Maui Fails To Make List Of Top 100 Beaches

Ever since 1991 when the legendary “Dr. Beach” started ranking the best beaches in America, the island of Maui has had four different beaches take home the coveted title.

What’s more, noted early travel scribes such as Mark Twain and James Michener referred to Hamoa Bay on the island’s east shore (which is pictured here) as the one the nicest beaches of anywhere in the world.

In a new article by CNN which boldly ranks the top 100 beaches in the world, however, there isn’t a single beach from the island of Maui to be found anywhere on the list. The state of Hawaii makes an appearance on the list twice (with the black sand beach at Punalu’u on the Big Island of Hawaii and Hanalei Bay on the island of Kauai taking home numbers 70 and 27, respectively), but perennial favorites such as Hamoa, Ka’anapali, Wailea, Napili, Fleming, and Kapalua have been scrapped from the list.

In their place, selections of beaches from Lampedua (Rabbit Beach, #2) to Little Corn (#53) populate the international list, but there is no mention of the island which has been voted by Conde Naste readers as the “best island in the world” an astonishing 19 years in a row. Places with beaches making the list also include everywhere from Malawi to Oregon and Northern Ireland to Denmark, but yet again, no Maui.

I’ve personally visited 22 out of the 100, and while are definitely some worthy selections, I question the decision to omit a stalwart in lieu of an international novelty.

What do you think? Should Maui have a selection among the world’s top 100 beaches?

Are Hawaii’s Beaches Disappearing?

According to a recent New York Times article, yes, they are. This is scary news for a destination whose economy is not only tied to the billions of dollars beachgoers spend annually while visiting the islands, but whose sandy shores also provide a way of life for ocean minded locals and surf enthusiasts who have literally been raised on the state’s golden sands.

According to the New York Times piece, over the last century approximately 9 percent of the sand on the state’s three largest islands – Hawaii, Maui and Oahu – has completely disappeared. Due to various forces, which include the rising of sea levels and natural erosion of the volcanic islands, the point at which the water meets the sand is gradually beginning to encroach shoreward with every passing year.

The largest cause of beach erosion, however, is the copious amount of seawalls, which restrict the natural ebb and flow of the constantly shifting sand. Unable to progress and regress at its natural and healthy rate, the sand is eventually swallowed by the growing ocean and coastal landowners are left with nothing but pictures of what their beachfront home at one point used to look like.

While you can take the time to read through the entire New York Times piece, I can save you the stat-crunching and tell you for a fact that yes, the beaches in Hawaii are getting smaller. I’ve lived on Maui for 23 years, and in the years, which have passed from childhood to adulthood, there are segments of beaches which have undoubtedly shrunk or completely disappeared into the sea.

Geologists say the solution lies in a proactive maneuver known as a “retreat.” By removing out human presence – hotels, mega-mansions, restaurants, storefronts – from the shoreline and moving them slightly inland, this simple maneuver would give the beaches enough space to continue their own natural cycle of advance and retreat.

But, as Dr. Charles Fletcher was quoted as telling the New York Times, “It’s easy to say retreat; it’s much harder to implement it.”

[Photo by Heather Ellison]

Top 10 Maui beaches

The Hawaiian islands are known far and wide for the quality of their beaches. From narrow strips of volcanic black sand with dramatic jungle backdrops, to crowded beaches full of the who’s who of the world, Hawaii has a beach for everyone. Maui has just as much diversity as the entire island chain with over 30 miles of beaches. The most easily accessible beaches are located on the west and south or leeward sides of the island. Conversely, the north sees quite a bit of wind and waves while the eastern or windward side harbors more remote beaches in the inlets and bays.

With so many options of beaches to choose it’s hard to pick just ten, but we’ll pick our …