Honokalani Black Sand Beach
Swimming at the black sand beach at Wainapanapa State Park can be a little rough due to the wild waves, so its only recommended for strong swimmers or surfers.With its glimmering water, black shoreline, and panoramic views, this beach is sure to take your breath away.Not to mention, this idyllic coastline is jam-packed with plenty of activities to keep you busy all day.
Choose The Right Time Of Day
While it is possible to snorkel on Maui throughout the day, some times are definitely better than others.
The best time of day to snorkel in Maui is in the morning, about 1-2 hours after sunrise.
This means that for the best chance of good visibility and calm water, you will want to head to the beach early. Typically, there will be less wind and therefore better water conditions for snorkeling in the morning hours.
If you get there too early, however, the sun will not be overhead enough yet to provide valuable light. This is why it is best to wait a couple hours after sunrise.
Avoid snorkeling after heavy rain or during high winds. During these times, visibility is reduced and water conditions can be less ideal.
Maui Snorkeling Tour Or Snorkel Maui On Your Own
There are many snorkeling spots in Maui that you can access on your own from shore.
So its possible to snorkel off the beach in Maui.
So, if you want to go snorkeling in Maui, you dont NEED to go on a snorkeling tour to do so.
If you want to go to what is often considered to be among the premier snorkeling destinations on Maui , then you DO need to book a snorkeling tour.
And while Molokini Crater is the most famous snorkeling destination in Maui, there are snorkeling tours that go to other coral reefs along the shores of Maui that attract fish and turtles too.
Aside from snorkeling, a snorkeling tour can also be about being able to get a Hawaii experience to remember with a day out on the water sailing the ocean!
See more about the best Maui tours: Maui tour or on your own?
More below about snorkeling in Maui on your own!
Honolua Mokuleia marine life conservation district, West Maui
To get to Honolua Bay, there is a small parking area on the side of the main road.
Then youll take a short 5 minute or so trail through a forest youll take to reach the snorkeling entry point.
This is also a spot thats used for surfers to get into the water.
This is a rocky beach.
Read the reviews: Honolua Bay snorkeling
Should you worry about Maui sharks?
To be dramatic, you may want to stay closer to shore when youre snorkeling in Honolua Bay.
Just kidding maybe.
Honolua Bay was the location of a deadly shark attack on Maui in December 2020.
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Snorkeling Tips For Maui
Keep the following 5 local snorkeling tips in mind to stay safe and find the best fish:
1: Go west!
The west coast of Maui including Khei, Lhain, and Kaanapali typically enjoys better snorkeling conditions and calmer seas due to its leeward position in relation to the trade winds, as well as the protection it receives from offshore islands, like Lnai and Kahoolawe. Its where youll find the islands best snorkeling spots.
2: Go early
The morning is generally a better time to snorkel than the afternoon, when the wind and water are calmer. Check local conditions before entering the water.
3: Dress well
Wear protective water clothing, like a rash guard, when snorkeling. When using sunscreen, be sure it is reef safe .
4: where the fish like to hide
Fish need shelter and food, so the best place to look for them is near coral and the rocks. Be mindful of incoming waves when snorkeling near rocks.
5: stay safe
Watch out for waves, coral, rocks, and sea urchins when entering the water. A sandy strip is the best place to wade in.
Humpback Whale Watching & Snorkeling Tours Lahaina
While you cant actually snorkel with humpbacks, you can be in the water near them, hear their beautiful rhythmic songs, and if youre lucky, feel their sound vibrations reverberate through your bodies. You may also see turtles, moray eels, tropical fish, and more, just like all the other snorkeling spots on Maui. This is a seasonal adventure, typically between December and April annually. ultimatewhalewatch.com
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+ Maui Beaches You Need To See For Yourself
Of all the times my husband and I have visited Hawaii, the beaches on Maui have always impressed us the most. Dont get me wrong, every single Hawaiian island has beautiful beaches but the ones on Maui are picture-perfect indeed.
Gold sand, white sand, red sand, black sand you name it, a beach in Maui has it. Today we review the absolute best beaches on Maui that you cant afford to miss during your visit to paradise.
Kaanapali Beach Aka Black Rock
The spot may be called Black Rock, but the beach here is sugar white, and Kaanapali Beach is hand-down one of the best beaches for snorkeling in Maui. Swim from shore to where the water is 8 to 25 feet deep, and youll find the namesake black rocks. Here, green sea turtles nestle under ledges, and a variety of fish, from Moorish idols to the former state fish, humuhumunukunukuapuaa, can be found.
This site is a favorite for families thanks to a wide, picturesque beach. Plus, Whalers Village on the beach walk offers a collection of restaurants and shops, allowing visitors to make impromptu lunch plans or stay for a drink at sunset. If youre not staying in the area, public parking is available at the Sheraton Maui Resort.
