Are Maui Beaches Safe?

Everyone wants to immediately jump in the ocean and go for a swim when visiting Maui. But have you considered if it is safe to swim in the ocean at Maui? The greatest danger at Maui is the ocean. Let’s find out which Maui beaches are safe!

On Maui, several beaches are safe, while other beaches should be enjoyed from afar. Beaches safe for swimming on Maui are Honokahua Bay Beach, Kapalua Bay, Mokulei’a Bay, and Napili Bay Beach. Maui beaches to avoid are Kauai’s Lumahai’i, Makena Big, and Big Island’s Hapuna beach.

Thousands of visitors safely enjoy Maui’s beaches without incident each year. However, many holidaymakers are also injured at Hawaiian beaches. Here are the beaches on Maui that are safe to explore and tips to help enjoy a safe Maui beach holiday. Read on to find out!

Beaches on Maui – Are they Safe?

Hawaii has many beautiful islands and pristine beaches, and some are known to be extremely dangerous for swimming. Maui is typically safe, but some beaches are best enjoyed from afar.

At times the ocean can appear calm and have small gentle waves and, other times, massive waves that crash violently on the shoreline. The ocean waters around the Hawaiian Islands are as magnificent as they are powerful, and weather conditions and sea currents can change without warning.

Maui welcomes around three million tourists each year, and many of those tourists experience nothing more severe than a sunburn at most.

However, crime exists on Maui, and some visitors get injured. The island’s natural environment, with its beautiful beaches, lovely climate, and peaceful atmosphere, lull tourists into a false sense of security, sometimes with heartbreaking results.

Sometimes in Maui, you hear sad news reports about a tourist who drowned, got severely injured, or was a victim of crime. Maui is beautiful, but that should not fool you; it can be a dangerous place if you do not follow safety recommendations.

Be careful when exploring North Shore and East Maui beaches; they are prone to strong ocean currents, rapidly changing weather, and dangerous shore breaks. 

South Maui and West Maui beaches have calmer beach conditions, although they can still be dangerous when the weather deteriorates.

Safe Maui Beaches to Explore

Maui is a favorite holiday destination for many with its pristine beaches and blue ocean waters. Beaches on Maui are safe if you use common sense and follow safety tips and recommendations.

To make you feel even safer, we recommend swimming at Maui beaches that have the following:

  • Beaches with a lifeguard tower.
  • Beaches are marked as safe for swimming and snorkeling.
  • Beaches that are crowded.

Maui has more beaches perfectly safe for swimming than any other Hawaiian island. Here are the best options for safe swimming beaches on Maui.

Honokahua Bay Beach

Honokahua Bay beach is stunning with its scenic views, and pristine beach perfect for surfing and is snorkeling, where you are guaranteed to see lots of turtles, coral, and fish if you swim out further from the beach. Honokahua Bay is huge, and visibility is excellent when exploring away from the beach. This beach is a reserve, and fishing is prohibited.

Honokahua Bay Beach is perfectly safe and is a popular tourist destination for surfing in the winter and swimming in summer.

Kapalua Bay Beach

In 2018 Kapalua Bay beach was certified as America’s Best Beach with its sheltered sanctuary, abundant wildlife, beach activities, and perfect white sand beach. Kapalua Bay beach is perfectly safe for surfing, swimming, scuba diving, and snorkeling.

Kapalua Bay is a quiet white sand beach sheltered from the wind in a protected cove where snorkelers love to view eels and sea turtles while snorkeling. The best time to enjoy this lovely beach is during summertime.

Mokulei’a Bay Beach, aka Slaughterhouse

Mokulei’a Bay is great for swimming, body surfing, and snorkeling during the summertime but can be rough during winter. Enjoy this beach in spring and summer when the waters are calmer.

The sand at Mokulei’a Bay beach is lovely, and underwater, large stones have created natural habitats for sea turtles and reef fishes to view while snorkeling.

However, the ocean can get rough on Mokulei’a Bay beach during wintertime. When the conditions are rough, it’s best to leave the beach to experienced surfers.

Napili Bay Beach

Napili Bay is a famous tourist holiday destination. The golden white sand beach with turquoise ocean water is excellent for snorkeling, swimming, and surfing. The outer reefs protect the coast from high swells, so the beach typically gets gently lapping waves.  

This lovely Maui beach is sheltered by a reef and home to many tropical fish and sea turtles ready to be viewed by swimmers. The waves are great for body surfing, swimming, and snorkeling during summertime. Napili Bay Beach is perfectly safe during summertime, but conditions get rough during wintertime. Unfortunately, there is no lifeguard on duty at Napili Bay’s Beach.

Dangerous Maui Beaches to Avoid

Most beaches on Maui are safe for swimming, but three Maui beaches have bad reputations and should be avoided as they are dangerous. These are:

Big Island’s Hapuna Beach

Big Island’s Hapuna Beach is famous as a dangerous beach with mighty waves that generate a pounding shore break and ocean rip currents that can sweep you away.

Holidaymakers should avoid this beach at all costs. Tourists who swim or surf at this beach have found themselves in trouble, and some even lost their lives.

Tourists are well-advised to stay out of Big Island’s Hapuna Beach because it is considered a dangerous beach.

Even if you see residents enjoying the surf, don’t be tempted to try to swim at this beach. Residents have years of experience in these waters. The shore breaks are lethal and cause significant injuries to many tourists.

