Beautiful Wailea beach on the island of Maui, Hawaii

Wailea Beach, Maui, HI: Best Things To Do (2024)

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Wailea Beach, Maui, HI, winner of America’s Best Beach (1999, Dr. Beach), is a stunning, stretch of finely powdered, golden sands along crystal clear, turquoise waters in a ritzy resort neighborhood, a true tropical paradise!

While relaxing on the sandy beach, you can take in amazing views of the neighboring islands of Lana’i, Kaho’olawe and Molokini, and spot spinner dolphins and humpback whales (in winter) breaching the blue ocean waters in the distance.

Wailea Beach is backed by the lush tropical gardens and manicured walkways of fancy, upscale resorts like the Four Seasons Resort, Waldorf Astoria’s Grand Wailea Resort, and Marriott’s Wailea Beach Resort, and their villas and condominiums.

Stunning Wailea Beach with golden sands, clear blue waters, and ritzy resorts
Stunning Wailea Beach with golden sands, clear blue waters, and ritzy resorts

Note, you don’t have to be a guest to enjoy Wailea Beach and all it offers, all beaches in Hawaii are public.

A beautiful walkway, the Wailea Beach Path, runs parallel to the coastline at the back of many South Maui beaches, and provides stunning ocean views, especially at sunset.

What better way to end a romantic sunset stroll along Wailea Beach than a first-class, fine-dining experience with your partner at one of the fancy resort restaurants?

And if that’s not all, there’s always shopping and golf!

The Shops at Wailea is but a short stroll away, and you can check out the latest offerings from Lululemon or Louis Vuitton.

Wailea Golf Club features world-class golf courses with beautiful, panoramic ocean vistas!

Come join us in learning more about Wailea Beach, the best things to do, and planning your visit 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!

Beautiful coastal walkway, Wailea Beach Path, along manicured resort gardens
Beautiful coastal walkway, Wailea Beach Path, along manicured resort gardens

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Wailea Beach Directions

Wailea Beach is located on the southwest side of Maui, in the plush Wailea-Makena neighborhood.

Take Highway 31, Piilani Highway, south, and towards the end of the highway, turn right onto Wailea Ike Drive.

At Wailea Alanui Drive, the main artery through Wailea and Makena, make a left (south). You will cross the Grand Wailea Resort on the right, and the Ho’olei Villas on the left.

Shortly after that, you’ll see signs for Wailea Beach public access and parking on your right.

If you cross Four Seasons Resort on your right, you’ve missed your turn and you’ve gone too far, turn back.

Wailea Beach with beach, resorts, shops and walkway
Wailea Beach Park with beach, resorts, shops and walkway

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

Wailea Beach Parking

Wailea Beach parking is off the Wailea Beach access road.

What I love is the free public parking for Wailea Beach – two large parking lots, the larger one is the first you’ll hit.

The times we’ve driven to Wailea Beach, we’ve had no issues finding a parking spot, but note that there was some parking lot construction scheduled for late 2023 and early 2024.

Wailea Beach Map

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

Wailea Beach Access

You have a bit of a walk from the Wailea Beach parking lots to the beach, along sidewalks bordering the Four Seasons Resort and the Grand Wailea Resort.

Access path to Wailea Beach, Maui, HI
Access path to Wailea Beach, Maui, HI

You will cross the Wailea Beach Path, or you can walk along the path to the beach access point you want.

Wailea Beach Path, a walkway along the beach connecting different resorts
Wailea Beach Path, a walkway along the beach connecting different resorts

Wailea Beach Reservations

Wailea Beach reservations or permits are not required, and the beach is open to the public.

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

Wailea Beach Amenities / Facilities

Location: Wailea, Southwest shore of Maui
Lifeguard: No
Beach Amenities: Restrooms, showers, picnic tables, grass areas, walkway
Food Nearby: Restaurants at the nearby resorts and in the town of Wailea
Parking: Two free public parking lots
Directions: Highway 31 south, right on Wailea Ike Dr, left on Wailea Alanui Dr, right on Wailea Beach access road

Wailea Beach is excellent for families with small kids, with well-maintained facilities like clean restrooms and showers, and resorts nearby for food and rentals.

Not much shade on Wailea Beach, rent beach chairs or cabanas from resort beach valets
Not much shade on Wailea Beach, rent beach chairs or cabanas from resort beach valets

Unfortunately, there are no lifeguards on duty at Wailea Beach, so if you plan to enter the water, do so at your own risk.

Best Things to Do at Wailea Beach, Maui, HI

Situated on the sunny, leeward side of Maui, Wailea Beach is an excellent, family friendly beach offering something for everyone!

The calm, clear blue Pacific Ocean waters are perfect for a host of water activities, and the golden brown sands are great for relaxing on the beach!

Wailea Beach, a beautiful, family friendly beach with grassy areas, finely powdered sand, and calm blue waters
Wailea Beach, a beautiful, family friendly beach with grassy areas, finely powdered sand, and calm blue waters

Apart from the beach and water activities, you can enjoy a leisurely walk along the coast, a round of golf at one of the many golf courses nearby, sip cocktails from a beachside resort bar, or check out the shops a few minutes away.

