ALOHA!

 

So you want to go to snorkeling as part of your time on Maui!

Which are the best beaches on Maui for snorkeling?!

 

Best Maui snorkeling spots in Hawaii including shallow swimming. Snorkeling beaches for beginners first time to go on your own without snorkeling tours. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

First, the quick list of the top 3 snorkeling spots that are a part of the Maui marine life conservation districts. (These include snorkeling from Maui beaches you can do on your own and Maui snorkeling that requires a tour.)

Then, a few more spots known for snorkeling on Maui to know about, including beaches you can get to by bus when you’re looking to go snorkeling in Maui without a car.

And then, a note on snorkeling alone on Maui and a quick list of what to pack for snorkeling on Maui.

 

Best Maui snorkeling spots in Hawaii. Free snorkeling beaches for beginners to go on your own without tours. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

 

So now…

 

3 protected snorkeling spots in Maui County

 

 

1. Honolua Bay + Mokuleia Bay

Best snorkeling spots in Maui Hawaii: Honolua Bay and Mokuleia Bay. Beginner-friendly snorkel spots. Maui Hawaii travel blog
The only snorkeling spot on Maui that’s a marine life conservation district and accessible on your own.
 

 

2. Molokini Crater

Best snorkeling spots in Maui Hawaii: Molokini crater shoal. Beginner-friendly snorkel spots. Maui Hawaii travel blog
THE top snorkeling destination on Maui for snorkeling tours. You need to book a Molokini Crater snorkeling tour to get to Molokini Crater.
 

 

3. Hulopoe Bay

Best snorkeling spots in Maui County Hawaii: Hulopoe Bay on Lanai. Beginner-friendly snorkel spots. Maui Hawaii travel blog
This 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. There is a campground nearby if you want to stay overnight on a budget.

 

So what makes these places among the top snorkeling spots in Maui?!

 

 

Marine life conservation districts on Maui

Best snorkeling in Hawaii: Marine life conservation districts in Maui Hawaii.

 

In Hawaii, there are what’s called marine life conservation districts.

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.

 

 

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 it’s possible to snorkel off the beach in Maui. (Many of these snorkeling beaches are listed below!)

So, if you want to go snorkeling in Maui, you don’t 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 (aka Molokini Crater), 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!

 

More below about snorkeling in Maui on your own!

 

 

🌴

 

 

 

And now a few more places to snorkel on Maui!

Best snorkeling spots on Maui from shore

aka snorkeling beaches on Maui!

All of the spots listed below are free.

 

 

1. Honolua Bay

Honolua – Mokuleia marine life conservation district, West Maui

Best Maui snorkeling spots in West Maui: honolua bay. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

To get to Honolua Bay, there is a small parking area on the side of the main road.

Then you’ll take a short 5 minute or so trail through a forest you’ll take to reach the snorkeling entry point.

This is also a spot that’s used for surfers to get into the water.

 

Maui snorkeling spots in West Maui: honolua bay for surfing as a surf spot. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

This is a rocky beach.

 

Maui snorkeling spots in West Maui: honolua bay. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

Read the reviews: Honolua Bay snorkeling

 

Should you worry about Maui sharks?

To be dramatic, you may want to stay closer to shore when you’re snorkeling in Honolua Bay.

Just kidding maybe.

Honolua Bay was the location of a deadly shark attack on Maui in December 2020.

A surfer was reportedly paddling out to sea when it happened.

But well, if you were to be rational about it.

Think about how many people enter the waters of Maui each year, both visitors and residents.

For visitors alone, it was reported that 3 million people visited Maui in 2019.

Many if not most of those people probably entered the water.

Many of those people probably entered the water several times during their Maui trip.

And comparatively, there are very (very) minimal shark encounters.

Out of those millions of people that were in the water, there were reported to have been 3 shark attacks on Maui in 2019.

You can read the Hawaii shark attack stories.

 

 

2. Slaughterhouse Beach (Mokuleia Bay)

Honolua – Mokuleia marine life conservation district, West Maui

Best Maui snorkeling spots in West Maui: Slaughterhouse beach snorkeling mokuleia bay. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

Mokuleia Bay is located pretty much right next to Honolua Bay, but the beach access point is different.

