Is Keawakapu Beach Swimmable?

Pristine sands, clear seas, and a tucked away location has made Keawakapu Beach a favorite of visitors to South Maui.

Popular with everyone from snorkelers to sunbathers, Keawakapu Beach remains surprisingly sedate for such an exceptional destination. 

Read this guide to find out why you should visit Keawakapu (and why you should come at sunset)!

Keawakapu Beach on a cloudy day, beach sand, and palm trees.

Where Is Keawakapu Beach?

Nestled between the borders of Kihei and Wailea on South Maui, Keawakapu Beach attracts both locals and tourists while also managing to remain somewhat quiet.

Part of this is thanks to the 0.7 mile long beach having wide sands, giving ample room for visitors to stretch out in semi-secluded comfort.

Despite being a much-loved beach, it’s easy to drive past Keawakapu.

Residential buildings just back from the beach have left it partly hidden, making it a Maui beach you have to look for, rather than stumble across.

Branch on a beach with a mountain in the background.

Can You Snorkel At Keawakapu Beach?

Snorkeling at Keawakapu is good, with the best spots found around the outcroppings that mark the north end of the beach.

The lava rock wall that extends from the beach opens up to boulders and corals, adding some interesting diversity to the area.

You can also find good snorkeling at the south end. The snorkeling isn’t the best on Maui, but worth a look if you’re in the area.

(And check out our guide if you need to rent snorkeling gear.)

As with all Maui snorkel spots, you do have to be aware of the tide and swells. Heavy wind can make snorkeling at Keawakapu unsafe.

The best time to visit is in the morning, when the waves are calmer, improving both safety and visibility.

Is Keawakapu Beach Swimmable?

Swimmers will enjoy a visit to Keawakapu Beach, whether they’re after a little paddle or some more vigorous exercise.

The long and clear shoreline offers a chance for good swimmers to do laps, while sunbathers can enjoy a brief cooling dip when the lack of natural shade gets too much.

There is no lifeguard on duty, so we recommend avoiding the water when the tides are strong.

Entrance sign at Keawakapu Beach.

Water Sports At Keawakapu Beach

There isn’t much surfing at Keawakapu, but the bodyboarding is excellent. Thanks to the rocky outcrops and boulders, the swells hit just right to provide bodyboarders with rolling waves. 

Stand Up Paddleboarding is also popular at Keawakapu, particularly in the quiet mornings. Before the wind can pick up, the calm sea and long shoreline offer plenty of room to explore.

You can often find kayakers at Keawakapu as well. Like the paddleboarders, they take advantage of early calm.

If you don’t have your own equipment, head to the north end of the beach for surf and rental shops.

The Surf Shack Maui is located in the Mana Kai Resort at the top of Keawakapu Beach, and you can rent equipment or inquire about lessons here. 

What About The Keawakapu Beach Sunset?

One thing that many modern Maui visitors now consider a must-have is a sunset selfie.

Maui has a reputation for some of the best sunsets around, thanks to the golden light settling over stunning panoramas.

For those who don’t fancy the trip to the top of Haleakala, the beach is often the best place to nail that golden hour photo.

And Keawakapu Beach has a sunset like no other.

There are a lot of good beaches on Maui for a sunset selfie, but what makes Keawakapu so special is the varied scenery combined with the panoramic views.

Not to mention the light, which hits the destination just right. Plus, with fewer restaurants and hotels in the area, there are fewer people around at sunset.

So, you can nail your sunset photo without the crowd.

The sunset on Maui typically occurs between 6pm and 7pm, so we recommend getting there a little before this. After all, you need time to find the perfect spot for your selfie!

The lava rocks of the north end add some striking balance to the scene, but you need to look south for views out to other islands.

Wide shot of Keawakapu Beach on a cloudy day, people tanning and wading into the water.

Keawakapu Beach Facilities

The facilities at Keawakapu Beach are limited, but there are outdoor showers and portable toilets. These can be found at both the north and south end of the beach.

There are also trash cans, but no picnic benches if you’ve packed a bite to eat or drink. 

The northern end of the beach is home to most of the off-beach facilities, although still in limited numbers.

The north end has the better parking facilities, and a nearby surf shop, plus the Mana Kai Maui Resort.

As it’s also where the best snorkeling is, this means the north end is also the busiest end of the beach.

We recommend making yourself comfortable in the middle of the beach, and moving to the north end when you want to go into the water.

There is no lifeguard on Keawakapu Beach, so always be careful in and around the water. Tides can change fast with the Maui winds.

In fact, this might be part of the reason the beach got its name. Kapu, meaning forbidden, is thought to refer to the way strong winds left areas of the coast unprotected.

Beach with rocks at sunset.

Getting To Keawakapu Beach

Keawakapu Beach can be found at the south end of South Kihei Road. There are three parking lots. The first is at the north end of the beach, in a dirt lot by the Days Inn.

This is the biggest lot and the best place to park. The second lot is at the middle of the beach, where South Kihei Road meets Kilohana Drive.

The lot is set back from the coast, on the far side of the road. The third parking lot is at the south end of the beach. This lot is small but does have showers and a port-a-potty.

A Family Beach With Epic Sunset Views

Sweeping sands and a long coastline has made Keawakapu Beach a beloved destination for many, especially as the slightly secret setting helps keep crowds down.

Visit during the morning to enjoy the snorkeling and water sports, in the day for tide pools and sunbathing, or in the evening for one of Maui’s best sunsets.

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