6 Best Sunset Beaches on Maui

Kapalua Bay Beach during a glowing sunset that illuminates the surrounding clouds and on the calm ocean water

Maui’s west coast is 41,2 miles long. Suffice to say, there are plenty of beautiful sunsets spots along this route. However, some are more photogenic and romantic than others. Whether you are looking for a secluded spot to relax with your loved one, or a busier beach to people-watch and go for dinner afterwards, Maui’s beaches got you covered. These were our 6 favorite beaches that we visited for sunset on our 2-week holiday on Maui:

1. Kapalua Bay Beach

Kapalua Bay Beach is situated on the rugged northwest coast of Maui. It is a popular place for wedding and family photoshoots, and it’s obvious why! The beach has a stunning sunset view with volcanic rock outcroppings in the background! The plush white sand adds a dramatic slash to the incredibly blue coastline. During the winter, you may see humpback whales breaching on the horizon!

The beach has easy access. However, the parking lot is small and can be a challenge. It gets crowded, especially before sunset. Many people choose to park their vehicles along the street. However, if you don’t mind paying a bit, a tennis club shop across the parking lot allows you to park in their lot for a $10 fee. It is safer and more convenient.

The beach offers an incredible opportunity for swimming and snorkeling. The water is clear and full of colorful reefs. You may encounter some sea turtles when swimming during sunset. If you’re not into swimming, you can visit Merriman’s Kapalua’s restaurant nearby. This family-friendly restaurant offers a top-notch dine-in experience, with live music and gorgeous sunset views.

Kapalua Bay Beach features:

  • Great for families with kids
  • Restaurant nearby with live music
  • Hiking trails nearby
  • Stargazing
  • Watching whales and turtles
  • Excellent swimming and snorkeling
  • Challenging parking spot

List of restaurants to go for dinner nearby:

  • Merriman’s Kapalua
  • Sea House Restaurant
  • Cane & Canoe

2. Makena Cove Secret Beach

Makena Cove is a small, secluded beach on Makena Road just past the Big Beach entrance. It was a secret, local beach that is now on tourists’ radar as a wedding photoshoot spot and venue. The lava rocks along the shoreline and the palm trees give an idyllic tropical setting. The sunset on this beach is hands down the most stunning sunset on the island. The fantastic view of Kahoolawe islands, the gorgeous reef outcroppings, the tie-dye sky, and the azure waves make for a spectacular photo!

It is not the ideal beach to swim on or snorkel. The currents can be dangerous, and there are rip tides on the beach. However, it is an excellent beach to lay out and relax while observing the tide splash on the lava rocks! Make sure to bring chairs, as the beach is full of rocks.

Parking is limited. Come early to avoid crowds during sunset. If you don’t mind walking, we recommend, you park half a mile away from the big Makena beach parking lot. It’s around a 10 minutes walk. Try Hawaiian delicacies in the restaurants along Makena Road!

Makena Cove Beach features:

  • Popular photography and wedding venues
  • Less than ideal for swimming
  • Unpredictable rip tides
  • Limited parking
  • Limited seating spots (bring a camping chair!)
  • Small, easy access from the main road

List of restaurants to go for dinner nearby:

  • Jazzy’s Kitchen Mexican Foodtruck
  • Jawz Taco Truck

3. Keawakapu Beach

Keawakapu Beach stretches along Maui’s western shore between Kihei and Wailea. Despite being located between luxurious resorts, the beach is surprisingly quiet and secluded. Keawakapu means ‘forbidden cove,’ which sounds like an excellent sunset spot, if you ask me! The ocean is illuminated in reddish orange hues, accompanied by the sound of the waves crashing gently on the shore. In addition, the beach offers romantic vibes for couples to enjoy!

The water is calm, making it perfect for swimming. No lifeguards are on duty, so watch for the occasional rough waves. There’s a surf shop that rents water-sport equipment, such as snorkel sets, paddleboards, surfboards, canoes, etc. Here’s a date idea: Rent a 2-seat canoe and paddle towards the sunset! Make sure you stay after sunset to explore the tide pools! They are exceptionally lively, especially after the sun sets during a full moon.

The beach has many parking and entry points that you cannot miss. In addition, many resorts and cottages nearby have direct access to the beach, offering food and beverages.