This beach has dangerous waves, but it is also famous for sharks. Keep an eye out for all the warning signs that point to shark activity. Best to stay out of this dangerous beach entirely.

Lumahai’i Beach

Lumahai’i Beach is nicknamed Luma-die for a good reason. This is another dangerous Maui beach that visitors should avoid entirely.

Lumahai’i Beach is exposed to the open ocean, which makes the waves powerful and massive and known as one of the most dangerous beaches in Maui for drownings and is not recommended for swimming.

Lumahai’i Beach is open to the ocean, and strong currents and swimming are not recommended due to unexpected ocean currents that can sweep you away.

This Maui beach is best appreciated from afar because of its reputation as a deadly beach. There is an ambulance permanently parked at this beach because of the many injuries at Lumahai’i Beach each year.

Makena Big Beach

Makena Big Beach is nicknamed Breakneck Beach for a good reason. Unfortunately, this beach has earned the reputation as the deadliest beach with most spinal cord injuries than any other beach in Hawaii.

Makena Big Beach has an extremely dangerous shore break, and holidaymakers who swim at this beach are often violently slammed down on the beach.

This kind of crushing injury often requires a visit to the hospital. The waves at Makena Beach are notorious for being huge and rogue waves often knock swimmers down.

We recommend that Makena Big Beach be avoided entirely as it is not safe for most tourists.

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Safety Tips at Maui Beaches

 Here are some general safety tips to remember when visiting Maui.

  • It is a good idea never to turn your back to the sea so you will never be caught off-guard. Rouge waves have knocked people down and pulled them out to sea while they had their backs turned to the sea.
  • Always pay attention to flag warnings and signs posted on the beach. These are helpful information to alert on unsafe conditions.
  • Always use a buddy system. Never snorkel, surf, or swim alone. Always tell someone where you are going in the water to keep an eye on you.
  • Wear protective reef shoes when exploring reefs and tidepools to prevent cuts. Always keep an eye on the ocean when you do.
  • Never walk on coral, and when you swim near coral, be careful because coral is sharp and can cut deeply. And did we mention blood attracts sharks?
  • During and after rains, stay out of the ocean entirely. Sharks often hunt near the mouths of streams and rivers after rain. 

Crime in Maui

Just like the rest of the world, crime is everywhere. However, Maui is not crime-ridden and typically safe. The island does not experience high crime rates. There are despicable people in this world, and Maui has a few too. Most reported criminal cases on Maui are non-violent and are mostly vehicle break-ins and theft.

  • To be safe in Maui, don’t leave valuables in your vehicle at parking areas, hiking trails, beaches, or other public areas where you will be gone for a while.
  • Make sure you lock your hotel room doors and windows when you’re out.
  • Never leave valuables unattended at the beach.
  • Don’t spend time alone in isolated areas; there is always safety in numbers.
  • Stay away from areas where homeless people illegally live on the beach.
  • Just use some common sense, and in most cases, you will be perfectly safe.

5 Important Things to Never Do in Maui

There are plenty of videos circulating online where tourists touch wildlife and trespass, posing to get a picture to post on Instagram. That kind of behavior is frowned upon in Maui. Don’t be that ignorant tourist! Here are a few things to never do while visiting Maui.

  • Never touch the turtles. Green sea turtles are protected and should never be disturbed. That goes for the Leatherback, Loggerhead, Olive Ridley, and Hawksbill turtles as well. Always keep a safe distance from them. It’s not only harmful to the turtles to touch the turtles, but it is also illegal, and you could be fined or even face time in jail.
  • Never touch the Monk Seals or Dolphins. Interacting with the dolphins in the ocean is a great experience, but for their safety, instead, keep your distance from dolphins and monk seals. Visitors Tourists breaking the law by touching and harassing the monk seals has become a big problem lately. The Hawaiian monk seal is an endangered species; consider this before you break the law and end up with a hefty fine.
  • Never touch the coral. Don’t touch the coral or step on the coral. Coral is fragile, and stepping on or touching it can cause irreparable damage. Don’t touch coral, sea life, and lava.
  • Never wear sunscreen that is not reef friendly. Make sure you choose reef-friendly sunscreen. Hawaii banned sunscreen, which is not reef-friendly. Because many visitors still bring their sunscreen instead, choose reef-friendly brands like Coola, Badger, and All-Good.
  • Never ignore beach warning signs. Don’t ignorewarning signs on the beach that warns against strong currents, sharks, sharp coral, or dangerous beaches. Don’t ignore warning signs on hiking trails, either. They are there to keep you informed and safe.


Beaches in Maui are safe if you follow the recommended safety tips. Maui beaches are spectacular, and most of them are safe; however, three beaches are dangerous and should be avoided.

If you pay attention to and follow the warning signs posted on the beaches, you should be perfectly safe. Always choose beaches with a lifeguard on duty and never go swimming alone.

The ocean around Maui is as mighty as magnificent, and ocean currents and weather conditions can change rapidly. Some Maui beaches can be dangerous, particularly during winter, while others are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and surfing during summertime.

Maui is picturesque and tranquil, but you should always be cautious while exploring the island. You should understand that Maui’s natural environment can also be dangerous. Don’t let the beauty fool you; the ocean around Maui should be respected.

Using your common sense is essential when you’re on Maui. Don’t take unnecessary risks with your safety just because this is paradise, and you are in holiday mode.

We hope this article helps you understand the dangers of beaches around Maui but doesn’t deter you from booking a perfect beach holiday on one of Hawaii’s most beautiful beaches.