Tucked around the corner of resort town Ka’anapali, Napili Bay is a world-class beach with a charming atmosphere. Snorkelers and swimmers have made Napili Bay home, and the spectacular scenery makes for a romantic backdrop.
Take a look at this guide to find out everything you need to know about Napili Beach, Maui.
Where Is Napili Bay In Maui?
Up the coast from resort town Ka’anapali is the quaint and charming town of Napili. Lacking the high-rise developments and fabulous resorts of the bigger towns, Napili can be overlooked by visitors. But hidden among the quiet neighborhood is one of Maui’s best beaches.
The sloping sands of Napili Bay Beach roll into sparkling clear waters, sheltered by the outer reefs and curving coast. Known for its swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing, Napili Bay is a much loved spot for those lucky enough to discover it.
Getting To Napili Bay
Napili Bay is along Lower Honoapi’ilani Road, past mile marker 29 on the Honoapi’ilani Highway. Entrance to Napili Bay can be difficult to spot among the condos and mid-rise hotels, but there are a few different access points.
Parking is tricky at Napili Bay, and it’s best to get there early. Limited street parking can be found on Lower Honoapi’ilani Road. People do come and go frequently, so don’t give up on a space too quickly.
You can often spot the beach by the amount of cars parked in the smallest possible corners.
Otherwise, head for the parking lot between Napili Bay and Kapalua. It’s a short walk away from the beach, but can be easier than trying to find street parking.
Facilities At Napili Bay
Facilities at Napili Bay are limited. There are a few public showers, but no toilets. The nearest restrooms are either in the resorts, or in the nearby restaurants. There’s no lifeguard on duty.
Around the resorts and hotels there are a few shops and places to grab a bite to eat. Five minutes drive from the beach is Napili Plaza, a mid-size shopping center with places to eat and shop.
Can You Swim In Napili Bay?
Napili Bay is a fantastic place to swim, with rippling waves and sparkling turquoise waters. There are also some tide pools in the rocky area marking the beach boundaries. Children find these fun to explore and splash about it.
Swimmers can expect to find clear waters and the gentle lap of small waves. In the shallows, keiki tend to be safe to play among the ripples. Watch out for a fairly steep drop off, but the crystal water makes it easy to spot the depth.
Sometimes the swells do come in fast, and the swimming conditions get significantly worse.
Only stronger swimmers should try the water in these situations, especially as there is no lifeguard. But without the big waves, swimmers don’t typically have to watch out for surfers and boogie boarders.
Located to the north of the island, Napili Bay can catch the rain showers here. There’s a few inches difference every year in rainfall between Napili and Ka’anapali, but most of it hits overnight and early morning.
Is Napili Bay Good For Snorkeling?
Snorkeling at Napili Bay is usually pretty good, although when surf picks up, visibility is ruined. There’s a reef set a little way out that tends to protect the beach from the larger swells, and also makes for good snorkeling.
Sea turtles and tropical fish can both be spotted at Napili Bay when the visibility is good. Visit several days in a row, and you might be lucky enough to see the same turtles returning! With fewer developments in the area, the water quality around Napili Bay is also impressive.
Napili Bay may lack some of the developments of the larger town, but there are still places for snorkelers looking to get started. Snorkel Bob’s has a location behind the Napili Village hotel.
Can You Surf At Napili Bay?
Every so often, the currents will hit Napili Bay straight on. This produces larger waves, which ruins visibility for snorkelers and makes swimming difficult. Bodyboarders should find these conditions good, if not ideal.
Surfers won’t find much on offer at Napili Bay (other than a good place to snorkel and bathe). Carry on further up the coast instead, and head to Slaughterhouse Beach and Punalau Beach. The winter swells here are much better.
Napili Bay is well suited for a different type of watersport—Stand Up Paddleboarding. SUP is popular on this beach, where the gentle currents help you get to grip with the board.
Is Napili Bay A Good Place To Stay?
Napili Bay has a low-key atmosphere, especially when compared with the nearby Ka’anapali. Low-rise condos, fewer restaurants, and an overall feeling of calm mark a stay at Napili Bay. It’s popular with families and couples looking for a chilled out vacation.
Napili Bay is also a fairly residential town, so you can expect to see more locals hang-out spots than you might at Ka’anapali.
If you’re looking for a place with old-fashioned Hawaii charm, Napili Bay is perfect. Without the high-rise developments, the view is unobstructed, and it can feel like you’ve taken a trip back in time.
Where To Stay At Napili Bay?
It may lack the massive resorts of Ka’anapali and Wailea, but Napili still has a good range of accommodation choices. Families visiting Maui should definitely check out the Napili Kai Beach Resort. Napili Shores by Outrigger, Napili Sunset Beach Resort, and The Mauian Hotel are just a few other options in the area.
If you’re looking for something with a touch more luxury, consider heading up the road to Kapalua. The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua is one of the classiest resorts on Maui.
Charm And Old-Fashioned Hawaii
Napili Bay is a beach with personality, as well as calm waves for swimming and snorkeling. It can get busy, but don’t let that put you off.
It’s worth checking out Napili Bay for a chance to get away from the buzz and bustle of the larger resort towns.