Keawakapu Beach features:

  • Great for couples and families
  • Good swimming conditions
  • Kid-friendly tide pools
  • Many resorts, cottages, and restaurants nearby
  • No lifeguards on duty
  • Easy parking and entry points

List of resorts with restaurants to go for dinner nearby:

  • Mana Kai Maui Resorts
  • Kihei Surfside Resorts
  • Days Inn by Wyndham Maui Oceanfront

4. Hanakao’o Beach Park

Hanakao’o Beach is more of a local spot than a touristy site on Honoapiilani Highway. The beach offers rocky areas that create some tide pools for kids to play in and extended sandy areas to sunbathe and have a picnic. It is an excellent beach for swimming, snorkeling, canoeing, and watching the sunset! 

The beach has plenty of parking spaces and easy access from the main road. Hanakao’o Beach is well-connected to the adjacent beach, Kaanapali Beach. You can enjoy a long walk or jog along the coast. There’s an old cemetery right next to the beach that’s also worth checking out. 

Hanakao’o Beach features:

  • Kid-friendly beach
  • Popular among locals
  • Good swimming and snorkeling
  • Has sandy and rocky area
  • Lifeguards on duty
  • Easy parking and entry points
  • Well-connected to Kaanapali Beach
  • Popular with kayakers

List of restaurants to go for dinner nearby:

  • Drums of the Pacific Lu’au
  • Son’z Steakhouse
  • Japengo
  • Umalu
  • Pau Huaka’i
  • Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice Dessert Shop

5. Wailea Beach

Rated as one of the best beaches in the world, Wailea Beach offers a mixture of natural bliss and a modern-day luxury setting! It is a popular tourist destination that is often crowded, especially towards sunset. Moreover, there’s a lush grassy area that is perfect for a sunset picnic, relaxation, or a glowing selfie! The water is relatively calm, making it ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and watching a sunset, as the color reflects off the water’s surface! In addition, you may see some whales breaching on the horizon.

The entrance is easy to access. The beach has a gorgeous beachside path well-connected to some shopping outlets, resorts, bars, and restaurants! Besides swimming and water-sport equipment, the beach offers many chairs and umbrellas to rent.

Wailea Beach features:

  • Popular tourist destination
  • Upscale venues
  • Perfect swimming and snorkeling condition
  • Ideal for paddle boarding and boogie boarding
  • Surrounded by luxurious resorts and hotels
  • Many chairs and umbrellas to rent
  • Easy parking and entrance
  • A well-connected path toward food and shopping area

List of restaurants to go for dinner nearby:

  • Humuhumunukunukuapua’a
  • Ferraro’s Bar e Ristorante
  • Spago
  • Bistro Molokini
  • Whale’s Tale
  • Botero Lounge
  • Loulu

6. Po’olenalena Beach

Po’olenalena Beach is a stunning beach located on the south-end of the Kihei shore, adjacent to the more popular Big Beach. This beach is less crowded than any other beaches; however, it is still packed with wedding and hobby photographers! The reflection of the reddish orange sky while the sun goes down and the pristine waters make for a picturesque sunset. 

The rock formations create some tide pools. You should only swim and snorkel near the rocks during calmer days. Many people bodyboard when the surf is high. The beach has many shaded areas, great for picnic and taking a stroll. The north-end side of the beach is clothing-optional. Make sure to stay out of the area if nudity isn’t your thing or you bring kids with you!

The beach has easy access. There are many parking lots along Makena Alanui Road that you can go to. There are also some resorts nearby to stay in and restaurants to try out!

Po’olenalena Beach features:

  • Partially clothing-optional
  • Can be packed with wedding photographers
  • Has some tide pools
  • Great for swimming and snorkeling (Watch out for the surf!)
  • Has many shaded areas
  • Easy parking and entrance

List of resorts or restaurants to go nearby:

  • Makena Surf Resorts
  • Gannon’s
  • Ama Bar and Grill
  • Ko Restaurant
  • Mulligans on The Blue

Tips for finding more stunning sunset spots on Maui

  • You can find more smaller coves, beaches and hills that are great for sunsets, if you drive from Makena Beach to Kapalua. Simply drive off the beaten path onto smaller roads that point towards the shore.
  • Use SunCalc. This interactive map helps you pinpoint potentially great locations and also tells you the time of sunsets at specific dates and locations.

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