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

1. Wailea Beach Snorkeling

With lava rock outcroppings at the ends of the beach and underwater coral reefs along the beach, snorkeling at Wailea Beach is great to spot all kinds of colorful, tropical fish, and even the occasional Hawaiian green sea turtle!

Wailea Beach snorkeling in coral reefs along the beach
Wailea Beach snorkeling in coral reefs along the beach

We usually snorkeled in the morning, preferring the calmer waters when the underwater visibility is excellent!

We saw loads of yellow tangs, convict tangs, reef triggerfish (including the state fish, Humuhumunukunukuapua’a), butterflyfish and goatfish.

To recognize and identify these common and beautiful Hawaiian fish, check out our Hawaiian fish snorkeling guide!

2. Stroll Along Wailea Beach Path

What I love about Wailea Beach is the beautiful walkway that extends all along the beach, connecting the different resorts.

You get panoramic ocean views from the walkway, and you can often see spinner dolphins and humpback whales (in winter).

Wailea Beach Path, hugging Wailea Beach and the coastline, perfect for an early morning jog or late evening stroll
Wailea Beach Path, hugging Wailea Beach and the coastline, perfect for an early morning jog or late evening stroll

Lined by manicured resort gardens and providing gorgeous views of the ocean, the surrounding islands, and the beach, the Wailea Beach Path was my early morning jogging path, something that I looked forward to every day!

Sunsets from the Wailea Beach Path are also spectacular, and we saw many honeymooning couples taking in the colors while leisurely strolling, one of the most romantic things to do on Wailea Beach, and all of Maui!

Wailea Beach sunset from Wailea Beach path, late evening
Wailea Beach sunset from Wailea Beach path, late evening

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

3. Wailea Beach Swimming

The waters on Wailea Beach, especially in the mornings, are perfect for a relaxing swim or a refreshing dip!

The waters are relatively shallow near the shore, and we saw younger kids with flotation devices enjoying the water under their parents’ watchful eyes.

Calm waters at Wailea Beach, perfect for swimming or wading in the waters
Calm waters at Wailea Beach, perfect for swimming or wading in the waters

The crystal clear, blue ocean waters are so inviting, we saw almost everyone enter the water to cool off or splash around.

Wailea Beach, a family friendly beach with calm waters and many activities
Wailea Beach, a family friendly beach with calm waters and many activities

As with any beach on Maui, you should not venture too far from shore, there can be strong currents.

In winter, the water can be rougher with south swells, so be careful.

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

4. Sunbathe or Relax with a Book on the Wailea Beach, Maui

With a relatively long expanse of sandy beach, finding a secluded spot for some sunbathing or relaxing with a book is not difficult.

The main beach fronting the resorts tends to be crowded and busy.

We would usually head towards the ends of the beach, near the rocky outcroppings, usually further than most others would walk, and find the perfect spot for some quiet rest.

Secluded spots on Wailea Beach for sunbathing or relaxing with a book
Secluded spots on Wailea Beach for sunbathing or relaxing with a book

Watching the soothing, rhythmic waves crash repeatedly on the lava rocks can be quite hypnotic, and definitely relaxing!

5. Stay Back for Spectacular Sunset Views from Wailea Beach, HI

While tropical sunsets on Maui can be legendary, some of the best sunset views we’ve seen were from Wailea Beach!

The evening skies light up with spectacular colors, as the glowing orb sinks gently under the Pacific Ocean waters.

Colorful sunset views from Wailea Beach, Maui, HI
Colorful sunset views from Wailea Beach, Maui, HI

Watching these breathtaking Wailea Beach sunsets with your partner is one of the most romantic things to do on Maui!

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

6. Te Au Moana Luau at the Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott, Maui

With so many resorts in the neighborhood along Wailea Beach, can a luau be far away?

One of the best luaus on Maui is the Te Au Moana Luau at the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort, with a picturesque beachside stage for the performers!

Pair of fire dancers spinning lit batons at night after a luau
Pair of fire dancers spinning lit batons at night after a luau

We’ve been to luaus on all the islands, but this Wailea Beach Marriott Luau was special, one of the best we’ve been to, and you could clearly see the performers and troupe loved what they were doing!

The food was amazing and buffet-style, and there was an open bar, so we could sample many exotic dishes and drinks.

If you haven’t experienced a luau yet, this is the one to book!

>>> Check pricing and availability for the Te Au Moana Luau at the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort now!

7. Surf and Boogie Board Wailea Beach

While mornings are usually calm waters on Wailea Beach, the swells tend to pick up towards afternoon, and you get some fun-sized waves for surfing and boogie boarding!

Wailea Beach waves are right-sized for families, perfect for beginning surfers and kids’ boogie boarding. The waves tend to be larger in winter, great for the more adventurous, thrill-seeking teenagers!

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

If you’re a professional surfer, don’t expect the the kind of towering waves you’ll find on the Banzai Pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu!

