Beautiful Keawakapu Beach in the evening light, Maui, Hawaii

Keawakapu Beach, Maui, HI: Complete 2024 Visitor Guide

Keawakapu Beach, Maui! Those who live in Maui consider this the best beach on Maui, a beautiful, golden-sands beach flying under the tourist radar!

Staying in southwest Maui? You are next door to Keawakapu Beach, like we were on one of our visits to Maui, and our family spent almost every day at this beach.

With a long wide beach, Keawakapu Beach offers plenty of space for sun worshippers! And with calm waters most of the time and equipment rentals conveniently located nearby, Keawakapu Beach is excellent for water activities for the entire family.

Wide, golden sands at Keawakapu Beach, Maui, HI
Wide, golden sands at Keawakapu Beach, Maui, HI

My early morning routine was a quick jog along the coastal trails and on the deserted, serene Keawakapu Beach, catching some phenomenal sunrise photos on the way!

Also, we saw some of the most spectacular sunsets on Maui from here! No wonder Keawakapu Beach is considered the most romantic beach in Maui.

Let us walk you through all the things to do at Keawakapu Beach, and you too can plan a great family beach day here!

Hey, by the way! Snorkeling is probably at the top of your Maui itinerary — check out our guides to the best tours to Molokini Crater and Turtle Town, two of the top snorkel spots on Maui!

Sunset at Keawakapu Beach, Maui, HI
Sunset at Keawakapu Beach, Maui, HI

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Keawakapu Beach Directions

Keawakapu Beach is located at the southern end of Kihei, just north of Wailea, on the sunny, southeast side of Maui. It is one of the best beaches in South Maui!

Coming from Lahaina or the northern part of Maui? Take Piilani Highway, Highway 31, south and take a right onto Kilohana Drive.

Follow the road to the end to South Kihei Road, which provides access to Keawakapu Beach.

>> Book these 5-star rated, highly popular, Maui Tours now!

Keawakapu Beach Parking

Like free beach parking? You have three free, public parking options for Keawakapu Beach, making it one of the most accessible beaches on Maui.

On the north end of the beach, you have two large lots next to the Mana Kai Maui Resort and the Days Inn (expand the Keawakapu Beach map below). You can enter from South Kihei Road.

Mana Kai Resort at the northern end of Keawakapu Beach, Maui, Hawaii
Mana Kai Resort at the northern end of Keawakapu Beach, Maui, Hawaii

These parking lots are best if you plan to snorkel or want to rent equipment from rentals like the Surf Shack, located conveniently nearby.

Your second parking option is at 3035 S. Kihei Road parking, at the intersection of Kilohana Drive and South Kihei Road. Note, this is not on the beach side, but across the road.

This lot has trees and shade, and you will be roughly at the middle of Keawakapu Beach.

The third option is on the southern end of Keawakapu Beach, at the end of S. Kihei Road, where you have several parking spots on the beach access road.

This part of the beach is much less crowded, and you have easy access to the restaurants at the oceanfront Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort.

Keawakapu Beach Map

The Keawakapu Beach map below shows the location of Keawakapu Beach, and the main attractions nearby.

Access to Keawakapu Beach

Parked at the north end or the south end of the beach? You have a short beach access path to take from the parking area.

Parked at the intersection of Kilohana Drive and S Kihei Road? Cross S Kihei Road, and take the short beach access path in between the beach houses.

Keawakapu Beach Reservations

Keawakapu Beach does not need any reservations.

>> Book these 5-star rated, highly popular, Maui Tours now!

Keawakapu Beach Amenities / Facilities

Location: End of South Kihei Road, Kihei HI 96753
Lifeguard: No
Beach Amenities: Portable toilets, showers, grass areas, coastal trail
Food Nearby: Restaurants at the nearby resorts and in Kihei & Wailea
Parking: Three free public parking lots
Directions: Highway 31 south, right on Kilohana Drive to S Kihei Road

Showers and port-a-potties are available at either end of the beach.

Grassy area and bench at the north end of Keawakapu Beach, Maui, Hawaii
Grassy area and bench at the north end of Keawakapu Beach, Maui, Hawaii

The 5 Palms restaurant in the Mana Kai Resort (north end of Keawakapu Beach) offers panoramic views of the ocean with your freshly caught island fish dishes.

