Places to Visit

11 Best Places To Snorkel In Maui For Thrill Seekers

Waves crashing against the rocks on the shore of Secret Cove Beach in Maui, a photo by Victor Schendel Photography
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Best places to snorkel in Maui Honolua Bay with clear water and thriving coral reefs offer great snorkeling experience. It lies in a marine conservation area.

Snorkeling is a popular watersport in Maui for visitors of all ages. The major reasons are coral reef formations, an abundance of diverse marine life, and the availability of Hawaiian green sea turtles.

Mid-summer is the best time of the year to get into the water and explore the vast ocean in Hawaii. Since Maui features many beaches, there are several spots to snorkel.

Here, we have presented a list of 11 places that have the best snorkeling in Maui.

1. Honolua Bay

Honolua Bay is an underwater volcano islet located about 2.5 miles off Maui's south shore. It is one of the best snorkeling destinations in the entire island.

The Bay is a part of the Honolua-Mokulē‘ia Bay Marine Life Conservation District. Its coral reefs are home to a wide variety of colorful fish and Hawaiian green sea turtles.

A beautifully captured picture of the Honolulu Bay
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Honolua Bay snorkeling and scuba diving are best experienced during the calmer summer months. Located on the northwestern shore, this is a favorite spot for experienced surfers. 

However, Honolua is not an ideal spot to take on a water adventure for beginners. The bay has a rocky coastline and the entry point and the reef are almost 100 yards apart.

2. Molokini Crater

Best place to snorkel in Maui Molokini Crater is located just off the south coast of Maui. Visitors need to take a boat ride for a few minutes to reach the crater.

Visit Molokai and experience snorkeling and scuba diving like never before. The pristine blue water and the vibrant marine life will leave you dazzled.

The unique crescent shape and rugged beauty of the Crater make it a popular day trip for any traveler. The stunning reefs, clear water, and rich marine life have made this place a snorkeling hot spot.

As you get into the waters, you will get a glimpse of the vibrant marine life. There are more than 250 species, from colorful fish to stunning coral, and even turtles. 

An aerial view of the unique crescent shaped Molokini Crater in Maui
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Experience the best snorkeling adventure with Maui Reef Adventures. Book a 4-hour water adventure package for $179 per person via

Molokini Crater Zodiak Adventure Snorkel and Turtle Cove Swim is a tour that take up to 35 people per group. Additional details are listed below:

  • Departure Location: 101 Maalaea Rd, Wailuku, HI 96793
  • Boat docks at 7:30 am for boarding
  • Check-in time is 30 minutes prior to departure
  • Beverages, Turkey Wrap/Veggie Sandwich is provided onboard

3. Turtle Town

Best snorkeling places in Maui Turtle Town is the perfect place for travelers who appreciate marine life and underwater exploration. It is a family-friendly sand and surf in south Maui.

Turtle Town is one of the most recommended snorkeling destinations in Maui. The place is located along the southern shore of Maui.

Get ready for a guided Maui: Turtle Town Kayak and Snorkel Tour and explore the beauty. South Pacific Kayak Maui offers a 3-hour trip for just $106.45 per person.

A person explores the marine life in the Turtle Town
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This guided tour admits up to 10 travelers at a time. On the tour, you will kayak through Makena Bay to see Turtle Town and snorkel to spots around the Bay.

What is included in the tour?

  • Kayak and Paddles
  • Life Jacket and Snorkel Gear
  • Snacks and beverages

4. Kapalua Bay Beach

Best snorkeling places Maui Kapalua Bay Beach is a serene cove located on the northwestern tip of Maui. Enjoy snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters and sunbathing on the soft white sand.

This tranquil sand beach is protected by two lava-flow headlands extending out on either side. Here, you can often spot sea turtles and eels while snorkeling.

One of the best beaches in Maui, Kapalua Bay Beach is a family-friendly place located just north of Lahaina. The place also features an onsite parking lot and outdoor showers and restrooms.

A serene view of the sandy Kapula Bay Beach with a scenic environment
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The beachfront is a great spot for a family or couples' getaway alike. For accommodation, all inclusive honeymoon resort Napili Beach Resort is located just 0.12 miles away.

The conditions for snorkeling and swimming at Kapalua Bay Beach are moderate year-round. Activities to enjoy on the oceanfront includes:

  • Swimming
  • Lounging
  • Snorkeling
  • Scuba Diving

5. Five Caves

Best snorkeling Maui Five Caves is a rocky shoreline along Makena Drive located south of Wailea. The oceanfront strikes a perfect balance between water sports and realizing beach time.

Snorkeling is viable on this beach, however, the adventure water sport is only recommended only for the experts. This is because this place has sharp rocks, deep waters, and rougher conditions than usual.

A breathtaking evening view from the beach in Hawaii
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For swimmers and surfers with good experience, Five Caves offers the best experience getting in the waters. The beach is also known as "Five Graves" and sometimes as Chang's Beach.

Five Caves feature its own parking lot farther south. The entire beachfront has plenty of coral, caves fishes, and an abundance of sea turtles. 

6. Napili Beach

Best Maui places to snorkel Napili Beach is located on the scenic Napili Bay on the northwestern side of Maui. The white-sloping sand and turquoise waters 

The public entrance to the low-key Napili Beach is off Hui Drive. However, the parking is limited, so it is wise to arrive here early. 

