Honolua Bay Travel Guide
If you’re looking to snorkel or surf, Honolua Bay is an excellent destination depending on the time of year. There’s also a gorgeous lookout, so if you’re in the area you can take in an awesome view without having to hike. There are also several places from which to rent snorkel equipment or surfboards in the surrounding area.
Keep in mind that this area is part of the Marine Life Conservation District, so take extra special care of the bay. There is no fishing allowed, and it is illegal to alter the coral in any way. It is also a great idea to use reef-safe sunscreens that won’t bleach coral and to avoid disturbing the marine life as much as possible.
Honolua Lipoa Point Maui | Photo by Forest & Kim Starr, CC BY 3.0 US, via Wikimedia Commons
Honolua Bay Access Trail
There are two locations for free parking for the bay, and a short access trail to hike down. The hike is about half a mile from the lot near Honolua Farms and only a couple hundred feet from the lot about a half a mile east. Neither are steep, but the shorter option requires that you cross a shin-height creek.
If you're taking Shaka Guide's West Maui Coastline Tour, Honolua Bay is a stop along the route!
Clear waters of Honolua Bay | Photo by Jess Mann, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Honolua Bay Surf and Snorkel
During the winter, Honolua Bay is an awesome place to catch some waves thanks to the increased swells which form larger waves. These swells and waves make for murkier water, however, so it’s often best to save snorkeling in this area to the summer months from April to October.
The rocky shore and cove also help keep the water clear so when the snorkeling here is good, it’s very good. Swimming becomes extremely easy and visibility usually stretches at least 50 feet during the summer. Though if it has been raining, you’ll probably want to choose a different destination. The stream that flows into the bay creates cloudy conditions when it’s currents increase after rain.
You can find all the tropical fish of Hawaii as well as green sea turtles along the vibrant reef (just remember to keep a respectful distance). To get to the best snorkeling, however, you’ll need to swim about half a mile to the north end of the bay. To find this spot, swim to the north end of the bay until you reach the reef. From there, the further away from shore you’re able to get the more clear the water becomes.
There are no lifeguards on duty or restrooms available. Since there are no lifeguards, and you’ll have to swim a fair distance to reach the best snorkel spots we recommend this location for intermediate to advanced snorkelers.
Snorkel Equipment and Surf Board Rentals
A bit south of Honolua Bay in the town of Kapalua, you can find a few great places from which to rent snorkel equipment and surfboards. Boss Frogs and Snorkel Bob’s are great places to rent snorkels, masks, and fins. You can get stand up paddleboards and surfboards delivered to your location from 808 Boards or pick them up at their location in Kapalua.
RELATED TOURS: West Maui Coastline Tour, Sunrise at Haleakala National Park, Sunset and Stargazing at Haleakala National Park, Classic Road to Hana Tour, Loop Road to Hana Tour, and Reverse Road to Hana Tour
When you're in Hawaii, remember that the beaches and marine life are fragile. Please show your aloha by wearing reef safe sunscreen, respecting the animals - don't get too close or touch them EVER - and by leaving the beach better than you found it. For more on how to be a safe and responsible traveler when you visit Hawaii, click here.