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.
Snorkeling In Maui Hawaii
Top Maui Locations
There are several areas where to snorkel in Maui, and those below are the most popular and stunning ones that you can’t miss on your vacation to Hawaii.
Snorkeling in Maui Molokini Crater
The Molokini Crater off Maui’s coastline is by far one of the best spots to snorkel in Hawaii and is sure to provide an unforgettable experience.
This crescent-shaped crater is home to an array of vibrant marine life, including tropical fish, Moorish Idol, Barred Filefish, Epaulette Soldierfish, Milletseed Butterflyfish, and even sharks and whales.
On top of snorkeling, Molokini is also a popular spot for scuba diving, and several tour are available to enjoy its natural beauty.
Turtle Town Snorkeling in Maui
Another very popular snorkeling spot on Maui is Turtle Town. As its name suggests, this spot is known for its abundance of turtles. In fact, it’s one of the best places in Hawaii to see turtles in the wild. The reefs here are also teeming with tropical fish, making it a great place for both beginner and experienced snorkelers.
While it is possible to reach Turtle Town in Maui on your own, joining a tour will allow you to discover other destinations on the same day and know the best spots to snorkel in each.
Snorkeling at the Black Rock in Maui
Not only does the black rock provide an excellent view, but it’s also a great place for snorkeling. The water and abundance of fish species make it a great spot for swimming and snorkeling.
Snorkeling In Maui Hawaii Faqs
What is the best snorkeling beach in Maui?
There are so many great beaches to snorkel on in Maui. One of the best snorkeling beaches in Maui is Turtle Town or Honolua Bay. Read below to see all of the best Maui snorkeling spots!
What time is best to snorkel in Maui?
The best time to snorkel in Maui is between 10 am and 2 pm. This is usually when the sun is high in the sky, so you can see into the water more clearly. However, there are some nice Maui night snorkeling tours that are pretty fun too!
Does Maui have good snorkeling?
Maui has some of the best snorkeling places out of all the islands. You can usually go swimming with sea turtles in Maui, as you snorkel at Turtle Town.
Where in Maui can you not snorkel?
It is not safe to snorkel alone or in murky waters. Make sure to be safe and dont snorkel in Maui if the weather conditions are not good.
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Maui Maybe The Best Hawaiian Island For Snorkeling
There are between 20 and 30 good snorkeling spots in Maui, all located along the west coast of the island which is more sheltered from the wind and swells. Most of them are freely accessible from shore.
Two areas in particular concentrate almost all of the local snorkel sites: the coasts of the western part of the island, between Lahaina and Kapalua, and the coastline which stretches from Kihei to Wailea, south of Kahului.
In the northwest area of the island, the Kapalua region is home to some of Hawaiis most beautiful spots. Here, several coves with crystal clear waters follow one another along the coast. Most of them are edged by coral reefs.
Honolua Bay, Kapalua Bay and Napili Bay are the most famous in the area. It is also possible to snorkel Mokuleia Bay, Honokahua Bay from DT Fleming Park, and Honokeana Bay.
A few miles further south, youll reach Kahekili Beach , then Black Rock, just north of Kaanapali Beach. The latter is known for its seabed, very full of fish.
If you are staying in Lahaina, youll find decent snorkeling at Baby Beach, just north of the town. The coast here is bordered by a small, shallow lagoon, the perfect place if you are snorkeling for the first time.
You will be able to find many boat tours to take you to Molokini. This tour is more for the beauty of the site, because the coral reefs sheltered by the crater are not as spectacular as some other spots of the coast.
Black Rock Beach/ka’anapali Beach
Black Rock Beach is, technically, on the north end of Ka’anapali Beach, so we’ll tie them together. One interesting thing about snorkeling here is that there’s no reef. Typically when snorkeling, you’ll be on the lookout for reefs, because that’s where a majority of fish like to feed. That said, alongside the Black Rock wall, there are corals that attract fish. The best snorkeling is actually around the point, but you should only attempt that if you’re a strong swimmer, as the water can get extremely rough. There are better places to snorkel than Black Rock, but if you’re staying at a resort on Ka’anapali Beach, you could do worse than a quick snorkel at Black Rock.
