Best Maui Snorkeling Beaches
Snorkeling on Maui should not be missed. Maui has incredible snorkeling areas along several of its coastlines. Here are descriptions of several areas that you will enjoy.
Ulua and Mokapu Beach Parks
Kihei/Wailea (5 minute drive from Kamaole Beach Park one) This is an excellent place to start your snorkeling experience. The marine life is varied with an occasional turtle. There is a nice white sand beach and restroom facilities. It is just south of the Rennaissance Hotel (previously Stouffers).
Kihei/Wailea (6 minute drive from Kamaole Beach Park one) Just south of the Kealani Hotel and Polo Beach Club condominium complex is some very excellent snorkeling. Because of the rocky reef outcroppings and coral areas, the fish are abundant with a very good chance of spotting turtles. There is a nice white sand beach. No facilities. Park on the side of the road.
Wailea/Makena (8-10 minute drive from Kamaole Beach Park one) The snorkeling here is quite good but the area can get a little crowded between other snorkelers, kayakers and dive operations. It has lots of parking, restroom and shower. This is also a place you are likely to see turtles. Except for the entry area, there is no white sand beach.
Wailea/Makena (15 minute drive from Kamaole Beach Park one) This is a marine reserve so no motorized boats are allowed in the waters. This also means lots of fish! There are no facilities and no white sand beach. Parking is very limited. This is one of our highest recommendations for Maui snorkeling. Enjoy!
La Perouse Bay
Makena (20 + minute drive from Kamaole Beach park one) This “is” the last stop on your journey down Makena Road. You will have driven thru a couple miles of lava fields to get there (on a paved road) and had spectacular views of Haleakala. The explorer La Perouse landed here and there is a monument in his honor. The road is a bit pitted so drive slow but don’t let it keep you out. It is a slippery entry into the water so have aqua socks on your feet if possible. Although we wouldn’t call this a beginners area for snorkeling, beginners who take care will appreciate the delightful clarity of the water here. This coastline is best experienced by kayak if you really want to find the best places for snorkeling on maui.
Maalaea/Lahaina (20 minute drive from Lahaina) Papalaua Park and coral gardens is truely one of the best snorkeling spots on the island. Just North of the tunnel on the “pali”, this spot boasts some nice beach area, acres of hard coral, some of the clearest water we’ve ever seen, lots of fishies and lots of turtles. There are only outhouses which a just bearable.
14 Mile Marker-Lahaina (15 minutes drive south from Lahaina) This area is protected from waves when the rest of the snorkel spots might be inaccessible due to swell conditions. The reef area reaches out to sea about 250 feet with perfect visibiity due to the shallow 15-20 feet depth. Again, one of the favorites for fish and turtles. There is beach but it is rather thin, especially at low tide. You’ll just be pulling off the road to enjoy this snorkel spot. No facilities.
Lahaina/Kaanapali (15 + minutes north of Lahaina) This area is located behind the Sheraton Maui in the Kaanapali resort. The area is fairly protected from wind, the water is clear, the beach is white and there’s lots of it and the fish are fairly abundant.
Lahaina/Kaanapali (15 + minutes north of Lahaina) This is a beach park so the facilities are wonderful. The beach seems to go on forever and snorkeling is really nice at this spot. As it is fairly exposed to winds there can be a bit of a current here. Just be careful when you get in the water and keep your eyes on the shore.
Kaanapali/Kapalua (20 + minutes north of Lahaina) The snorkeling here is enjoyable (not great) and the beach is especially beautiful. It has restrooms and showers.
Kapalua (25 + minutes north of Lahaina) The best time for snorkeling here is during the summer (in the winter the north swell makes it difficult to go in the water except for wave riding). The snorkeling here is exceptional with a wonderful variety of fish and some great turtle watching. There are no facilities and it is a bit of a hike down a steep hill to get down to the beach. Do not leave valuables in your car and you might consider leaving your car unlocked. Unfortunately this area is known for cars being broken into and items being stolen.