Maui News

Kapalua Makes #2 Spot for Best Beach in 2017

May 31, 2017, 12:06 PM HST
* Updated May 31, 12:09 PM
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Maui’s Kapalua Bay Beach in West Maui earned the number 2 spot on Dr. Stephen P Leatherman’s 27th Annual Top 10 Beach List.

Montage Kapalua Bay aerial. Photo Courtesy of Montage Kapalua Bay.

Kapalua Bay was second only behind Siesta Beach in Sarasota, Florida.  Attributes of the Maui location include good conditions for swimming and snorkeling with a crescent-shaped bay that boasts white sand and tropical fish offshore.

The coastal expert and professor at Florida International University, also known as “Dr. Beach” compiles the list each year using fifty criteria including water and sand quality as well as safety and management. He noted that going forward, more emphasis is being placed on environmental management and beach safety. Bonus points are also awarded for prohibition of smoking on beaches.

The only other Hawaiʻi locale to make the list this year was Hapuna Beach State Park on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi.

Montage Kapalua Bay beach front. Photo Courtesy of Montage Kapalua Bay.

Below is a list of the top 10 locations selected for the 2017 list:


1. Siesta Beach, Sarasota, Florida
2. Kapalua Bay Beach, Maui, Hawaiʻi
3. Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, Outer Banks of North Carolina
4. Grayton Beach, State Park, Florida panhandle
5. Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York
6. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
7. Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida
8. Hapuna Beach State Park, Big Island, Hawaiʻi
9. Coronado Beach, San Diego, California
10. Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina


Dr. Leatherman is an internationally known coastal scientist who has published 20 books and hundreds of scientific articles and reports about storm impacts, coastal erosion and ways to improve beach health and safety.

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