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Water And Weather Conditions
Water temperatures in Maui vary a bit from winter to summer. You can find a chart of monthly average water temperatures in Maui on this page. We prefer to visit when the temps are near 80°F.Good snorkeling depends on low winds and no waves. The wind on Maui is fairly predictable, meaning it is almost always windy. You can find a wind forecast for Honolua Bay here and Wailea and Makena here. Once the day heats up, the wind can turn to onshore winds particularly in South Maui, so as mentioned above it is best to snorkel in the morning. Waves, also known as swell or surf, need to be low for snorkeling. You can see a swell forecast for Makena here and for Honolua Bay here.Choose your daily snorkeling spot according to the wind and swell forecasts above, but please note these websites were created for the folks who want high winds and high swells . As a snorkeler you want low winds and low swell.Rainy season in Hawaii is between October and April and hurricane season goes from June to November, both of which affect snorkeling conditions. Hurricanes and tropical storms affect the islands primarily in July, August, and September. Plan your trip as you will and consider trip insurance if traveling in hurricane season.
When To Go Snorkeling Maui
There are two main seasons in Hawaii. The summer, from May to October, is the warmest, driest and sunniest season . This is also the hurricane season, but they are rare in the North Pacific.
In winter, from November to April, the weather is wetter and more changeable with intermittent tropical rains and sunny spells. The air is cooler .
As often happens in tropical islands, the windward coast of Maui is dryer and more sheltered. Most of the snorkeling spots are concentrated there. On the North Shore, especially in Honolua Bay, the wind and the swell makes snorkeling unsafe some days.
The water temperature can fall to 73°F/23°C in winter, and reach a peak of 84°F/29°C at the heart of the summer .
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Best Places To Snorkel In Maui Hi
My friends from Outside Pursuits help me put this article together, check out their site with great travel advice for the outdoors! The warm, crystal-clear ocean surrounding Maui provides perfect conditions for snorkeling all year round. If you enjoy slipping under the waves, Maui is an ideal destination for a snorkeling tour. The only decision you must make is which snorkel spots to visit.
Dont forget to check out our video at the bottom of the post to see these reefs in action!
These are my 5 favorites!:
Black Rock on Kaanapali Beach
Ultimate Whale Watch & Snorkel Lanai
If you are looking for a snorkeling adventure, put this high on your list. On this trip, you trade a sailboat for a power raft and that completely changes the trip. This is no longer a leisurely snorkeling ride it crosses over to an adventure as you speed along six miles to the Lanai coast.
Depending on the snorkeling conditions, youll get to visit 3+ snorkeling spots between Maui and Lanai. Our trip started at Mala Ramp on Maui for turtle sightings before continuing on to Lanai. On the ride out to Lanai you might be treated to spinner dolphin sightings . Then youll get to snorkel at various spots on Lanai that are not accessible by boat.
We love the raft because we can speed to different spots quickly and its a small group experience .
Check out our video of our Lanai snorkeling experience with Ultimate Whale Watch & Snorkel. Bonus! Use code HVG for 10% off any tour bookings.
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Best Snorkeling In Maui For Families
Are you planning a trip to Hawaii and wondering about the best places to snorkel in Maui? Keep scrolling to find out the best snorkeling in Maui for families worth checking out.
This guide to the best snorkeling in Maui for families contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.
Planning a trip to Maui with your family?
Youre in for an amazing time Maui is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and theres so much to do and see! One of our favorite activities is snorkeling you can find some of the best snorkeling spots right here on the island.
Snorkeling is a must-do activity when you go on a trip to Maui with your family. Maui has some of the best snorkeling places to see exotic fish, turtles, and so much more.
With all the different snorkeling tours to choose from, deciding which one is the best for your family can become overwhelming.
Here is your guide to all of the best snorkeling places in Maui for families!
Keep scrolling as I go over some of the best places to see turtles in Maui, along with the best snorkeling in Maui for beginners.
Want to skip all the planning and just access my detailed Maui Itinerary complete with daily schedules, kid-friendly activities, and travel hacks? Click the button below.
Top 6 Maui Snorkeling Spots
Maui features some of the most vibrant and accessible coastlines of the Hawaiian Islands. You will find excellent Maui snorkeling at almost any beach you visit. We picked our top 6 Maui snorkeling spots to share with you, but only on the westside. Why only West Maui? While there are several beautiful South Maui sites, like the famous Molokini crater, Banyan Tree Divers Maui loves to explore in Lahaina and Kaanapali. Read on for the inside scoop!
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Calmest Beaches In Maui For Snorkeling
There is no way anyone can predict the ocean from day to day or guarantee with absolute certainty that water will be calm for your snorkeling days. That said, if youre on the hunt for calm water on Maui for snorkeling, your best bet is to stick to sheltered bays. Youll find a number of these along West and South Maui.
