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South Maui Region Sights, Tours, & Information

Things to Do & Visitor Tips for South Maui

South Maui is best known for its miles of white sandy beaches, spectacular coastal areas, snorkeling on its reefs, and expansive lava fields like La Perouse Bay.

Sheltered on the leeward side of Haleakala volcano, this side of Maui is quite drier and sunnier than the rest of the island. Today, South Maui includes the coastal communities of Ma'alaea and Kihei and the growing resort communities of Wailea and Makena. There's also a good deal of Wailea real estate and Wailea condos available on this part of Maui.

John Derrick
Published on: 08-19-2020
Published by: John C. Derrick

Kihei & Wailea Top 5 Things to Do

Best Things to See & Do in South Maui

La Perouse Bay

#5 Rated in South Maui

La Perouse is the end of the road, literally, in south Maui. Several areas provide access to the water, and there are trails for exploring.

Here you can walk through the lava and explore the sea estuaries. This is a favorite place for dolphins and local fishermen.  

Make sure to wear sunscreen and be prepared for a lot of wind. It is located at mile marker 7 at the very end of Makena Alanui Road.

Charley Young Beach

#4 Rated in South Maui

Charley Young Beach is a sheltered 3-mile park at the north end of Kamaole I Beach in Kihei.

You can dig your toes into the abundance of soft sand at this beach and enjoy the protection from the wind. There is no lifeguard on duty, but there are portable toilets and showers. Parking can be difficult, but the great swimming and surfing are worth the extra effort. The beach is best in the morning when conditions are at their calmest.

Located at the north end of Kamaole I Beach on South Kihei Road.

Kamaole Beach Park I, II, and III

#3 Rated in South Maui

Kama'ole Park is located in the town of Kihei and is divided into three distinct beach areas.

  • Kama'ole I - The largest and nicest beach of the three with fine white sand and great swimming conditions. This is the magical point where Maui's southern coast starts to really throw out all the stops, so to speak, as the sand here is simply amazing- similar to that found further south in Wailea and Makena.
  • Kama'ole II - This beach is similar to Kamaole I, but it is a tad smaller, at just under a third of a mile long from end to end. Snorkeling is pretty good here at the ends of the beach, while swimmers should enjoy the entire length of its nice sandy bottom. 
  • Kama'ole III -The beach is simply beautiful, but it is quite different from I and II. First, it is much smaller. Second, it has rocky areas along several parts of the beach. Waves crash onto the rocks, sending huge splashes water into the air and making for a nice show. While the beach area may be smaller than the other two beaches here, the grassy area is significantly larger and makes the perfect spot for picnics, kite flying, or simply relaxing.

Palauea 'White Rocks' Beach

#2 Rated in South Maui

Palauea means 'lazy' which is exactly how you'll want to be once you reach this lovely south Maui beach. Located off Makena Road, this medium-sized beach is underused.

The snorkeling and scuba are excellent here. Rock formations on either side of the beach are good snorkeling spots while the south end of the beach with all its rock formations is best for diving.

Palauea Beach is located just south of the Kea Lani Beach Hotel and the Polo Beach Club. Travel along Wailea Alanui Drive and take a right turn at the intersection after the Kea Lani Beach Hotel. Travel the length of this paved access road and turn left down an unimproved dirt and asphalt road. Park along the road. The beach is located about 100 feet from the access road.

Big 'Oneloa / Makena' Beach

#1 Rated in South Maui

Also known as Oneloa Beach (its true Hawaiian name) or Makena Beach*, Big Beach is probably one of the prettiest beaches on Maui, and certainly south Maui. It is nearly 2/3 mile long and over 100 feet wide. The gorgeous sand and pristine waters attract snorkelers, swimmers, and sunbathers.

This beach, like many, closes in the evenings and the gate is locked. Makena Beach is accessible via a short road at mile marker 4 on Makena Alanui Road and another access just past mile marker 4 in South Maui. Big Beach is connected on the right by a small path over the hill and lava to Little Beach, which is a favorite spot for sunbathers.

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