Along with Maui surfing and stand-up paddle board, Maui snorkeling is a favorite pastime of both visitors and locals. Boasting some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Hawaii, Maui offers some amazing snorkeling spots with calm, clear waters, coral reefs, and a variety of stunning marine life. You’ll definitely want to put snorkeling on your list of things to do in Maui. But which Maui snorkeling spots are the best? Here’s a list of our favorite snorkeling spots.
This partially submerged volcano crater lies just off the southwest coast of Maui and is probably the most popular snorkeling spot in all of Maui. Some of the clearest waters in Maui are at Molokini (often with 150 feet of visibility) making it a favorite snorkeling as well as diving location. As a State Marine Life and Bird Conservation District where no fishing is allowed, Molokini Crater is home to a wide assortment of marine life including over 200 species of tropical fish, manta rays, reef sharks, moray eels, parrot fish, whale sharks living amid a brilliant array of coral reefs. Molokini snorkeling is best next to the shoreline, within 15 feet, and the best time to snorkel at Molokini is in the morning before the trade winds pick up. You will have to take a chartered boat from Maalaea Harbor to snorkel Molokini, but this will undoubtedly be one of your most memorable Maui vacation spots (along with your favorite Maui surf spots of course).
Black Rock at Ka’anapali Beach
One of the most popular beaches in all of Maui, Kaanapali Beach in West Maui is known for its 3-mile-long white sandy beach that ends in a wall of lava rock to the north known as Black Rock. This location offers some great snorkeling with depths of up to 25 feet. The lava rock wall at Black Rock is home to gorgeous coral reef formations with a variety of marine life including Hawaiian green sea turtles, porcupine fish, box fish, butterfly fish, and an assortment of other tropical fish species. It’s best to snorkel at Black Rock when the waters are calm as there can be strong currents near the point.
Located on the northwest shore of Maui about 20 minutes from Lahaina, Honolua Bay offers an incredible snorkeling experience. This Marine Life Conservation District surrounded by rocky cliffs is home to an unbelievable diversity of marine life including a spectacular array of tropical fish, Hawaiian green sea turtles, and coral reefs that just abound in these protected waters. Most of the marine life and coral are located on the right or north side of the bay, but be careful walking on the rocks because they can be very slippery. Honolua Bay is also known as a great Maui surf spot, especially when there’s a north swell, so the best time for snorkeling here is on a calm day. The famous Maui surf break at Honolua Bay is out on the far north point.
Located between Nuhuna Point and Black Sand Beach on the southern coast of Maui near Maluaka Beach Park, Turtle Town, as its name suggests, is known for its large population of Hawaiian green sea turtles. The calm waters of Maluaka Beach and Turtle Town make it great for snorkeling along with Maluaka’s beautiful white, sandy beaches. A beautiful assortment of tropical fish along with coral reefs also call Turtle Town home. See these amazing creatures in their natural habitat in the pristine waters of Maui at Turtle Town.
These are just a few of the incredible Maui snorkeling locations on the Valley Isle. After your Maui surf lesson or SUP lesson with Hawaiian Style Surf, check out some of these amazing snorkeling beaches and locations to see all the wonder that Maui has to offer beneath the ocean’s surface.
“Molokini Aerial” by Forest & Kim Starr – http://www.hear.org/starr/hiplants/images/thumbnails/html/portulaca_molokiniensis.htm. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Molokini_Aerial.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Molokini_Aerial.jpg