Kapalua Bay Snorkeling

Maui Snorkeling

Kapalua Bay Snorkeling

Kapalua Bay is a sheltered white sand beach on the north west side of Maui.  The bay is protected by two reefs that extend out on both ends forming a C-shaped cove making it ideal for snorkeling.

The bay's calm water makes it one of those perfect places for beginner snorkeling and is an ideal spot to take the kids.  Getting into the water couldn’t be easier.  The ocean will literally be a few feet from your beach towel.  The Kapalua Bay Hotel overlooks the beach’s soft sand and tranquil blue water.

Kapalua Bay is a fairly popular beach because of it’s peaceful beauty and convenience, but you still should have plenty of room to lay out your beach towel.  Somehow Kapalua Bay retains an un-crowded look and feel.

Insider Tip: The center of the bay is sandy so the water will be slightly cloudy, especially if it’s windy.  Walk to the north end of the beach and snorkel along the rocky edge.  There will be less sand there so the water visibility will be better and there will be much more fish.  The depth along the northern edge is about 10 feet or less, so you’ll get an up close view of the reef.  The farther out towards the northern point you swim, the clearer the water will get.

Here’s just some of the fish I’ve seen in Kapalua Bay: butterfly fish, parrot fish, damsel fish, surgeon fish, moorish idol, tang, wrasse, box fish, perch, chub, trigger fish, the former Hawaii State Fish Humuhumunukunukuapuaa, goat fish, porcupine fish, hawk fish, scorpion fish, jacks, cornet fish, crustaceans, and invertebrates.

Beach parking is conveniently located next to the public showers and restrooms.  The parking lot is a little on the small side for the popularity of the beach so be sure to go in the morning to guarantee yourself a stall.  From the parking lot and bathrooms, simply walk down the steps and under the small “tunnel” and you’ll be over looking picturesque Kapalua Bay.

There is another shower located just before you step onto the sand for those that might want a quick rinse after their swim. There are no concession stands on the beach so you’ll need to bring your snacks and drinks with you.  There is also no lifeguard on duty.

Kapalua Bay Map
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Driving time from Kahului Airport to Kapalua Bay is approximately 60 minutes.

Check out these other great Maui snorkeling beaches.

This page is dedicated to Emiliano "Emi" Ele Ramos, who's smile and laughter embodied the aloha spirit.

Snorkel Wisely
I know… I know… but it has to be said. The Hawaii snorkeling information contained within these pages is meant only as a general guide as to what to expect when visiting the Hawaiian Islands. As beautiful and mild as Hawaii usually is, weather is always unpredictable. Know your swimming ability. Be prudent and take into consideration the weather and environmental conditions when planning your beach activities. Obey warning signs, they are there to protect you. “Those waves don’t look that bad” are famous last words. I want you to enjoy all that our beautiful islands have to offer. Just use common sense, ok.

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