On the south side, the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort (a 5-star resort) offers fine dining at Morimoto Maui (celebrity chef) and Ka’ana Kitchen, a great way to end a romantic sunset stroll at Keawakapu Beach!

>> Book these 5-star rated, highly popular, Maui Tours now!

Best Things to Do at Keawakapu Beach

Along a fully developed coastline with resorts, condos, and mega-beach houses (some of the priciest real estate on the island of Maui), Keawakapu Beach is a pristine, relatively untouched beach.

An oddity of Keawakapu Beach is the junk old cars, tires and concrete slabs that were dumped from a barge in 1962 about 400 yards from the shore, partly to create a man-made barrier against the constant sand erosion.

An interesting side-effect was a jump in fish population, benefiting from the sheltered artificial reef.

Beautiful, long Keawakapu Beach with fine golden sand in Maui, Hawaii
Beautiful, long Keawakapu Beach with fine golden sand in Maui, Hawaii

You will likely see a few scuba divers exploring the reef, and snapping underwater photos of this curiosity!

From Keawakapu Beach, you get stunning views of the West Maui mountains, Molokini Crater and Kaho’olawe Island.

Need equipment for beach activities? You can rent paddle boards, boogie boards, kayaks, snorkeling gear and other beach gear from the Surf Shack near the Mana Kai Resort at reasonable prices.

1. Keawakapu Beach Snorkeling

Snorkeling at Keawakapu Beach is probably among the easiest snorkeling in Maui, with the best snorkeling spots at the northern end of the beach, close to the free public parking lots.

At the northern end, near the lava rock outcropping jutting into the ocean, you have coral reefs and shallow tidepools, with abundant tropical reef fish.

We saw some very pretty butterflyfish, the ubiquitous yellow tangs and convict tangs, some triggerfish (including the state fish of Hawaii, the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a), and some rarer fish like Achilles tang.

To recognize and identify these beautiful fish, check out our detailed Hawaiian Fish Snorkeling Guide!

If you explore a bit further along the lava rock outcropping, you’ll encounter some moray eels hiding in the coral reefs, and Hawaiian green sea turtles feeding on the underwater seaweed and algae.

While there are snorkeling spots on the southern end as well, the best snorkeling here is at the northern end.

You can conveniently rent the snorkeling gear from Mana Kai Maui Resort rentals and nearby stores.

2. Keawakapu Beach Swimming

With the manmade underwater barriers, the waters at Keawakapu Beach are usually quite docile, and great for swimming.

The shallow waters near shore are the best place for wading in and cooling off, and for beginning swimmers and kids.

Small waves and calm waters at Keawakapu Beach, great for swimming along the shore
Small waves and calm waters at Keawakapu Beach, great for swimming along the shore

Serious swimmers can get an excellent workout swimming laps parallel to the long beach.

Winds do tend to pick up during the afternoons, and you may encounter rougher waves.

Since there are no lifeguards at Keawakapu Beach, exercise your judgment and stay out of the water at high surf.

>> Book these 5-star rated, highly popular, Maui Tours now!

3. Sunbathe or Relax with a Book on the Keawakapu Beach

With about 3/4 of a mile long, golden sandy beach, finding a reasonably private location for a spot of sunbathing or relaxing with a book is pretty easy on Keawakapu Beach.

The northern part of the beach tends to get quite busy with snorkelers, but sun worshippers can head towards the south side of the beach for a quiet place.

Southern end of Keawakapu Beach, usually much less crowded
Southern end of Keawakapu Beach, usually much less crowded

If you want to curl up with a book, on the northern end, there are grassy patches in front of the Mana Kai Resort and plenty of shade from palm trees and other vegetation.

Note that at high tide, the water eats up most of the sandy beach, coming in quite deep, and you have to park yourself high up on the beach!

4. Hike the Keawakapu Beach Trail

The Keawakapu Beach Trail, about 4.6 miles roundtrip, runs parallel to the coastline, and the first section of the trail is along the beach.

Want to get some fresh air early morning? The trail was my favorite spot for an early morning jog, and I would end the run the entire 3/4 mile stretch of the beach at full tilt!

Hiking and jogging path along the shoreline near Keawakapu Beach, Maui, HI
Hiking and jogging path along the shoreline near Keawakapu Beach, Maui, HI

The beaches along this stretch of coastline are almost contiguous, and you can easily extend your walk or run to cover Mokapu Beach, Ulua Beach, Wailea Beach and Polo Beach.