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Starting From The Top Side Of The West Maui Mountains Going South To Kaanapali Lahaina Towards The So Side Of Maui
- Honolua Bay: farther up the coast, past Kapalua. Near the 33 Mile Marker. No Bathrooms, showers or facilities, however Honolua Bay is one of the most popular snorkeling spots on Maui. It is also one of the most beautiful. Honolua Bay is a Marine Preserve. There are lots of Honu and tropical fish and live corals. Dolphins are also known to come into the bay in the mornings. * Also best in the Summer Months, we locals call it slaughter house in the winter months due in part to the powerful waves that come into this bay. There are several luxury sailing catamarans that depart from Kaanapali Beach that cruise up the coast and snorkel Honolua Bay. That is the Ultimate way to go! You will also get to see the whole west maui coastline along the wayfrom the Ocean. With all the little bays, coves and beaches along the way. All the Maui snorkel boats, except the Hula Girl Include Continental Breakfast, Deli or BBQ Lunch and Coctails!! READ MORE
- Napli Bay: In Napili, snorkeling is best on the right side, by the Sea House Restaurant, however on a calm day, you can try on the left side over by the Gazebo Restaurant . A beautiful Beach, and healthy colorful reef with live corals and tropical fish and even Honu * Best in the Summer Months, as Napili is on Mauis North Shore famous for big waves in the winter time. Check omaui.com for the Surf Report and stay away from the big waves..READ MORE
Mala Wharf Lahaina Maui
Too often, snorkeling newbies think that pretty beaches equal pretty snorkel spots. Sometimes, but not always.
One trick is to follow the scuba divers, who know where the good critters are. This tip is especially solid if the divers are headed to shallow waters, which, at 45 feet deep, is true of Mala Wharf, aka Mala Boat Ramp.
This old pier isnt popular among beachgoers, but we love it for the abundant marine life: Snorkelers can see whitetip reef sharks, usually no more than 5 feet long. Encounters with bluestripe snappers and around a dozen sea turtles are also common. If you can maneuver close to the piers, you may even see nudibranchs, brightly colored animals no more than two or three inches long, which look like slugs. These animals are a favorite among most divers for the rich, incredible variation in colors.
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Best Snorkeling For Beginners
Youre ready to hit the ocean and see some fish. But theres one problem: youve never actually snorkeled before. While snorkeling looks easy, it can be deceptively difficult and dangerous if you dont know what youre doing. The ocean may look calm, but currents, and waves can make things challenging, especially if youre learning how to breathe through a snorkel and swim.
If you want to head out into the water but youre a beginning snorkeler, we recommend Baby Beach in Lahaina. Its not the best snorkeling spot on the island, but its extremely protected by an offshore reef and its shallow. Plus, weve been lucky enough to spot turtles and even a monk seal right offshore. .
Read more about visiting and swimming at Baby Beach in Lahaina.
Protected Snorkeling Spots In Maui County
1. Honolua Bay + Mokuleia Bay
Honolua Bay and Mokuleia Bay are the only snorkeling spots on Maui that are part of a marine life conservation district and accessible on your own.
Molokini Crater is the most popular snorkeling destination for Maui snorkeling tours. You need to book a Molokini Crater snorkeling tour to get to Molokini Crater.
3. Hulopoe Bay
Hulopoe Bay is a beach on the neighbor island of Lanai. Many people make a day trip to Lanai from Maui. There is a ferry from West Maui. Hulopoe Beach would be the best snorkeling spot on Lanai.
So what makes these places among the top snorkeling spots in Maui?!
In Hawaii, there are whats called
This means that these areas just off the coast are more protected for marine life.
This can make them good snorkeling spots.
The main Hawaiian islands of Maui, Lanai, Oahu, and the Big Island have these conservation districts.
In Maui County, there are 3 marine life conservation districts, which are off the shores of 3 separate islands:
So of these on Maui, you can access Honolua Bay and Mokuleia Bay on your own from shore. A bit more on this below.
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Best Places For Maui Snorkeling
Did you know that Maui is known as the #1 Hawaiian Island for snorkeling? It is for many reasons, including the fact that Maui is also the best place to learn how to snorkel in Hawaii. Maui offers shallow and calm ocean conditions for beginners, yet its still wonderful for experienced snorkelers. There are many opportunities to visit drop-offs, ledges, overhangs, and the variety of marine life that is abundant in Maui waters.
The following Top 10 Maui snorkel and diving locations are what we feel to be the best for beginner to advanced participants, possessing amazing water clarity and offering an overall consistent Hawaii snorkeling experience. No matter what time of the year you are planning a trip to the magical island of Maui, you can always find a great location to snorkel.
Best Snorkeling Beaches On Maui
What are the best snorkeling beaches on Maui?
Maui has some amazing snorkeling opportunities, from the islet of Molokini to the popular lava rock at the north end of Kaanapali Beach, and our readers have voted on the best of the best. You can’t go wrong dipping your head underwater at any Maui beach, but there are a few places where you’ll want to bring your snorkeling gear.