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

8. Learn to Scuba Dive near Wailea Beach, Maui

One of the advantages of being in the resort area is the opportunity for some of the more advanced water activities on Wailea Beach and nearby!

Scuba diving is a perfect example, with Maui Undersea Adventures offering courses and gear, right from their dive shop in the Wailea Beach Four Seasons Resort.

Scuba divers exploring coral reefs near Wailea Beach, Maui, HI
Scuba divers exploring coral reefs near Wailea Beach, Maui, HI

Our teenage kids took advantage of their lessons and clinics, and attained their scuba-diving certification here, and just loved the experience.

Now, many of our vacations are aligned with world-famous scuba diving locations, they just adore the dive experiences.

Apart from scuba diving, Maui Undersea Adventures also offers undersea scooters, a thrilling upgrade to basic snorkeling, and a must-do activity for the adventure tourist, if you haven’t tried it before.

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

9. Kayak or Canoe or Standup Paddleboard at Wailea Beach

With the close proximity of resorts, many rental shops in the neighborhood have handy beach rentals for kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards, and you don’t have to rent them in the city and lug them all the way to the beach.

The Pacific Ocean waters are calm, especially in the summer and in the mornings, and great if you want to take a relaxing trip along the beautiful Maui southwest coast.

Outrigger canoes on Wailea Beach, Maui, HI
Outrigger canoes on Wailea Beach, Maui, HI

Not only do you get your workout, you get an entirely new perspective of the island from the ocean!

Outrigger canoes are also available, and give you a chance to experience the ocean as the early Polynesians did, and make for great photos!

Standup paddleboarding along Wailea Beach coast, in serene, blue Pacific Ocean waters
Standup paddleboarding along Wailea Beach coast, in serene, blue Pacific Ocean waters

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

10. Explore the Resorts and Fine Dining at Wailea Beach, Maui, HI

Even if you’re not staying in the resorts on Wailea Beach, you are welcome to partake of many of their indulgences!

We would hang out at the beachside bars while our teenage kids were busy with their activities, enjoying cocktails and snacks.

Our favorite hangout used to be the Wailea Surf Haus, just a few steps from the beach, that served light snacks and tropical drinks.

Palm tree walkway from Grand Wailea Resort to Wailea Beach
Palm tree walkway from Grand Wailea Resort to Wailea Beach

The adults snuck out for a fine-dining meal at Four Season’s Spago (Forbes Four Star and AAA Four Diamond restaurant, Wolfgang Puck master chef) that served Hawaiian and Californian fusion food.

All of us loved the food and the ambiance, with panoramic ocean views!

Our friends who had visited earlier tried the Italian restaurant, Ferraro’s, at Four Seasons and liked that too!

Fine dining while at Wailea Beach is a must, with so many excellent choices, but make sure you reserve tables early!

Tropical courtyard in Grand Wailea Resort, Wailea Beach, HI
Tropical courtyard in Grand Wailea Resort, Wailea Beach, HI

11. Golf while at Wailea Beach, Maui

If you’re an avid golfer, make sure you sneak away for a few rounds while the rest of the family is busy with water activities at Wailea Beach.

Wailea Beach is a golfer’s paradise, with spectacular, ocean-view, lushly landscaped courses, lined with swaying palm trees, regularly in the top 100 US golf courses!

Scenic golf courses along Wailea Beach, Maui, HI
Scenic golf courses along Wailea Beach, Maui, HI

Wailea Golf Club offers three award-winning courses: Wailea BlueWailea Gold and Wailea Emerald, and a golf academy, where you can polish up your golfing technique with clinics and lessons.

>> 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?).

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

Tips for Your Visit to Wailea Beach, Maui, HI

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

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

Mosquitos and bugs are common, especially at dawn and dusk. Use mosquito repellent.

Dusk at Wailea Beach, look out for mosquitos
Dusk at Wailea Beach, look out for mosquitos

The prices at the resorts will typically be high for rentals and snacks. Bring your own gear, snacks and drinks to save costs.

Resorts cater to their guests first, so if you are planning to rent or avail of their services and are not staying there, call in to make reservations or check availability.

Beach chairs and cabanas belong to the resorts, so contact the beach resort valet if you want to rent them.

With so many resorts nearby, during high season, the beach will be crowded: great if you are a people watcher and enjoy socializing with other tourists!

If you want a more secluded experience, consider Maluaka Beach a few miles further south, well away from the resort crowd.

>> 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.
  • Check advisories regarding water quality at various beaches here.

Also check out the safety guide published by Maui County.

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

The 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!

Spectacular Wailea Beach sunset, Maui, HI
Spectacular Wailea Beach sunset, Maui, HI

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!

If you are planning a brief first visit to Maui, here’s our 3-day Maui itinerary to help you flesh out your own trip! And if you are considering a couples getaway to Maui, read about the top romantic things to do in Maui!

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 the much-visited Kaanapali Beach, the 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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Everything you need to know to visit beautiful Wailea Beach in southwest Maui, Hawaii.

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