All the beaches tended to be deserted at sunrise, except for the occasional jogger or yoga practitioner!

>> Book these 5-star rated, highly popular, Maui Tours now!

5. Stay Back for Spectacular Sunsets

Honeymooning couple? Strolling with your partner on the Keawakapu Beach at sunset is a must do!

Sunset views from the beach are spectacular, with the sky lighting up in amazing bright colors, and the golden sun gliding gently into the Pacific Ocean behind the mountains.

Spectacular colors at sunset from Keawakapu Beach, Maui, Hawaii
Spectacular colors at sunset from Keawakapu Beach, Maui, Hawaii

And, in winter, keep your eyes peeled for humpback whales breaching, they make for a fabulous photos in the golden sunset light!

6. Surf and Boogie Board at Keawakapu Beach, Maui, Hawaii

Want to learn to surf or boogie board? The waves at Keawakapu Beach were just the right size for us, thrilling to ride, but not scary.

We had to wait till the afternoon for the winds to pick up.

Kids' boogie boards on the golden sandy beaches
Kids’ boogie boards on the golden sandy beaches

You’ll see beginning surfers as well as more experienced ones, riding the waves here.

7. Kayak, Standup Paddleboard & Canoe at Keawakapu Beach

While our teenage kids were snorkeling, we tried our hand at tandem kayaking and standup paddleboarding.

You can rent kayaks, canoes and paddle boards from the Mana Kai Maui resort at the north end of Keawakapu Beach.

Kayaks on the beach during a break
Kayaks on the beach during a break

While the open ocean waters took us a bit of getting used to, the waves near the shore were gentle, and we managed fine.

Don’t venture too far, the winds pick during the afternoons, and we saw one group struggle to get back.

>> Book these 5-star rated, highly popular, Maui Tours now!

Snorkeling and Water Activities Gear Checklist

Though you can rent snorkeling gear or use the ones that come with tours, we invested in our own gear, mainly due to Covid-19 (why take the risk?).

Tips for Your Visit to Keawakapu Beach, Maui, Hawaii

While Keawakapu Beach waters are usually calm, you should check the weather. Waves will pick up during storms, and entering the water may not be safe.

High surf at Keawakapu Beach, Maui, HI
High surf at Keawakapu Beach, Maui, HI

No lifeguards are on duty at Keawakapu Beach, so make sure your kids have floatation vests and stay close to shore.

We rented our equipment online, in advance.

>> Book these 5-star rated, highly popular, Maui Tours now!

Ocean Safety Tips

Hawaii’s beaches are beautiful, but ocean activities can be dangerous. Ocean conditions are dynamic and can change without warning.

Here are some tips to enjoy the ocean and beaches safely:

  • ALWAYS heed posted warning signs.
  • Check conditions just before you arrive at your chosen beach, and watch conditions at the beach for a bit before you decide to enter the water.
  • Swim at a lifeguarded beach and ask the lifeguard for advice before you enter the water.
  • Never turn your back on the ocean, whether you are standing at the shore or on a cliff above. If you see wet rocks or sand, it means the water has been here recently.
  • Know your limitations, especially if you are not an experienced swimmer. If in doubt, do not go out.
  • If you choose to enter the water, go with a partner or in a group.
  • Know that alcohol can impair judgment and motor skills in the water.
  • Keep children close and always keep your eyes on what they are doing in the water.
  • Watch for sharp coral or rocks or sea urchins.

Also check out the safety guide put out by Maui County.

Best Maui Tours

Have you booked these top-rated Maui guided adventures yet?

Small-group Road to Hana tour so everyone in your group can sit back and enjoy the views without worrying about negotiating hairpin bends or finding parking at popular stops!

A Haleakala sunrise tour so you can experience the bucket-list sunrise atop the volcano without the need to reserve a parking spot or drive up in the dark!

A Maui whale watching raft tour, which will let you see the massive humpback whales at eye level! (You can also opt for a more sedate boat whale watching tour.) A MUST winter Maui activity!

A Maui snorkeling excursion that combines the Molokini Crater with Turtle Town, the two most epic snorkeling destinations on the island!

A 7-line Maui zipline experience where you can glide over the forests on the north shore of Maui. Enjoy ocean views and navigate obstacle course challenges!