The parking for Slaughterhouse Beach is on the side of the main road.

Then you’ll take a short set of stairs to reach the beach, which is a sandy beach.

 

Maui snorkeling spots in West Maui: Slaughterhouse beach snorkeling mokuleia bay. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

If you’re choosing between Honolua Bay and Mokuleia Bay, Honolua Bay is generally considered to be more beginner friendly.

Rougher waves are possible at Mokuleia Bay.

If you want to do some things while you’re “in the area” of Honolua Bay and Mokuleia Bay, see the list of things to do in West Maui, the far north area.

You can see Maui’s rugged coastline!

This includes spots like the famous Maui blowhole and the famous Maui tide pools.

Keep driving further, and you’ll end up on the “back road” of West Maui and it’s an area that less tourists visit.

 

Snorkeling spots in West Maui near top things to do in maui. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

Read the reviews: Slaughterhouse Beach snorkeling

 

 

3. Ahihi Cove

Ahihi Kinau natural area reserve, South Maui

Best Maui snorkeling spots for beginners in South Maui: Ahihi Bay, Ahihi Cove, ahihi kinau. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

This is another protected area of Maui’s shores, this one in the form of being a Hawaii natural area reserve.

 

Best Maui snorkeling spots for beginners in South Maui: ahihi kinau natural area reserve snorkeling. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

There are 2 snorkeling spots located in the Ahihi Kinau natural reserve.

Ahihi Cove is located right off the side of the road. 

There isn’t much of a beach here.

 

Maui snorkeling spots for beginners in South Maui: Ahihi Bay, Ahihi Cove, ahihi kinau. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

 

4. Kanahena Beach aka the dumps

Ahihi Kinau natural area reserve, South Maui

Best Maui snorkeling spots for beginners in South Maui: Kanahena beach snorkeling the dumps, ahihi kinau. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

And then for the other snorkeling spot, once again even though they are a part of the same conservation area, the snorkeling access is different.

The other snorkeling spot a part of the natural reserve is a couple minutes drive further south from the first snorkeling spot.

There is a parking lot here, and then you’ll take a short trail to the beach. This is a rocky beach.

 

Maui snorkeling spots for beginners in South Maui: Kanahena beach snorkeling the dumps, ahihi kinau. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

If you want to get in some hiking before you go snorkeling at the Ahihi Kinau natural reserve, at the end of the road in far South Maui is La Perouse Bay and the start location of the hike across lava fields. (One of the best hiking trails on Maui! You might think even a short hike from La Perouse Bay is worth it!)

This is located around a 5 minute drive from the Ahihi Kinau parking lot.

Read the reviews: Ahihi snorkeling spot (This is the map location of Kanahena Beach)

 

Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve: See more about this Maui snorkeling spot.

 

 

5. Maluaka Beach aka Turtle Town

South Maui

Best Maui snorkeling beaches for beginners in South Maui: Maluaka Beach snorkeling turtle town. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

There’s an area of Maui called Turtle Town.

This area is called turtle town, because, well, it’s a spot that you can go where you have increased chances of swimming with turtles!

Turtles are wild animals (marine life) so there’s no guarantee, though!

If you’re lucky, you might also be able to see turtles without getting in the water, as they might stick their head up out of the water occasionally! 

There’s a nice sandy beach here.

 

Maui snorkeling beaches for beginners in South Maui: Maluaka Beach snorkeling turtle town. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

There are also bathrooms and outdoor showers here, as well as a picnic area off to the left of the beach as you’re facing the ocean.

You might see if you can get find the Jawz fish tacos truck and eat it there!

The Makena Beach parking lot that’s just down the road from Maluaka Beach is usually a reliable spot for the food truck, and you might see one on the way to Makena Beach as well.

 

Food near snorkeling spots in South Maui near turtle town maluaka beach. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

If you’re on Maui without a car and you’re motivated to go to Turtle Town, then the nearest bus stop to Maluaka Beach is a 3 mile walk one way.

