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The Best Snorkeling Spots On Maui

Maui’s beaches are some of the best in all of Hawaii for snorkeling

Explore Maui’s spectacular underwater world of green sea turtles and assortment of salt-water fish. Enter by one of Maui’s beautiful beaches, many of which are protected bays that keep the larger waves out and the winds away providing top conditions for your snorkeling pleasure.

Top Maui Snorkeling

Top Maui Snorkeling - Molokini Crater
1. Molokini Crater

One of Maui’s premier snorkeling destinations two miles from the south coast of Maui, Molokini is a volcanic caldera that offers some of the clearest water in the world. A popular snorkeling spot with an abundance of ocean life. The inner waters are protected and the backside of the crater has one of the best wall dives and is also a famous scuba diving spot.

Tours are available leaving from Kihei, Maalaea, and Lahaina.

Location: South Maui (Offshore)

Top Maui Snorkeling - Turtle Town
2. Turtle Town

Located south of Wailea, in Makena, Maluaka Beach is definitely a favorite snorkel location on Maui. The infamous and controversial Turtle Town’s location is widely contested, the conclusion is that Turtle Town is where ever a lot of turtles have been seen recently. To find the turtles, head to the south end, where the beach becomes rocky. Besides the green and brown turtles, you’ll see plenty of varieties of fish and possibly some eels. During whale season, this beach is also an excellent spot to see humpback whales.

Maluaka Beach, AKA Turtle Town (Makena) is excellent for the entire family.

Location: South Maui

Top Maui Snorkeling - Coral Gardens
3. Coral Gardens

Coral Gardens is the name given to the area along the cliffs of the Pali. The Pali is the area along the coastline from Ukumehame and Papalaua to Maalaea. There are many great spots to snorkel here, but they’re often impossible to access by car or foot. The cliffs are incredibly steep and unstable, which is great for keeping wind and crowds down but not so good for access.

A nice alternative when the wind is up at Molokini Crater.

Location: West Maui

Top Maui Snorkeling - Honolua Bay
4. Honolua Bay

Located on the lush northwest tip of Maui, Honolua Bay is a marine preserve situated in a large bay surrounded by rocky cliffs sheltering it on both sides from the wind. Honolua Bay is a snorkeler’s paradise but it is not recommended to snorkel when there are waves. Follow the forest path from the main road to get to shore. Don’t be disappointed by the murky water when you first enter. As you get further from shore, the water becomes crystal clear. Some of the best snorkeling is further up the coastline on the right and left side where you’ll find lots of coral, fish, and probably turtles. The beach is really rocky and it’s not a recommended spot for families with young children.

The Marine Preserve prohibits fishing of any kind making it a treasure of underwater sea life that is second to none on Maui.

Location: West Maui

Top Maui Snorkeling - Slaughterhouse Beach
5. Slaughterhouse Beach

Mokule’ia Bay is also known by the name of “Slaughterhouse.” getting its name from a slaughterhouse that existed above the bay until the ’60s. The spot is located north of Napili on Hwy 30 (Honoapiilani Hwy) at mile marker 32, you’ll see a chain link fence with roadside parking. Once parked, follow the asphalt steps down to the beach. Part of the same nature reserve Honolua Bay, it’s more popular because of its sandy beach. During the winter, the surf here can get intense and the sand all but disappears due to the massive swells and surf. It’s advised that only the most experienced snorkelers attempt to enter. You’ll find there are some deep drop-offs and caves and tunnels to free dive through.

You may not see too many varieties of fish, but you’ll probably see the occasional turtle, octopus, or eel.

Location: West Maui

Top Maui Snorkeling - Napili Bay
6. Napili Bay

One of the most prized West Maui beaches is the world famous Napili Bay, a great beach for beginning snorkelers and families. The sandy beaches allow for easy entry into the water. The best snorkeling is along the far north and south ends of the bay. The water may seem murky at first but will become crystal clear as you continue. The best snorkeling spot is the far right of the beach. Be prepared for a great snorkeling experience with lots of fish species and turtles.

Head here for a great snorkeling experience, Napili Bay is one of the most prized beaches in the world.

Location: West Maui

Top Maui Snorkeling - Kapalua Bay
7. Kapalua Bay

This crescent-shaped bay is a great snorkeling spot in the morning and early afternoon, great for families and beginning snorkelers. It’s blocked on both ends by reefs, keeping the water in the bay calm. With such a wide body of water, this bay offers two main snorkel spots; the recommended sandy entry point on the left side (Lahaina) as the right side (Kapalua) is very rocky. The further out you swim along the north side of the bay, the more fish and coral you will see, so don’t stay in the shallows too long.

Go early to beat the crowds.

Location: West Maui

Top Maui Snorkeling - Honokeana Bay
8. Honokeana Bay

Honokeana Bay is known for being a place where there is a very good chance you will encounter Green Sea Turtles. The Green Sea Turtles love to eat the algae growing along the rocks in the shallow waters. This is a snorkel only spot because it has no beach to speak of and consists of a rocky shoreline. More ideal snorkeling in summer months as swell can occur in the winter.

Better in the summer months since winter swells can bring larger waves.

Location: West Maui

Top Maui Snorkeling - Black Rock
9. Black Rock

Located on the north end of Ka’anapali Beach and in walking distance from many of the high-end resorts along this beach. There are better places to snorkel than Black Rock, but if you’re staying at one of the resorts along Ka’anapali Beach it’s worth visiting. One thing about snorkeling here is that there’s no reef except alongside the Black Rock wall where there are corals that attract fish. The best snorkeling is actually around the point but the water can get rough.

A sandy bottom with great visibility along the rocks that separate South Ka’anapali beach from North Ka’anapali beach.

Location: West Maui

Top Maui Snorkeling - Olowalu Beach Park
10. Olowalu Beach Park

A great snorkeling spot located 10 miles from Lahaina at Mile Marker 14 along highway 30. The water remains shallow long from shore with lots of rock formations, coral and fish to see. The best snorkeling is in the morning before afternoon tradewinds kick up. You won’t find any facilities here though.

Head out in the morning before the tradewinds pick up.

Location: West Maui

Molokini Crater

Tours are available leaving from Kihei, Maalaea, and Lahaina.

Turtle Town

Maluaka Beach, AKA Turtle Town (Makena) is excellent for the entire family.

Coral Gardens

A nice alternative when the wind is up at Molokini Crater.

Honolua Bay

The Marine Preserve prohibits fishing of any kind making it a treasure of underwater sea life that is second to none on Maui.

Slaughterhouse Beach

You may not see too many varieties of fish, but you’ll probably see the occasional turtle, octopus, or eel.

Napili Bay

Head here for a great snorkeling experience, Napili Bay is one of the most prized beaches in the world.

Kapalua Bay

Go early to beat the crowds.

Honokeana Bay

Better in the summer months since winter swells can bring larger waves.

Black Rock

A sandy bottom with great visibility along the rocks that separate South Ka’anapali beach from North Ka’anapali beach.

Olowalu Beach Park

Head out in the morning before the trade winds pick up.