Kapalua Beach is a fairly small crescent beach at Kapalua Bay, on the north end of West Maui, about ten miles north of Lahaina.
Kapalua means “two borders.” This refers to the fact that this beautiful beach has two long volcanic-rock peninsulas, one on each of its two sides, framing it and blocking some of the larger waves from coming close to shore. These two borders give rise to the more figurative translation of Kapalua as meaning “arms embracing the sea.” In 1991, Conde Nast rated Kapalua Beach as the best beach in the world, and the Travel Channel called it the best beach in America. Of course this was when the background behind the beach was all natural vegetation, before the current condo complex was built adjacent to the beach. But it’s still a great scenic spot.
The Kapalua area is home to the Ritz Carlton hotel, the Montage hotel, the Kapalua Villa condos, and other luxury condo complexes. But all beaches in Hawaii are public, so you don’t have to be staying at any of those places to use Kapalua Beach. Merriman’s is a top-quality fine-dining restaurant that sits atop one of the lava hills alongside Kapalua Bay. There is a pedestrian tunnel under that lava hill, connecting the walkway from Napili Bay to the Kapalua Coastal Trail that runs beside Kapalua Beach.
To get to Kapalua Beach, drive north on the Lower Honoapiilani Road until almost the end. Just past the large Napili Kai condos, there is a public parking lot on the left.
Here’s a link to several other Maui beaches.
See photos and drone video below. Or click for more things to do in Maui.
Kapalua Bay Video
Kapalua Beach Photos
View from Merriman’s restaurant
One of the two bordering lava arms
Looking north from the south end of the beach
Lava arm on the south end
10 Maui Beaches worth seeing
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