 

Read the reviews: Maluaka Beach

Maluaka Beach: See more about this Maui snorkeling spot.

 

 

6. Black Rock at Kaanapali Beach

West Maui

Best Maui snorkeling beaches for beginners in West Maui: Black Rock beach, Kaanapali Beach. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

Kaanapali is one of the main resort areas of Maui.

 

Maui snorkeling beaches for beginners in West Maui: Black Rock beach, Kaanapali Beach. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

And if you are staying in Kaanapali, then Black Rock is your snorkeling spot!

Being a popular resort area, this means that there are parts of Kaanapali Beach that can get crowded.

One of those crowded areas is the area of the snorkeling, which is to the far right side of the beach when you’re facing the ocean.

This spot is known to also have strong currents so it’s generally recommended to only snorkel here in calm waters.

It could also be better to not swim too close to the rocks, where you may have a greater chance of encountering a current.

If you’re visiting Kaanapali, you can walk the Kaanapali coastal trail (Kaanapali Beach Walk) that runs right along side the beach.

There are many bars and restaurants in this area.

 

Maui snorkeling spots near Kaanapali Beach walk in West Maui: Black Rock beach. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

You can get to Kaanapali Beach by bus. There’s a bus stop in the Kaanapali Beach resort area, and it’ll be about a 10 minute walk to Black Rock. See more about the basics of getting around Maui by bus.

Read the reviews: Black Rock

 

 

7. Ulua Beach

South Maui

Best Maui snorkeling beaches for beginners in South Maui: Ulua beach. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

This is basically at the northern end of the general Wailea beach resort area. There is a parking lot at Ulua Beach.

There’s sandy beach here, so it can make for a good beach to hang out at too. There are bathrooms and outdoor showers here.

 

Best Maui snorkeling beaches for beginners in South Maui: Ulua beach. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

From here, you can also go for a nice beach walk by walking north, or you can head south to walk the Wailea coastal trail (Wailea Beach Path). 

 

Maui snorkeling spots near Wailea Beach Path coastal trail in South Maui: Ulua Beach. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

You can get to Ulua Beach by bus. There’s a bus stop located about a 15 minute walk from Ulua Beach.

Read the reviews: Ulua Beach

 

 

8. Makena Landing

South Maui

Best Maui snorkeling beaches for beginners in South Maui: Makena Landing park beach. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

This is another little small area that’s just off the side of the road, called the Makena Landing Park.

There are bathrooms and outdoor showers here.

There is a little bit of a small sandy beach here. 

 

Maui snorkeling beaches for beginners in South Maui: Makena Landing park beach. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

Read the reviews: Makena Landing

 

 

9. Kapalua Bay

West Maui

Best Maui snorkeling beaches for beginners in West Maui: Kapalua Bay beach. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

Kapalua is the other resort area of West Maui, and this is a sheltered bay in the area with a sandy beach.

Turtles are also known to frequent Kapalua Bay.

 

Best Maui snorkeling beaches for beginners in West Maui: Kapalua Bay beach. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

If you’re visiting the area, you’ll also want to look into walking the Kapalua Coastal Trail for great scenic views and also seeing the unique lava rock formations on the Dragon’s Teeth Trail!

If you’re looking for a quieter beach in the area, you can try Ironwoods Beach.

 

Maui snorkeling spots near Kapalua Coastal Trail in West Maui: Kapalua Bay. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

You can get a bus to Kapalua Bay. The nearest bus stop is a few minutes away.

Read the reviews: Kapalua Bay

 
And those are some of the best snorkeling spots on Maui to consider making a part of your trip to Hawaii!

 

 

Snorkeling alone in Maui (and the dangers of snorkeling)

While it is best to not snorkel alone on Maui (or anywhere), if you are traveling to Hawaii alone, these listed snorkeling spots I would generally say would be fine if you are a solo snorkeler on Maui, for the reason that there will likely be many people around. This at least gives you more of a chance that someone sees you if you get into trouble in the water. The waters also tend to be calm.

