end of the Wailea Beach path and just in front of the Fairmont Kea Lani, this beach tends to be less crowded and can feel like your own little slice of heaven. Snorkeling is best around the rocks at the north end of the beach and, on a calm day, is like stepping into a vibrant underwater world.

Note that the shorebreak can be rougher than just down the way at Wailea and Ulua Beaches. Always avoid Polo Beach when a big swell comes in, as rip currents are common.

Bathrooms: Yes

Showers: Yes

Lifeguard: No

Parking: Paved lot

A green sea turtle basking in the sunshine on a beach in Maui, Hawaii.

Baby Beach, Paia

Baby Beach, Paia, is located on Maui’s north shore. Popular with locals and visitors alike, this beach is gorgeous, with a large sandy area and some shade to retreat into. The water here is protected by a natural reef, making it mostly wave-free (depending on the weather).

Baby Beach is located at the eastern end of Baldwin Beach, with access through a residential neighborhood. Parking can be tricky here, so be prepared to walk! Rent a wagon to shlep baby gear and try to visit early in the day, as it can get pretty windy here in the afternoon.

Bathrooms: no

Showers: no

Lifeguard: no

Parking: Residential (There is also a small parking lot next to the beach that is often closed.)

Napili Bay, Napili

Napili’s location is on Maui’s westside, and Napili Bay is adored by visitors and locals alike. This gorgeous, small stretch of soft sand provides calm water, terrific snorkeling, and a perfect place to post up for the day. If you get hungry, check out the Gazebo restaurant next door!

Bathrooms: no

Showers: no

Lifeguard: no

Parking: Lot that fills up quickly; street parking is also available 

A dad and toddler sitting on a beach, looking out at the ocean in Maui, Hawaii.

Kapalua Bay, Kapaula 

Just north of Napili Bay, you’ll find Kapalua Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches on Maui’s westside. Kapalua Bay also provides calm water and great snorkeling, making it an excellent location for younger kids and grownups. Bathrooms and showers available are always wins in my book!

Bathrooms: Yes

Showers: Yes

Lifeguard: No

Parking: Lot that fills up early; come before 10 am

Kamaole Beach Park, Kihei 

This popular stretch in Kihei showcases three different beaches, often called Kam I, Kam II, and Kam III. All of them are family-friendly, with small to medium-sized waves to play in.

Kam I is very convenient, with a small health food mart, liquor store, and gelato shop all within walking distance. Kam III includes a large grassy area to run, picnic, and play. We love to hang by the swing set and enjoy incredible views of the Pacific Ocean. Dreamy! 

Bathrooms: Yes

Showers: Yes

Lifeguard: Yes

Parking: Lot and street parking available 

A small child mostly covered in sand and wearing sunglasses on beach in Maui, Hawaii.

Ka’anapali Beach/Black Rock

Ka’anapali is one of the most popular beaches in Maui because of its stunning, clear water and proximity to hotels. On the North end of the beach, you’ll find Black Rock, an excellent place to snorkel and watch those brave enough jump into the sea.

Because of its popularity, the beach can be crowded. The waves are typically medium-sized and appropriate for more experienced swimmers. As always, keep a close eye on little ones. 

Bathrooms: Located at Whalers Village Shopping Center

Showers: Yes

Lifeguard: No, but there are rumors that they may be coming soon 

Parking: Whalers Village paid parking lot or via various hotels 

A mom and baby gaze at a jaw-dropping sunset in Maui, Hawaii.

Keawakapu Beach, Kihei

Keawakapu is a local favorite. While the water can be rocky in some places, you will see families playing in a small area near the Mana Kai condo hotel that provides fun waves to play and boogie board in. There are also multiple tide pools in front of 5 Palms restaurant for littles to splash around in.

The wind can pick up here, causing you to get sand-blasted. Because of this, we love to post up in the grassy area in front of the hotel, making this an ideal location if it happens to be windy that day. The beach is gorgeous and .7 miles long, providing a lovely walk to admire some of Maui’s most beautiful homes.

Bathrooms: No (Unless you ask for a bathroom code at 5 Palms restaurant) 

Showers: Yes

Lifeguard: No

Parking: Large parking lot

A beach chair and basket on a beach in Hawaii with a canoe in the background.

Sugar Beach, Kihei

If you’re a fan of walking or running on the beach, the best place to do so is in North Kihei at Sugar Beach. The wind does pick up here in the afternoon, so be sure to get in your steps in the morning. The water can appear murky, but it’s not dirty. The darkness sometimes seen in the water is typically from sand being kicked up off the ocean floor.

The waves in front of Kihei Canoe Club (across from the ABC store) are small and ideal for kids to play in. Take caution further down, as you’ll find many more rocks that are sometimes hard to spot under the surface. 

Bathrooms: No

Showers: Yes

Lifeguard: No

Parking: Street

Ho’okipa Beach Park, Paia/Haiku

Maui is the windsurfing capital of the world, and Ho’okipa Beach provides the perfect place to see these daredevils in action. While this isn’t the best beach for swimming, our family loves to post up in the grassy area above the beach and watch pro surfers do their thing. 

Depending on the conditions, this beach has numerous little tide pools to let babies and toddlers splash around and play. Ho’okipa is also notorious for giant green sea turtle visitors (Honu) who love to bask on the sand in the sunshine. Just be sure to keep a distance.

Ho’okipa Beach Park is at mile #9 on Hana Highway, just down the way from the iconic Mama’s Fish House.

A man enters a massive wave on Big Beach, Maui, Hawaii.

Maui Beach to Avoid with Kids

Makena Beach, popularly known as “Big Beach,” is one of the most stunning beaches on Maui. Big Beach is refreshingly underdeveloped and awe-inspiring.

However, the waves here are insurmountable and wildly unpredictable. We never bring our kids here, as it is common to hear stories of people getting themselves into hairy situations. It’s just not worth the risk in my book.

A mom and toddler laying in a hammock on Maui, Hawaii.

More Advice on Visiting Maui Beaches with Your Family 

The Maui sun tends to be more potent in the morning than in the afternoon, so lather on that reef-safe sunscreen or invest in a UPV-safe rash guard for your little one. Beach showers are beneficial in rinsing off a sandy baby bum. And if you’re visiting a beach without one, keep a gallon of water in your car! It will warm up in the mid-day sun, allowing you to rinse off at the car and head straight to that dinner reservation. This trick has saved me more than once!

Whether you opt for smaller waves at Baby Beach or prefer to check out big-wave surfers at Ho’okipa, this list will steer you in the right direction. Every beach on Maui is stunning and provides a gorgeous backdrop for family memories that will last a lifetime. 

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Picture of Aloha, I'm Florabeth Coble

Aloha, I'm Florabeth Coble

Most people call me Flo. I'm a busy mama raising two young boys in Hawaii. We share our adventures, travel tips, itineraries, and honest reviews so that you can plan your own family-friendly trip to Hawaii.