Keawakapu Beach

A much loved long sandy beach at the boundary of Kihei and Wailea.

Rating: ★★★★½

In a nutshell: A much loved long sandy beach at the end of South Kihei Road.
Minuses: On very windy days can get sandblasting in the afternoons.
Sound-bite: “Beware the forbidden cove!”

Keawakapu Beach

Keawakapu Beach

.7 mile long sandy beach, runs to the end of Kihei, where the road departs from the shoreline. Good for swimming, laying out, boogie boarding, snorkeling or just lazing in the sun.

The shoreline is fully developed here, including impressive beach houses, hotels, condos and restaurants. Much of the development has been kept a tasteful distance from the beach – keeping the majority distinctly separate; the beach refreshingly non-commercialized.

Keawakapu Beach

Keawakapu Beach, Manakai end

One translation of the name is “forbidden cove.” Hawaiian place names often reveal multiple threads of meaning – one reason this cove might have been kapu may have been to prevent Hawaiians from settling on this section of shoreline; large Kona storms can hit here particularly hard. In fact, this normally idyllic section of shoreline is increasingly exposed and becomes unprotected when a series of storms hit, with the majority of sand vanishing into the ocean and anything too close to the margins of the beach can be destroyed. (Fortunately , over the months that follow the ocean politely returns the borrowed sand as good as new.)

Over the years there have been many attempts to tame nature and protect development; the sea wall along the southern half of the beach is one of them.

Keawakapu Beach

Keawakapu Beach

On the north end there are exceptionally alive tidepools (check them out at night – during a full moon if you have the chance) and good snorkeling around the outcropping. The southern end of this beach also has a small pocket of good snorkeling. Swimming is good and serious swimmers will enjoy doing laps along the entire length of the beach.

The Mana Kai hotel at the north end rents stand up paddle boards, kayaks, beach gear, snorkel gear and bikes.


Keawakapu Beach is a nice long beach with plenty of open space.

An interesting fact is that approximately 400 yards offshore there is an artificial reef made up of 150 car bodies that were dumped here from a barge in 1962. If anyone has an antique car buff/scuba diver in the party, I’d love to see photos of what remains!

Key Info:
Location: End of South Kihei Rd, (From Hwy 31 aka Piilani Hwy, turn off between mi 9.6 & 10.4 )
GPS Coordinates: 20.699399,-156.445934
Facilities: Showers, port-a-potty, no lifeguards, hotel, restaurant, convenience store.
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View Keawakapu Beach in a larger map

  1. Nice beach, but when high tide hits you run out of sand!
    A woman was killed by a tiger shark at this beach while snorkeling in 2022, be aware of your surroundings…

  2. My favorite beach for sunrises, sunsets, swimming and just chilling. Condos and a small hotel on one end; the rest of the beach is uncrowded and quiet. Shady parking across the street, easy access. if I’m in Kihei, I’m at Keawakapu.

  3. Sharon Cadenhead Conway says:

    We stayed at the Wyndam Days Inn Oceanfront Hotel behind Sorento’s Resturant & next to 5 Palms Resort. The short walk to this beach from our upstairs hotel room was awesome. 12/14 – 12/21/2019. Weather was sunny & in 70’s. Warm and the tide pools were underwater, high tide, so must be careful of reefs, no big waves so nice to snorkel in.

  4. Keawakapu Beach is just Perfect. I am on Holiday in Maui and it is one of the best. Unfortunately the Ocean seems to “eat” the beautiful golden Sand here, making it look not pretty wide enough as it is.

  5. Rick Owens says:

    We just returned from a ten day vacation in Maui. We went to Keawakapu Beach almost every day. It is a wonderful beach and we can’t wait to return. Mahalo.

  6. Matt Schwab says:

    Our favorite beach in the world.
    We honeymooned there, and have a time share that we enjoy.

    • Canton Jen says:

      Our favorite beach too! We’ve been all over the world and we come back to this little beach in Maui. The snorkeling is fantastic, the tide pools are amazing and the sunsets make me swoon. The energy is vital and strong and is like a magnet to us!

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