If you're lucky enough to be planning a vacation on Maui this summer
, how will you decide where to stay? Close to restaurants, close to shops, or right on the beach? If you're someone who enjoys a long walk on the beach, you might want to consider someplace close to the Kamaole Beach Parks in Kihei. The southernmost of the three Kam beaches (as the locals call them) is right across the street from the Kamaole Sands condominium complexa perfect place to start a beach walk.
Kam I, Kam II, and Kam III, with short headlands between them, offer long walks that are idyllic at any time of dayfrom early in the morning when yours are the first footprints on freshly washed sand, to evening when the sunset colors reflect on the water and wet sand, to night when the moon shines off the water and lights your way.
Starting north from Kamaole Sands on Kam III, you pass below picnic tables at the north end of the beach parka great place to return for picnic dinner and sunset watching. The first headland, between Kam III and Kam II, is low and can be crossed by walking up a short sandy trail. Stay on the grass close to the water's edge until you pass the white gazebo, then follow the short trail back down to the beach.
The best beach walking is always barefoot, of course, and the beaches of Maui are very safe for bare feet. When shoes are called for, the ideal footwear is what locals call "slippers" (but most of us call flip-flops). I usually carry my slippers on Kam III, wear them to cross the headland where there can be thorns buried in the grass, and then leave them on a rock at the start of Kam II.
Sometimes you can bypass the headland between Kam III and Kam II, and just cross at the water's edge. For about half of each month, the tide will be low enough in the early morning for that trip around the headland over lava rocks and sandyou will definitely need slippers. How will you know whether you can walk around on the beach or need to go up onto the headland? If the tide is low enough to let you get easily onto the first lava rock at the north end of Kam III, then it will let you get around the rest of the headland.
Kam II, the middle beach, is longer than Kam III and usually narrower. The sand will often be steep in the winter, tossed up by storms and tides. After a very heavy storm, enough sand may be washed out to sea to leave very little beach at high tide.
At the north end of Kam II, climb up the rock and concrete trail to the grass in front of two ocean-front resorts. Although signs block entrance to the resorts, state law prohibits the closing of beach access anywhere in the islands, and you are legally welcome to walk along the grass at the edge of the water.
This grassy area between Kam II and Kam I is one of the best places on Maui for finding turtles. Stop for a bit and watch close to the rocks at the base of the cliff, and you're likely to see a curious head popping up looking back at you. At the north end of the headland, another trail takes you down to Kam I.
Kam I is twice as long as Kam IIa perfect sandy crescent about half a mile long. At the north end, there are usually some early morning swimmers; at some times of the year there can be a sharp drop-off at high tide.
At a brisk pace, it takes about twenty minutes to walk from Kamaole Sands to the north end of Kam I. If you started early enough, you'll be back at Kamaole Sands, or wherever you're staying, before the sun gets high and hot. If it's later in the day, take your time and go for a swim whenever you want to cool off.
More walking awaits you as you head south from Kamaole Sands. From Kam III there's a trail that mostly follows the water and goes as far as the resorts of Wailea. This walk can take two hours and involves a short stretch of road-walking; "slippers" are definitely required. Walk to Wailea, swim, have lunch there, and walk backa lovely way to spend a day on Maui. My favorite thing about staying at Kamaole Sands is the pleasure of beach walking, right from the front door of my condo.
About the author
The author has lived on Maui and been a regular visitor for more than 30 years. A former tourism industry professional and experienced traveler, she knows what makes or breaks a fantastic vacation. Her Maui condo is available for vacationers, and her website offers a variety of resources for planning your trip to Maui.