Maui is the second-largest Hawaiian island, coming in behind the island of Hawaii, also known as “The Big Island”. Maui is called “The Valley Isle”, because it was formed by 6 different volcanoes and their valleys. Of all the Hawaiian islands, sunny Maui boasts the most miles of beaches accessible by roads.
The island offers 80 different beaches for visitors and locals to explore. Of these 80 beaches, some are more wheelchair accessible than others. Many of Maui’s beaches have at one point been named “America’s Best Beach”. We’ve provided a guide to wheelchair accessible beaches in Maui, Hawaii to help make your planning easier.
Kaanapali beach is a 3 mile stretch of white sand and crystal water, with a shallow sandy bottom for easy entry into the ocean. Resorts, restaurants, and shops line the shore of this beach. A paved boardwalk stretches the entire 3 miles, allowing visitors to walk or roll the entire stretch of beach. There is no ramp to the beach but some paved pathways to access the sand can be found in different hotels, like the Sheraton or Kaanapali Beach Hotel.
Hanakao’o Beach Park
To the south of Kaanapali beach lies Hanakao’o Beach Park. It’s home to the Lahaina Canoe Club, which hosts various races throughout the year. The 4.8 acre park offers white sand beaches and a lawn with 8 grills and 14 picnic tables. Restrooms are ADA accessible and there is paved parking at the park’s entrance. Hanakao’o is popular with locals, as it boasts a beach similar to that of Kaanapali, without the commercialization. Water conditions vary, but this beach is popular with swimmers, bodyboarders, and bodysurfers and has a lifeguard on duty.
The Kamaole Beaches
Kamaole Beach Park is made up of three beaches, right next to each other on the southwest side of the island. The beaches are known on the island by their nicknames “Kam I”, “Kam II”, and “Kam III”
Kam I is the most wheelchair accessible of the Kamaole beaches, and quite possibly, the most accessible of all the accessible beaches on Maui. The wide sandy beach was used as a place to simulate enemy beach landings during WWII, but now it’s a family beach popular with locals and tourists alike. There are picnic tables and BBQ grills available for visitors to enjoy a full day at the beach. The borders of the beach are marked by rocks heading into the water, but the majority of ocean access is smooth and sandy. There is a lifeguard on duty, and if you’re going to swim, try to get there earlier in the day, the water is generally calmer in the morning and can get choppy in the afternoon depending on the wind.
This beach offers the most accessible infrastructure on the island. Wheelchair accessible bathrooms are available at this beach, as well as an outdoor shower and a drinking fountain. There are four ADA accessible parking spots, a ramp that leads to the beach, and a beach wheelchair available at no cost on a first come, first served basis.
Separated from Kam I by rocks and vegetation, Kam II does not feature as much accessible infrastructure. While there is a ramp that leads from the grassy park to the beach, there isn’t an accessible bathroom or parking. There is a lifeguard on duty and picnic areas, grills, and one outdoor shower that is not wheelchair accessible. It has a small wave break, popular with body surfers.
Kam III is made up of a sandy part of the beach at the north and a rockier beach on the southern end. It is often the most crowded of the three Kamaole Beach Parks, as it has the largest parking lot and a playground. This beach also offers accessible parking and restrooms, and a ramp from the park to the sand. There is a lifeguard on duty and the sloped entrance to the water quickly reaches an overhead depth. It’s good for bodysurfers, but not as much for relaxed swimming or wading. The 10 acre park has 22 picnic tables available and 8 grills, offering more space than the other two Kamaole Beaches.
Like Kaanapali, Wailea is a resort community, with golf courses and hotels lining the coast. It’s located just south of the Kamaole Beach Parks. A paved boardwalk runs alongside the beach and gives visitors access to restaurants and shops along the way. This beach is a great swimming beach – shallow with calm water and small waves – and guests can rent equipment like umbrellas and chairs on the beach. Its restrooms and foot wash stations are wheelchair accessible.
D.T. Fleming Beach Park
Located in Kapalua, DT Fleming Beach Park is named after the man who introduced the pineapple to West Maui. It’s popular among bodyboarders and bodysurfers for its smaller waves that break on the shore.The beach stretches half a mile and offers 12 picnic tables and 5 grills. For those looking to swim, there is a lifeguard on duty. Most of the beach has a shallow sandbar, but the eastern end has a reef. A wheelchair accessible ramp leads to the beach and there are wheelchair accessible restrooms. Showers are available, but they are not wheelchair accessible.
Also on the western side of the island, Launiupoko Beach Park offers picnic tables shaded by palm trees. It’s a popular spot for beginning surfers, with a wide sandy beach on one side and an enclosed cove on the other, for those looking to wade in calm water. There are accessible restrooms as well as shower facilities. If you want to try your hand at surfing, Wheel the World offers adaptive surfing lessons at this beach. Mats can be installed for wheelchair access to the sand. Click here to read more about the adaptive surf and beach day at Launiupoko.
In the resort community of Wailea, visitors can enjoy a day at Polo Beach. While there is no lifeguard on duty, the water can be very calm in the right conditions, and offers great snorkeling. Accessible parking and restrooms are available, as well as picnic tables and BBQs. The beach is sandwiched between two resorts and can get crowded with resort guests and cabañas.
With its sunshine, warmth and beautiful landscapes, Maui is an unbeatable destination for those looking to relax, seeking adventure, or craving a little bit of both. It offers so many incredible beaches, various with accessible infrastructure. We hope this guide to accessible beaches in Maui makes it a little easier to plan your vacation.
If you’re wondering what else Maui has to offer, take a look at accessible tours and activities on the island here. At Wheel the World, we would be delighted to help you plan your next wheelchair accessible adventure to Maui, Hawaii. Contact us here to get started!