It is important to note that there are no Lifeguard stations on site and no public bathrooms. Nonetheless, this place is one of Maui's unassuming hidden gems.

The sandy shores of Napili Beach glowing during the evening time
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Napili Beach is comfortably one of the popular sites for snorkeling in the island of Maui. The crescent-shaped cove is also home to beautiful Hawaiian green sea turtles. 

Things to explore nearby Napili Beach are:

  • Browse through Napili and Honokowai Farmers Markets
  • Enjoy breakfast at Gazebo Restaurant
  • Participate in the Slack Key Guitar Show

7. Coral Gardens

Best Maui place to snorkel Coral Gardens is located south of Olowalu and facing the scenic West Maui Mountains. Here you will get a chance to see tropical fish and swim with green sea turtles.

A variety of marine life thrives in the waters at Coral Gardens. It is home to tropical fish such as angelfish, butterflyfish, triggerfish, and parrotfish. 

  • Address: HI-30, Wailuku, HI 96793
  • Open 24 hours

The best way to travel to the snorkeling spot at Coral Gardens is via boat. The oceanfronts to the West Maui Mountains offer protection from strong winds which makes water sports favorable year-round.

Snorkel and explore the vast ocean and the vibrant marine life in Hawaii
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A guided snorkel tour of Coral Gardens is offered by Malolo Molokini Snorkeling Charters for $69.95 per person. You will cruise on a 55-foot catamaran and discover the vibrant Pacific marine life.

  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Departure Location: Maalaea Harbor
  • Choose a snorkeling trip to either Molokini Crater or Coral Gardens
  • Snorkeling gear and flotation devices are provided

8. Black Rock

Black Rock is a famous spot for adventurous activities such as cliff jumping and snorkeling. It is located at the northern end of Kaanapali Beach.

The nice sandy beach offers a preeminent beach-going experience to visitors. The beach entrance here makes it easy to enter the waters for snorkelers of all levels and skills.

Although, you must keep your distance from the rocks while entering the waters. Furthermore, people love to cliff jump into the ocean so, you need to watch for jumpers as well.

A bird's eye view of Black Rock beach with the Sheraton Hotel on situated on the shore
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This iconic backdrop in West Maui splits Ka'anapali in half. The oceanfront place is situated right in front of the best beach hotel in Maui, Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa.

  • Address: 2605 Ka’anapali Parkway, Lahaina, HI 96761
  • Time to Snorkel: Year-round
  • Onsite Parking at the garage beneath Sheraton
  • Snorkeling Gear Rental Nearby: Boss Frog's and Maui Snorkel Store

9. Ulua Beach

Ulua Beach lies in the Wailea resort complex development on the southern shore of Maui. The beautiful soft sandy beach stretches over 1,500 feet in Wailea.

The north end of the oceanfront around the reef is the best spot for diving into the water. You can begin your underwater venture from Ulua and swim right all way around the reef of Mokapu.

A panoramic view of the boardwalk along Ulua Beach located on the south shore of Maui
Source : istockphoto

Situated between two rocky points, Ulua is the neighboring beach of Mokapu. There lies a reef system between them which provides a home to diverse marine life.

Experience the best beach-going experience at Ulua in the morning. It is up to you to decide whether to jog on the soft sands, relax under the sun or to get into the water.

Ulua Beach is a kid-friendly oceanfront area where the little ones can explore rocks and enjoy tidepools. The onsite amenities you can find are:

  • Onsite Parking
  • Outdoor showers and restrooms
  • Shaded areas

10. Ahihi Bay

Ahihi Bay is located about 5 miles outside of Kihei along Makena Alanui Road. Waiala Cove is a popular, semi-protected spot to snorkel at the Bay.

To reach to the cove, head south on Piilani Highway and turn right onto Wailea Ike. Road. In the end, turn left at Wailea Alanui and continue down the path for 2.6 miles.

Furthermore, take a left onto Makena Road and head south for 1.8 miles and you will reach the cove. There is a designated onsite parking area across the street.

A calm and serene environment that makes for a perfect beach experience at Ahihi Bay
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Waiala Cove is one of the favorites among tourists for snorkeling. However, entry can be difficult in low tide due to the shallow waters. There is a concrete slab you can shoot down from.

Be mindful of the fragile coral, then you can freely explore the whole area. While underwater, you can spot beautiful tropical fishes such as Wrasse, Tang, Moorish Idol, Convict, Lionfish, and more.

11. Wailea Beach

Wailea Beach is a sandy public oceanfront area that offers a lot of fun-filled beach activities for all age groups. Visitors can go swimming, snorkeling, or lie down in the sun.

The conditions for watersports are favorable year-round at Wailea. The place lies between the ocean and the best all inclusive resort Grand Wailea Resort, which makes it even more fancy.

A beautiful sunset views captured at Wailea Beach
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The lava rock formations and several satellite reefs offer a wonderful opportunity for you to explore the ocean. Even if you are lying down on the beach, you get a wonderful view of Kaho'olawe and Molokini Crater.

When the whale season is in full swing, you have a good chance to spot the humpbacks. Additional details of Wailea Beach are listed below:

  • Address: Kihei, HI 96753
  • Opening Hours: 7 am to 8 pm daily
  • Onsite amenities include showers and restrooms