Honolua Bay

Honolua Bay Maui
Overview: While it might not have a sandy beach, Honolua Bay is one of the island's most popular places for snorkeling. The "beach" is a narrow strip of boulders, but since the main attractions are out in the water the lack of sand doesn't matter.

Simply reaching the beach at Honolua is all a part of the adventure, as you need to park your car on the highway and hike for 5 minutes through a vine-laden valley that's dripping in deep shades of green.

The community has gone through a herculean effort to "Save Honolua" from development, and there's a palpable sense of magic to this place where anyone who visits can agree that some spots are simply off limits from growth. While the bay offers some of the best snorkeling on Maui, in winter the snorkels are swapped for boards as surfers flock here in droves.

This isn't a place for beginner surfers, and the best thing to do when Honolua is breaking is watch from the bluffs down the bumpy dirt road on the northern side of the bay.

Good For: Snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking, sea turtles, watching surfers in winter.

Not So Good For: Laying a towel out on the sand, sunbathing, your first time surfing.

Maui Expert Tip For Honolua Bay: For one of the best places to watch the sunset on Maui, drive to the end of the bumpy dirt road on the northern end of the bay.

In winter you can also spot Humpback whales, and for a classic dose of island romance, stay and watch the stars come out while lying on the hood of your car.

Snorkeling visibility can be poor after a heavy rain, since runoff and sediment can flow from the stream. If the water appears brown, head to Mokulei'a Bay which is located two minutes south.
Directions and Parking Situation: The first viewpoint of Honolua Bay is 1.8 miles north of the entrance to Kapalua resort. This is a nice place to get a view of the bay but you can't access the beach from here. For that you'll need to drive half a mile farther and park along the side of the road once you've reached the bottom of the hill.

There are many different places to park and all of the trails eventually connect and find their way to the shore. For the best spot to watch surfers in winter, continue driving toward the top of the hill where there's a rutted turnoff for a bumpy dirt road the leads out onto the point. If you're clocking it on your odometer the dirt road is 2.7 miles past Kapalua.

Facilities: None. Pack it in pack it out.