The beaches on the North Shore of Maui definitely have a different feel to them than those on the South or West.
There is a considerably smaller amount people, for one thing. And while that may be mostly because of the considerably smaller amount (read: zero) of big resorts in the area, and partially because of the fact that the South and West side beaches are the ones that are always in your face via the mass media, it is also partially because the conditions on the North Shore change faster than at the beaches in Kihei or Lahaina. Personally, that's one of the features of "beach" that I enjoy the most.... every time I go it is so obviously different than every other time.
Surrounding the small, eclectic town of Paia, and just 10 - 15 minutes drive from Haiku or Makawao, you'll find Baldwin Beach, Ho'okipa Beach, Paia Bay, Tavares Bay, Kanaha Beach Park, and more.
From family-friendly little coves to world-class surfing and windsurfing or kite-surfing at the likes of Ho'okipa and Kanaha, Maui's North Shore has it all. If you are in the water with world-class pros like Brian Talma you won't fail to notice.... he lights up the whole place wherever he is with his unstoppable positive vibration and wide beautiful grin!
Or do nothing but lollygag in the warm sunshine with a good book... vacate on your vacation! Take a dip, take a stroll on the beach, boogie board, body surf, windsurf....
So - just like the locals do - bring the kids, bring the surfboards, bring the towels, bring the cooler and sunscreen - or better yet - hats and cover-ups (that way the sunscreen won't kill our reefs) and bring your common sense.
Excitement electrifies the atmosphere around Paia when a north swell is on the rise during the winter months. Surfers drop everything else as they take to the water.
A few times during the winter "Jaws goes off"... that's when the big boys go out to play! So if you've got adrenaline to spare, get towed-in to a 50-foot monster wave.
But you don't have to be an extreme-sports enthusiast to enjoy the North Shore.
Early risers (like me) can start their day beachcombing on fresh, unmarked sand and sparkling water.
Baldwin Beach is a great place for a walk.... all the way down to Baby Beach.... pick an easy spot along the way for a leisurely swim. At certain times of the year the limu (sea-weed) is washed ashore bearing its gift of minerals from the deep. Locals pick it up from its big depository at Spreckelsville. I love to take some home and make a breakfast salad with sliced, sweet Maui onions, fresh organic tomatoes from the garden (mine or someone else's from Mana Foods), a little apple-cider vinegar and tamari (soy sauce)! What a way to start a day in this dreamy paradise!
So you see, the North Shore beaches are so much more than just what most people have come to think of as "beach".... just like Maui is so much more than beaches....