The snorkeling beaches on this list with the most people are likely Kaanapali Beach (Black Rock), Ulua Beach, and Kapalua Bay Beach. These are the beaches that are more directly in the resort areas. There will likely be people at the other beaches too though. If I recall correctly, none of the beaches on this list have lifeguards. 

That said, people have died snorkeling alone on Maui… on “safe” beaches, in calm conditions… and some were even with others but were noticed too late. Read the stories.

Whether you are snorkeling alone or you have a snorkeling buddy, be sure that you take care when snorkeling, always! The ocean is beautiful, but it’s also powerful and can be dangerous!

NOT snorkeling alone will always be safer…

Joining a snorkeling tour can also give you comfort in knowing there’s someone experienced in ocean safety looking out for you.

 

 

Now…

What to pack for snorkeling in Maui

What to pack for snorkeling in Mau. What to wear snorkeling in Maui. Hawaii packing list.

 

 

1. Waterproof phone case

What to pack for snorkeling in Maui: waterproof phone case. What to wear in Maui. Hawaii packing list.

 

Pack a waterproof phone pouch for snorkeling for a CHEAP way to waterproof your phone so you can capture some underwater memories!

 

What to pack for snorkeling in Maui: waterproof phone case to take underwater photos. What to wear in Maui. Hawaii packing list.

 

 

2. Water shoes

What to pack for snorkeling in Maui: water shoes. What to wear in Maui. Hawaii packing list.

 

Pack this if you won’t be wearing fins when you snorkel.

Water shoes can help to protect your feet from hidden rocks on the beach and if you accidentally hit coral reef.

Coral reef is sharp!

 

 

3. Sunscreen that’s considered reef-safe

What to pack for snorkeling in Maui: reef-safe sunscreen for Hawaii. What to wear in Maui. Hawaii packing list.
Sign at Slaughterhouse Beach put up by locals on Maui.

 

The type of sunscreen that you wear is kind of a big deal for locals in Hawaii.

There is now a ban in sales in Hawaii of sunscreen that contain certain chemicals.

Now, you could buy any sunscreen you like back home and then bring it to Hawaii.

But… it would likely be very appreciated if you wear a type of reef-safe sunscreen that locals prefer!

See more about how to know if your sunscreen is the good type for snorkeling on Maui: Best sunscreen for Maui

 

 

4. Snorkeling set

What to pack for snorkeling in Maui: snorkeling gear. What to wear in Maui. Hawaii packing list.

 

Pack this to have your own snorkeling gear for your future snorkeling trips too!

It is possible to rent snorkeling gear on Maui, and you can also find some basic snorkel sets sold in convenience stores, like ABC Store in Kaanapali and Wailea.

But it can be convenient to not have to spend time shopping for this when you don’t have a lot of time during your Hawaii vacation!

 

See more of snorkeling essentials for Hawaii, including why to wear a rash guard when snorkeling!

 

Headed to another island in Hawaii? See more snorkeling spots on other Hawaiian islands!

 

And plan more of your trip to Maui!

 

HAPPY SNORKELING IN MAUI!

 

Best Maui snorkeling spots in Hawaii. Snorkeling beaches for beginners to go on your own without tours. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

 

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Top things to pack for your Hawaii vacation!

The ultimate beach towel for travel?!
Turkish towels are considered to be more absorbent and lightweight than your average beach towel. Be sure to check out turkish towels like these!
The cheapo way to waterproof your phone
You can take underwater pictures with a simple waterproof phone case like this. Touch screen may not work well underwater - try the volume button to snap the pic instead!
Get your suitcase more organized!
Packing cubes can make it so you're spending less time on your vacation looking for things! They are basically a form of drawers in your suitcase. Take a look at these packing cubes.
Wear less sunscreen by wearing a UPF swim shirt!
Wearing a swim shirt means less skin that's exposed to the sun which means less sunscreen you need to apply! See about wearing swim shirts with UV protection like these when you're snorkeling.

Watch the videos to see Maui in action!

Find more amazing things to do on Maui: Watch my Maui videos on youtube
If you see an activity you like, look in the description below the youtube video for the individual blog post about that specific activity!

ALOHA!