As a general rule, youll find the calmest seas in the morning. On the west and south side of Maui, youll get afternoon tradewinds that can make the sea choppier even on a calm day. If youre in search of calm water, plan for a morning snorkel trip.
As a bonus, early morning snorkelers usually get the best parking spots.
Best Time For Snorkeling In Maui
Snorkeling in Maui is much better during the summer months. Its drier and less windy which generally means the visibility underwater will be much clearer.
In winter when the their can be fairly large swells, you will find that a lot of the beaches then become prime real estate for surfers to take over.
As well as being better in the summer, Maui snorkeling is also the best during the mornings. The trade winds can really pick up in the afternoons making ocean conditions rougher during this time, and the visibility not very good.
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Snorkeling In West Maui:
West Maui is home to some of the best surfing on the island. While great for surfers, that means there are waves that can make your search for calm waters a little more challenging. That said, there are two great snorkeling bays that can have calm water if you time it right.
As a general rule, head to these spots early in the day and dont get in the water if you dont feel comfortable.
Napili Bay: this crescent-shaped beach on west Maui offers a sheltered bay that is protected by a reef. While water outside the bay can become choppy and more difficult to swim in, you can avoid large waves by swimming in this protected cove.
There is plenty of sea life to see stick to the edges of the bay and near the reef and youll have the opportunity to see plenty of fish, turtles, and other sea life.
Kapalua Bay: just a bit further up the road from Napili Bay is Kapalua Bay. This is another protected cove in West Maui. The water is often calm in the morning and its one of the best snorkel spots on the island.
Yes, you could swim with a turtle just a few yards offshore.
Hawaii Shark Safety Tips:
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Olowalu Mile Marker 14
Welcome to one of the oldest reef systems in Hawaii. Olowalu is home to 450 acres of coral reef beneath generally calm waters, so it is an incredible snorkel site. Some of the corals are estimated to be 500 years old! Both Olowalu Beach and the reef along it extend for a few miles.
You are sure to see parrotfish, sergeant majors, black triggerfish, goatfish, and ornate butterflyfish, among others. Several turtles can be found swimming around and resting along the Olowalu reef. The discerning swimmer can sometimes find eels and octopuses, and several manta rays are known to spend time here. Because this reef system is so extensive, you can explore from left to right along the shoreline, and also out toward the open ocean and back again.
To enter the water, look at the ocean from the shore, and find an underwater sand channel. Sand channels show up as a light turquoise color, while the coral reef looks dark from above. Get in at the start of a sand channel, and follow it out as far as you wish to explore. A sand channel is also a great landmark for finding your way back to your starting point.
Once you are spent and you will be at Olowalu there is so much to see! enjoy spending time on the sand and fallen tree trunks of this narrow beach. When you leave, if you are heading back to Lahaina, be very careful making a left hand turn across traffic can be somewhat of a challenge.
Snorkel From The Beach:
Keep in mind, when snorkeling from the shore, the chances of having a lifeguard watching you are slim to none. Also, there are many spots that can be very dangerous to snorkel at during the wrong tides, currents or swell activity. We recommend joining us on our boats for an amazing, safe snorkeling experience.
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Kapalua Bay Beach Maui
Nestled between the Montage Kapalua Bay Resort and Merrimans Kapalua restaurant, Kapalua Bay remains one of West Mauis most tranquil settings. That is when the horseshoe-shaped beach isnt jam-packed on a sunny, calm day. The beach itself is small, but there is excellent snorkeling on either side of the cove. The size of the bay helps to spread out all of the swimmers and snorkelers quite nicely.
There is a small public parking lot between Napili Kai Resort and Merrimans. The public restrooms are available as well as two outdoor showers. Dont even bother trying to park here if you arrive here past 9 am because the parking lot will already be filled-up. There is overflow parking along the main road, but it is a tight fit. Take care that your car is not blocking any part of the street and park legally. If you visit during the restaurants open hours, take advantage of their valet parking, stop in for a drink and appetizer at the bar, and enjoy a late afternoon Maui snorkeling adventure.
What will I see at Kapalua Bay Beach?
Ocean Safety Precautions
There are sometimes waves breaking offshore in the middle of the bay, especially during the winter months. If you see large waves, then visibility underwater gets reduced. Those waves run over a shallow underwater plateau. That is not where you want to be snorkeling unless you want to go for a machine wash ride.