Hookipa Beach is a popular beach that’s located near Paia town on Maui. (Paia is often considered the unofficial start of the Road to Hana drive.)
Spot the seals!
So there are 2 things that Hookipa Beach is best known for: surfing and turtles.
And it is lesser known, but there’s a chance that you can see Hawaiian monk seals, too!
So if you’re at Hookipa Beach to see turtles on the beach, you might as well go to see if the seals are on the beach too, right?!
The seals usually come to shore in a completely separate area from the turtles, and now you know to be sure to look for the Hawaiian monk seals too, and not just the turtles!
Hawaiian monk seals are a certain type of seals that are only found around the Hawaiian islands.
They are also an endangered species, which can make seeing a Hawaiian monk seal an even more special of an experience!
NOAA says that there are thought to be around 1,400 monks seals in the Hawaiian islands. But only around 300 are thought to be around the main Hawaiian islands, which includes Maui!
Read more about what makes Hawaiian monk seals special:
- State of Hawaii
- Marine Mammal Commission
- National Wildlife Federation
- Hawaii Magazine
- Maui Ocean Center
What the State of Hawaii and NOAA want you to know when you see a Hawaiian monk seal
Federal and state laws prohibit harassment of these animals.
Monk seals are very impressionable and easily habituated by humans.
Interacting with seals will change their behavior and hurt their chances to survive in the wild.
Please do not disturb, feed, or approach these seals.
Let sleeping seals lie
Seals need to rest on the beach and are an endangered species protected by state and federal law.
Law enforcement is serious about people disturbing Hawaiian monk seals. There has even been a case where a tourist was fined $1,500 for coming too close to a seal, and another tourist was fined (unknown amount) for touching a seal.
So, look but don’t touch! (And don’t get too close either!)
There might already be a barrier set up around the seals if you go when they are there. There may also be a volunteer around to make sure people don’t get too close. You can ask them questions about the seals too!
Read more for your Hawaii trip prep:
- Hawaii packing list: THE top things to pack for Hawaii
- Part of the back road to Hana is closed
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And if you’re heading to other Hawaiian islands:
How to have the perfect Road to Hana stop that comes with a chance to see Hawaiian monk seals!
Hookipa Beach is on the way to Hana town (aka on the Road to Hana), past Paia town.
So you can make this a stop at the beginning of your trip or at the end of the day if you’ll be passing by Hookipa Beach before dark.
Map of Hookipa Beach location
Park at the Hookipa Lookout parking lot
When you’re driving from Paia and going in the direction of Hana, you’ll first come across Hookipa Beach.
To make this a more worthy stop, you may consider also making a visit to the Hookipa lookout.
It probably doesn’t matter too much whether you start off at the beach or the lookout, but I started at the lookout! The beach and lookout both have parking, and it’s possible that at both you might have to wait for a parking spot. While there’s a good amount of parking spots, this is a popular spot, so it could get full.
Look around at the lookout!
You can take a walk around the Hookipa Lookout from the higher area, and there’s an area that you can go down to get closer to the ocean too.
Walk down towards Hookipa Beach
Then after you’ve seen Hookipa Beach from above at the lookout, you can start making your way down toward beach level, aka towards the seals!
Have a look to see if there are turtles on shore
Once you get down near beach level, you’ll be near the area where turtles are frequent visitors. As you’re facing the ocean, this will be off to the right.
See if there are turtles there!
Hopefully they are there!
Where to see seals at Hookipa Beach
In short, the Hawaiian monk seals are somewhat frequent visitors on the very LEFT side of Hookipa Beach, as you are facing the ocean.
Walk across Hookipa Beach
So after you have a look at the turtles, you will basically walk all across the beach.
And then when you reach the other end…
Hopefully there are Hawaiian monk seals on shore so you can see them!
I visited Hookipa Beach twice, one time was right before sunset and the other time was late morning. There were 2 Hawaiian monk seals on the beach both times. The first time there was a volunteer there who said the monk seals had basically been there all day.
And so Hookipa Beach is one stop to consider making on the Road to Hana!
Plan more of your Road to Hana trip!
- List of stops on the Road to Hana
- How to spend one week on the Road to Hana
- Campgrounds and cabins
GOOD LUCK SEEING HAWAIIAN MONK SEALS ON MAUI!
👇 Explore the Road to Hana map on google maps!
See the list:
- Road to Hana stops (for views!)
- Things to do on Maui (for views!)
- Things to do in Haleakala National Park
- Things to do on Lanai
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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 phoneYou 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.
More for your Maui packing list
- How a cheapo waterproof phone case works
- Why wear water shoes for the beach
- Why a personal swim buoy is an essential for snorkeling and swimming in the ocean
- Essentials to pack for Maui
- Best shoes for Maui
Watch the videos to see Maui in action!
Find more amazing things to do on Maui: Watch my Maui videos on youtubeIf you see an activity you like, look in the description below the youtube video for the individual blog post about that specific activity!
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