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Other Top Maui Snorkeling Locations
If you want to make the most of your beach day and do more than snorkeling, then Makena Landing is the perfect beach park to go to. Its large and shallow bay is perfect for snorkeling, kayaking, and stand up paddling, while its accompanying park offers a number of amenities for picnickers. The park has a paved parking lot, BBQ area, restrooms, and showers. Makena Landing is best for snorkeling during the earlier parts of the day as it is less crowded and there will be fewer swells in the water.
Being one of the only three partially submerged volcanic calderas in the world, the Molokini Crater is considered as Hawaiis only island marine sanctuary. Divers and snorkelers coming from all over the world visit the crater to get a glimpse of the beautiful underwater ecosystem it has. Because of its location, the visibility underwater is consistently excellent. Its coral reefs are filled with an abundance of fish and other marine animals, making it a great snorkeling experience that is perfect for the whole family.
Best Snorkeling For Sea Turtles
If seeing a Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle is high on your list, head to Honokeana Cove. While this cove doesnt have the clearest water or a sandy beach, it is full of sea turtles. Its difficult to not see sea turtles here.
Public access to the cove is down a long path just north of the Honokeana Cove condo complex. Theres no parking lot, so youll need to find parking on the street.
Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles are listed as a threatened species, so youll want to be sure you give them appropriate space. Its recommended that you stay at least 10 feet away from sea turtles.
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Black Rock Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa Kaanapali Beach
About 10 miles north of Lahaina at the famous Black Rock, youll find a 30-foot-deep natural aquarium that is home to about a dozen Hawaii Green Sea Turtles, as well as hundreds of tropical fish population, reef sharks, and other stuff to see. Currents can be strong here, so be careful if youre not an accomplished snorkeler and swimmer. Parking costs $26 at the Sheraton, but only $2.50 per hour, or $20 per day at nearby Whalers Village. kaanapaliresort.com
Spots To Snorkel Near Kihei
Snorkeling in Maui can instantly make you feel relax as you swim around the reef, enjoying thelovely vibrant colors of the underwater world and If youre lucky, seeing your first Hawaiian greensea turtle!
Whether its your first time to snorkel or youre already a pro, you should know thetop spots to snorkel in or near Kihei. This is to ensure that you will get to enjoy the best snorkelexperience on the south shore of Maui that you cant wait to repeat it. Below are our top five spots werecommend to snorkel near Kihei.
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Best Snorkeling In Maui
Mauis reefs, with abundant fish diversity and nonstop sea turtle action, reward every snorkeler, especially first-timers.
Youre missing out if youre not snorkeling in Maui and witnessing the diversity of underwater color and life thats just as abundant as the beauty youd find among the Valley Isles green mountainsides.
Mauis coastline packs so much variety, from flat white-sand beaches to crescents of golden sand hemmed in by rocky cliffs. Because the coast is windy, with beaches facing many directions, it means that snorkelers can find ideal conditions regardless of which way the wind blows.
Plus, many beaches offer reefs perfect for kids just learning to snorkel, whereas other sites better accommodate the intrepid snorkeler who wants a more challenging experience. Heres where to find the best places to snorkel in Maui.
Maui Snorkeling Guide Best Beaches To Visit
Maui has been voted as The best island in the world by the Condé Nast Travel Magazine for 10 years thanks to the scenarios landscape, untouched nature and pure beauty under the sea. With this Maui snorkeling guide, we give tips for ocean-lovers when is the best time to visit this paradise and what the best beaches are if you wish to discover the islands underwater wonder.
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Best Maui Snorkeling Tours
Some of the best snorkeling spots in Maui can only be reached by boat, such as the most famous site of Molokini Crater. Additionally, there are some specific benefits to taking a snorkel tour rather than doing it yourself.
Most tours will also include some refreshments, snorkel equipment, and interesting information on the area. During the winter, you may also spot migrating whales from the boat.
The most popular places for Maui snorkel tours include Molokini Crater, Honolua Bay, Turtle Town, Coral Gardens, and Lanai.
Best Beaches On Maui For Snorkeling
Maui is a top snorkeling destination, thanks not just to the incredible displays of marine life, but also the sheer number of beaches that are good to snorkel at.
The west-facing coast teems with fish and corals, and, protected by other islands, avoids the worst of the coastal swells.
But that doesnt mean you can just jump in the water anywhere on Maui and expect to see a turtle. Here are our favorite beaches on Maui for snorkeling!
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Mokuleia Bay Aka Slaughterhouse Beach
Named for the long since shut down nearby slaughterhouses, dont let the name scare you off. Approximately a 20 minute drive north of Lahaina and part of the Honolua-Mokuleia Bay Marine Life Conservation District, this area offers great snorkeling on calmer weather days. Head toward the right side, where youll find lots of big fish and beautiful underwater views. Local Tip: Snorkeling here is highly dependent on the weather and is sometimes too rough to go out. This is also a popular spot for body surfing. Give it a try!