Top 5 Family-Friendly Maui Beaches

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Welcome to the Islands – congratulations on your arrival! Beaches stretch as far as the eye can see, each offering the classic trio of sand, surf, and sun, yet possessing unique characteristics. Wondering how to pinpoint the ideal family-friendly Maui beach? Today’s post simplifies the task by highlighting three locations on the west side and two on the south side. Keep reading, and consider visiting one or all of these Maui beaches to get everyone’s toes in the sand!

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Number 1: Baby Beach, Lahaina


Baby Beach, located in Lahaina, stands out as the ultimate family-friendly Maui beach, particularly suitable for very young children. Aptly named for its toddler-friendly environment, Baby Beach boasts a fringing reef just offshore that acts as a natural barrier, preventing large waves from reaching the shore. This unique feature ensures the water remains calm, resembling a vast, warm bath surrounded by soft sand.

The water at Baby Beach maintains a shallow depth, never exceeding two or three feet even as you venture farther out. This consistent depth creates an expansive tidepool effect, allowing visitors to wade in and explore the coral reef habitat that spans throughout. The proximity to the coral provides an excellent opportunity to observe fish and other sea creatures as they navigate the central areas. For older children, Baby Beach becomes an ideal spot for introducing them to snorkeling equipment.

While enjoying the underwater wonders, it’s crucial to refrain from touching the reef. Despite their rock-like appearance, corals are living organisms forming delicate and vital ecosystems. Coral reefs serve as homes for various animals, including spiny sea urchins nestled within the coral. Many other creatures inhabit the reef’s cracks and crevices, and any intrusion may provoke defensive actions such as biting. To ensure the safety of all, it’s advisable to adopt a hands-off approach.

Enhancing your tidepool experience at Baby Beach is easy – don’t forget to wear sunglasses. Not only do they shield your eyes from water glare, but if they are polarized, you will be able to see the animals beneath the surface a lot more clearly!

Baby Beach awaits your discovery in Lahaina.

Number 2: Launipoko Beach Park, Lahaina


If you’re into boards, Launiupoko stands out as an excellent family-friendly Maui beach. The consistent flow of gentle rolling waves here makes it an ideal spot for novice surfers and stand-up paddleboard enthusiasts. Alongside the sandy beach perfect for lounging and floating, there are large rocks that kids can climb on to observe the waves and turtles, although caution is advised as the rocks can be slippery. Due to its popularity as a busy surf spot and the absence of a substantial reef, Launiupoko is not recommended for snorkeling.

For the little ones, one of the highlights at Launiupoko is the enchanting “wading pool.” This shallow area starts at half an inch deep at the edges and reaches a maximum depth of about two feet.

Adding to the charm of Launiupoko is a shaded lawn area equipped with amenities such as picnic tables, BBQs, restrooms, and trash cans. Conveniently located a few miles south of Lahaina town, the beach park allows for easy access to nearby grocery stores if you happen to forget something for your lunch.

Have a fantastic time at Launiupoko Beach Park in Lahaina!

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Number 3: Kapalua Bay, Kapalua


Consistently recognized as one of the world’s finest beaches, Kapalua Bay boasts an indescribable beauty that makes it a favored choice for many couples exchanging vows on Maui. Spending an entire day here is effortless, and witnessing the sunset is an unforgettable experience. The beach offers convenient amenities such as restrooms and drinking fountains, but it’s advisable to bring snacks and an umbrella for shade. Early arrival ensures optimal parking, and note that a concrete staircase leads down to the beach, a consideration if you have strollers.

Kapalua Bay caters to all ages, providing a gentle slope from the sand to the sea, making it particularly accommodating for toddlers compared to steeper beaches like Napili Bay. An added advantage is the fantastic, wide, winding path just behind the beach, perfect for leisurely walks or invigorating runs.

Given its generally calm waters, Kapalua Bay is our top choice on the west side as a family-friendly Maui beach for snorkeling. The soft white sand and shallow, well-protected area make it an ideal spot. Turtles are abundant, and the bay offers a safe haven from larger waves.

For an enjoyable snorkeling experience, it’s recommended to stay within the bay and avoid venturing beyond the rocky points on either side. The left side of the bay, with its sandy expanse, is the preferable entry and exit point, while the right side is full of rocks.  If you’re new to snorkeling, consider familiarizing yourself with the gear in a controlled environment, such as a swimming pool, before venturing into the ocean – bathtubs are generally too small for this purpose.

Uncover the beauty of Kapalua Bay.

Number 4: Kamaole Beach III, Kihei


All three Kamaole beaches in Kihei are suitable for kids, but Kamaole III, affectionately known as “Kam III” among the locals, stands out as an exceptionally family-friendly Maui beach. Apart from being an excellent spot for snorkeling, Kam III features a playground with swings and expansive grassy hills, providing ample space for running and rolling around.

The beach seemingly stretches endlessly, offering wonderful opportunities for snorkeling with frequent visits from large sea turtles. However, these gentle creatures can feel stressed by eager visitors, akin to how we might feel when pursued by the paparazzi. It’s important to maintain a respectful distance when taking pictures, allowing the turtles to swim freely. Capture your moments of joy while being mindful of technology; using the zoom function on your camera or editing software requires less energy than the turtles zooming away from you. Mahalo!

Situated conveniently close to various shops and restaurants, the Kamaole beaches offer flexibility for breaks from the sun or a quick warm-up if you’ve become chilled. Despite the sun-warmed, blue-green ocean in Maui’s photographs, it’s possible to feel cold in the water, especially when floating motionless and observing the fish. Staying active generates more heat, allowing for an extended and comfortable time in the water. After aquatic adventures, consider heading to the nearby Cafe Ole’i for their delicious French onion soup!

Discover more about Kamaole Beach III.

Number 5: Maluaka Beach, Makena


Maluaka Beach, situated farther south than many snorkeling spots on the island, is a destination well worth the journey. Typically, this family-friendly Maui beach enjoys a less crowded atmosphere, offering a mix of shaded and sunny areas on its sandy expanse. Public restrooms, outdoor showers, and a grassy lounging area enhance the overall experience. To optimize your visit, arriving early is advisable for calmer waters, improved visibility, and ample parking.

The walk down to the shore can be a bit daunting for short legs, so if you’re looking for a place to park and hit the sand immediately, Maluaka is not the beach you’re looking for.  Despite this, the snorkeling experience can be exceptional, although the water can become rough with increasing winds.  The bay’s center features soft sand, with a few prominent rocks breaking through the surface. Caution is urged when snorkeling near these rocks, as the water can throw you against them.  The rest of the beach, however, is stunning.

Like every family-friendly Maui beach on our list, Maluaka boasts a mostly flat terrain, prioritizing comfort for all visitors. Given its slightly off-the-beaten-path location, it’s crucial to come prepared with essentials such as water, food, and reef-safe sunscreen.

Learn more about Maluaka!

Gather the whole crew to explore and find your favorite family-friendly Maui beach.  Aloha for now!