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Maui is a dream vacation for anyone wanting to experience all that Hawaii has to offer. Many are attracted to the beaches and the relaxed culture of the islands. Hawaii not only offers stunning white sand beaches but has unique colored beaches too. One of the most-searched-for beaches by visitors is Kaihalulu Beach, Maui’s Red Sand Beach.
Kaihalulu Beach is in the small town of Hana. This red sand beach is secluded, and you must take a trail to access it. The contrast between the deep blue waters and red sand of Kaihalulu Beach is beautiful and worth a visit if traveling the Road to Hana. The surrounding cliffs of the beach are part of the Ka’kuiki Head cinder cone, the source of the red iron that colors the beach.
How to Get to Kaihalulu Beach
There should be street parking at the end of Uakea Road, which is a dead-end road. You can also park along the road just outside of the Travasa Hotel. To find the trailhead, walk to the open field at the Hana Community Center and look for the trail on the right-hand side. It is near a private popery sign, which is for the neighboring resort, not the path. You shouldn’t pass onto private property during the hike.
To get to the beach, visitors must embark on a moderate hike that can be dangerous for those who are unprepared. The challenging hike is part of the reason the beach itself is so isolated. Every year, police and firefighters deal with inexperienced hikers and careless tourists getting injured on the trail. The trail is notorious for being steep and slippery, so it’s best to avoid the area after rainfall. Inappropriate shoes on the trail are another common reason for people getting injured. If you want to travel to the beach, you’re going to need to make sure you have a pair of good quality hiking boots or hiking shoes that can withstand mud and water. Also, this may not be the best experience for those who lose their balance easily or young children.
On the trail, there is an old Japanese cemetery. However, the path by the Japanese cemetery isn’t safe. Due to landslides, part of the trail to the beach was erased. The Maui Guidebook says it no longer recommends the path by the Japanese cemetery. It’s highly recommended you turn around and find another trail that goes downhill to avoid the dangers at the graveyard.
There are no facilities on the beach, which makes the hike more challenging. When you hike to the beach, you will need to bring your beach chairs, umbrellas, and snacks. There aren’t any trash cans on the beach either. When you leave, you will need to make the beach as clean, or cleaner, than what it was when you first arrived.
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Surprise! Clothing is Optional at Kaihalulu Beach
Something important to note about this beach is the people you will find there. Because of the secluded location, Kaihalulu Beach has the occasional nudist walk along the shores. It’s an ideal spot for sunbathing, and this hidden piece of paradise is commonly known as an unofficial clothing-optional beach (as is Little Beach in Wailea!). We like to forewarn beachgoers with what they may find because it can be quite a surprise! We remember the first time we unknowingly hiked to Little Beach. All we’ll say is lots of sun and bums.
What to Do at Kaihalulu Beach
The rough waters slam against the rocks on the cliffs here, making it difficult to swim. Kaihalulu actually means “roaring sea” in Hawaiian. Don’t pass the protective lava rocks at the bay area because the current is strong, and you may not make it back to shore. It’s best to stay in the calm bay for wading and snorkeling when the water conditions allow. This beach is also very popular for sunbathing and relaxing while reading a good book.
Kaihalulu Beach is said to be one of the most romantic beaches on the island. For the people that want to spend time with their partners without seeing people in the buff, wake up early and arrive by sunrise.
It’s a tricky journey to Kaihalulu beach, but if you’re confident in your hiking experience, it can be one of the most beautiful sights in all of Maui.
Have you visited a colored beach in Hawaii? Which is your favorite and why? Let us know in the comments!