One of Maui's best family beaches is also one of its best kept secrets. It's a true gem that few families visiting the island get to see.
But what makes also known as Pu'unoa Beach so special?
Is it the coral reef that pops out of the ocean at low tide? Is it the protected waters, calm as a kiddy pool? Or could it be the missing crowds that usually stick to the resort beaches?
I'd say it's the people you share it with.
True Love for a Beach
I’ve lived on Maui my entire life, so you’re going to think I’m crazy when I say that I didn’t actually like going to the beach as a kid. I know what you’re thinking. “You’re an island girl who didn’t like the beach? Are you kidding?”
Photo: Jojohead via Flickr
I only truly started to appreciate Maui’s beaches when I moved away. Now that I’m a parent, I've made sure to share my love for Hawaii’s spectacular beauty with my son. He learned to swim at 3 years old and loves any and all water activities, so we’re on the right track. The beach is one of his best friends – along with his dinosaur toys, shark figurines, and soccer ball. I’m happy to take him to the beach because it’s a free and fun way to spend time together as a family.
As beaches in Maui go, Baby Beach is one of our favorites. And a part of me doesn’t want to share its location and keep it exclusive. It’s that nice. But love is always better shared, so here goes nothing.
Time to reveal the secret.
How to Get to Baby Beach
If you’re looking for the entrance and you blink, you might miss it. Baby Beach is tucked away behind a residential neighborhood along Front Street in Lahaina.
It's on the corner of Front Street and Kai Pali Place. If you can’t find street parking on Kai Pali, there’s plenty of parking across the street on Kenui St. My recommendation is to park on the street side of Kenui St. It’s tempting to park in the dirt parking area because of the wide open space, but try to resist. I can speak from experience. We parked in the red dirt once, and the clean up after swimming was a mess. Every time we tried to wash our feet before climbing into the car, red dirt would fly everywhere… and red mud was worse. It’s a rookie mistake you want to avoid.
Photo: Tracy Poouahi
Since there are no bathrooms or lifeguards, Baby Beach is best for when you want to take a dip for a couple of hours to cool off from the heat. The water is extremely calm due to the surrounding reefs, so it’s perfect for young children and babies (hence, the name).
The Perfect Beach Day
One Sunday, my son and I felt like going to the beach, so we decided to go with a few friends. We swam, made sand castles, and sunbathed. Of course, it helped that since it’s in a secluded area, we had a nice stretch of sand to ourselves. He’s not the strongest swimmer, so it’s nice to go to a beach that is shallow. My son loves to wade around in the whitewash. We spent an entire hour swimming and getting lightly tossed around by the waves. He also made sand animals with his aunty.
When I was a kid, my mom and I would walk the entire stretch of beach and look for seashells. Times have changed, and it’s rare to find large shells on the beach now.
Some days, if you go early in the morning during low-tide, the reef pops out of the water. You can walk along the beach (do NOT walk on the actual reef) and see some really cool ocean animals. We didn’t make it early enough this time, but I have, at times, seen sea urchins, fishes, and the occasional eel. I’ve also seen fishermen going out and catching octopi when it’s low tide. Just make sure to be safe and never go out alone – go with someone who knows what they’re doing.
My son is really excited because we bought him a snorkel set the other day. He’s tested it in the pool and is now ready to try it out at Baby Beach. Even as you stand on the shoreline, you can see tiny fish swim by, so I’m sure he’ll be able to see neat things in the water there. I remember I once stepped on something long and spongy while swimming there, and when I pulled it out of the water, I realized I had stepped on a sea cucumber. It’s so neat to be able to see these types of things in the wild, and I’ve seen lots of cool things at the beach there.
After going to the beach that day, my friends and I parted ways, and my son and I went on a lunch date. If I had the opportunity to choose, I may have selected the food court at the , , or Genki Sushi – all are close by and fairly priced. However, I let my son choose, and he was very excited for his cheeseburger and toy – Yep, fast food. (I’m parent of the year, right?)
It’s okay, because what made this the perfect beach day was spending time with this cutie:
Photo: Tracy Poouahi
Photo: Mana Kai Resort