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All Beaches in Hawaii Are Public Beaches…

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Maui beachfront rental homes are often expensive and can be hard to come by, particularly during the busy seasons. But even those staying back from the coastline can plan their trips for easy beach access. All it takes is some smart planning and prior knowledge about how to get to the best beaches in Maui.

…Though Safety and Conservation Concerns May Limit Access

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In theory, a person could try to reach prime beach locations by simply walking along the coastline. However, the fact that Maui’s beaches are public doesn’t mean they’re all completely open. Rocky cliffs and areas blocked for wildlife or plant conservation mean that lateral access isn’t always as easy as it may seem.

Public Property Can Block Access to Parking or Safe Pathways

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Getting down to the beach can be a challenge too, since private property between roadways and the coast can mean that actually getting to the public coastline is impossible without trespassing. This means that sticking with well-known beaches, of which there are plenty on Maui, is the best bet. Visitors can try East Maui parks like Kahana Beach Park to beat crowds.

Resorts Often Charge for Parking

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Oceanfront resort hotels offer easy beach access, and anyone can use their beaches. However, they often charge steep daily parking fees that affect their guests and outside visitors in equal measure. Visitors who are thinking about renting a car may prefer to rent a condo that allows free parking in the property’s no-fee lot or driveway.

Research the Area Before Booking

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It’s best for visitors to carefully research the area their rental accommodations are in before booking. This is especially true for those who don’t plan to rent a car, since bus access to public beach parks may be difficult to reach or might take a very long time from certain parts of the island.

If Oceanfront Accommodations Aren’t Available, Focus on Public Parks

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Maui visitors who don’t end up booking accommodations with direct beach access should plan to visit public beach parks instead of beaches blocked by resorts whenever possible. For example, Makena State Park has no entry or parking fee, making it a better choice in South Maui than the Wailea resorts. Strategizing like this can make beach access much easier.

Traffic Is a Concern in Some Areas

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Planning a Maui trip focused on beach experiences doesn’t necessarily mean that a car rental is required, but it certainly is helpful. However, those who plan to drive all over the island should think about traffic to optimize where they stay. Lahaina and Kaanapali are two notorious areas for long traffic jams caused by high volumes of cars on the road.

Some Parts of Maui Are Rainier Than Others

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Maui is a relatively small landmass, but its dramatically varied terrain and location in the Pacific means that some parts are more prone to rain than others. Southeastern Maui, particularly Wailea, is typically the driest area that’s least prone to protracted rainfall. When beach time and sun are the goals of the vacation, this is important information to consider.

Smaller Beaches Typically Don’t Have Lifeguards

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Not every beach in Maui has lifeguards on duty, and this might be an important consideration for families with young children or those who don’t know how to swim very well but still want to experience the ocean. Larger beach parks like the Kamaole beaches in Kihei and Makena are good choices for those who feel safer with a lifeguard keeping watch.

West and South Maui Are Ideal for Beginner Surfers

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Learning to surf is a great way to connect with Hawaiian culture and history, but some beaches are better for beginners than others. Surf shops in Kihei, Lahaina, and Kaanapali are likely to give good advice on local spots to hit the waves, and they also often offer surfing lessons for complete novices.