An oceanfront luau in Wailea where you can enjoy a sunset buffet and traditional Polynesian entertainment. You can also opt for a Kaanapali oceanfront luau.

Renting a Car in Maui

The best things to do in Maui are located all over the island.

Public transport options on Maui are minimal to non-existent, so if you want to explore the island beyond your base, you’ll want to book a rental car for your Maui trip.

We always use Discover Cars to book Maui car rentals. They search across a variety of rental car companies, both budget and brand, to offer you the best deals, AND they offer free cancellations. Plus, there are no hidden fees.

>> Check availability and prices on Maui car rentals now!

Where to Stay in Maui

Depending on whether you want a vacation rental with more room and the option to cook some of your meals, or you want a resort or hotel experience, and depending on which part of Maui you want to choose as your base, you have a variety of options.

By far the majority of visitors to Maui choose to base on the west side, where there is a large selection of accommodations available, from resorts and hotels to vacation rentals.

We suggest starting your search for Maui accommodations by browsing vacation rentals on VRBO. You can filter to choose a specific area, such as Kihei, Kapalua, or Wailea.

We have stayed in VRBO rentals in Kihei and Kapalua and find that the choice and quality are generally great.

>> Look for a Maui vacation rental on VRBO now!

Keawakapu Beach on Maui at sunset with lava rocks in the foreground
Keawakapu Beach on Maui at sunset with lava rocks in the foreground

More Maui Travel Inspiration

If you are considering a trip to Maui, read some of our other comprehensive guides to craft the ultimate Maui itinerary!

If you are a first-time visitor to Maui, start by reading our article on the best things to do in Maui. From beautiful beaches and lush rainforest to Maui’s volcanic crater, our round-up captures the most iconic Maui experiences and activities.

If you are dreaming of a winter getaway to a tropical paradise, read our guide on why you should visit Maui in winter!

Driving the Road to Hana is one of Maui’s bucket-list experiences. We have a comprehensive guide to the best stops on the Road to Hana, including waterfalls and short hikes on the way.

One of the top stops on the route is Wai’anapanapa State Park, which requires reservations. Read our full guide to Maui’s black sand beach in this popular state park!

Maui boasts one of only two national parks in Hawaii. Read our round-up of the best things to do in Haleakala National Park. We also have the ultimate guide to sunrise at Haleakala.

We also have a guide to the best hikes in Haleakala National Park, and in-depth hiking guides to the two most epic hikes in the park: the Sliding Sands Trail and the Pipiwai Trail.

Speaking of hiking, also be sure to check out our round-up of the best Maui hikes, from easy to challenging. Plus, peruse our complete guides to hiking the popular Kapalua Coastal Trail in northwest Maui, and the Waihee Ridge Trail for astounding views!

We also have a round-up of the best waterfalls in Maui, from the 400-foot Waimoku Falls to Upper Waikani Falls near Hana. Some Maui waterfalls can be seen from viewpoints whereas others require hiking.

Water activities are plentiful in Maui! Check out our epic guide to whale watching in Maui, and our guide to the best Molokini snorkeling tours and the best Turtle Town snorkeling.

If you’d rather snorkel from shore, read our round-up of the best snorkel spots in West Maui.

Every Maui itinerary should have plenty of beach time: there are so many beautiful beaches in Maui that you are spoiled for choice. We have a round-up of the best beaches in South Maui, plus a detailed guide to Wailea Beach in southwest Maui, and one for Maluaka Beach along the Turtle Town stretch of coast.

We also have articles on popular Napili Beach and local favorite Keawakapu Beach. Along the northwest side, Honolua Bay is a famous surfing spot, and Ho’okipa Beach, near Paia, is a windsurfing mecca.

If you are looking to experience a different side of Maui, plan a visit to the Iao Valley State Monument. The lush landscapes and serene ambience will wow you! Also read our guide to Maui’s state parks, which include popular Makena State Park, home to Big Beach and Little Beach.

Spend a day exploring Upcountry Maui. Some of the best things to do in Upcountry Maui include touring farms and gardens. Help milk goats, tour a tea farm, go wine tasting and much more.

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Discover the complete guide to visiting Keawakapu Beach in Maui, Hawaii. This beautiful beach is located on the island's west side and offers swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing and spectacular sunsets! #mauitravel #mauibeaches

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