Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Maui's Beautiful Baldwin Beach

Head a couple miles north of Paia (the windsurfing capitol of the world) on Maui's east coast to find Baldwin Beach Park—where on most afternoons Everything Is Right With The World. Locals spill from the parking area onto the sands, and someone may be playing a slack-key guitar. Surfers and bodyboarders get thrown around in a foamy shore break. At the far end of the sand, mothers and kids roll around in a large reef-protected swimming oval called Baby Beach.

If you feel like a walk, head either direction along the sands for a mile or two. One direction leads back to Paia's beach park, via secluded "State of Mind" Beach, a.k.a., Montana Beach. The other direction heads toward Spreckelville's secluded beaches and then to Kanaha Beach Park, where kiteboarders join windsurfers in a colorful show. Or, just kick back at Baldwin and enjoy the view of the West Maui Mountains.

Windward Maui is not known for its beaches—Maui's west side is a run of beaches from Wailea and Kihei on the "Gold Coast," to Lahaina and Ka'anapali in the north. But these beaches are buffeted by a continuous run of condos and resorts. For the big slice of Hawaiian aloha, take a trip to Baldwin. See Maui Trailblazer, pages 97-104 for more details.