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Exploring: Island Tours > Maui > South Shore
A tour of Maui's south side, is really a beach tour, and oh, those beaches! It may take you a few days to enjoy them all, and you'd better stock up on sunscreen. This is the sunniest area on the island, protected from clouds and rain by Haleakala.
From the golden sands you look out over turquoise waters to the islands of Lana'i, Kaho'olawe, and Molokini and toward the West Maui mountains shrouded in clouds. It's an awesome panorama.
The south side has three distinct areas, Kihei, Wailea, and Makena. Kihei is highly developed with high-rise hotels and condos offering a variety of accommodations near the beach. It's also a real bustling community, with housing developments, shopping centers, restaurants, and parks. Along the six-mile stretch of beach that fronts Kihei Road there are a number of attractive spots for swimming, picnicking, and windsurfing.
Wailea is another world, an upscale resort community that encompasses expensive homes, world-class golf courses, five-star hotels, and some of the best beaches on the island. If you're so inclined, take a tour of some of the hotels themselves for their stunning architecture and elaborately landscaped grounds. The resorts have made the beaches they front fairly accessible to the public, with parking areas, showers, and picnic tables, and since few hotel guests venture beyond their swimming pools, they are relatively uncrowded.
Just past Wailea is an area as yet untouched by developers, the beaches of Makena. This pristine coastline is a favorite of local people as well as adventurous visitors who love to swim, snorkel, bodysurf, or lie in the sun au naturel. Bring your lunch and plenty of water, and be sure not to leave valuables in your car.
Here are some of the best beaches from Kihei south to Makena:
Kama'ole Beaches are three beach parks at the south end of Kihei, all with calm waters, white sand, and lifeguards. There is snorkeling around the reef between the second and third beaches.
Wailea's five crescent beaches cover almost two miles of coastline and offer safe swimming and good snorkeling at the lava outcroppings of the crescents. Look for the signs directing you to beach access.
At Makena there are two beaches, Big Beach which is 100 feet wide and 3000 feet long, and Little Beach reached by walking over a small cinder cone at the right end of Big Beach. The water at both beaches has a particularly zingy quality and is great for swimming, bodysurfing, and snorkeling.
Little Beach has long been a haven for nude sunning and swimming, though many wear suits there as well.
Beyond Makena, you might want to check out Ahihi-Kinau Natural Reserve, a lava outcropping and an underwater preserve great for scuba diving. Further down is La Perouse Bay, also a good snorkeling and diving spot.
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