If you are in search of the best snorkeling in Maui, you will not be disappointed during your visit to our island. Maui is surrounded by hundreds of hot spots for snorkelers and divers; it just depends on where you want to go and what you want to see. Awesome Maui snorkeling opportunities can be just about anywhere on the island, but we’ve compiled the top 10 places to snorkel in Maui that should definitely not be missed.
Best places for Maui snorkeling
Did you know that Maui is known as the #1 Hawaiian Island for snorkeling? Yes, and that is so for many reasons including that Maui is also the best place to learn how to snorkel in Hawaii. For beginners, Maui offers shallow and calm ocean conditions, and yet it’s still wonderful for experienced snorkelers. There are many opportunities to visit drop-offs, ledges, overhangs and the variety of marine life that are recurrent in Maui waters.
The island is also virtually surrounded by hot spots for snorkelers and divers, depending on where you want to go and what you want to see.
The following Top 10 Maui snorkel and diving locations are what we think are the best for beginner to advanced participants with amazing water clarity, and an overall consistent Hawaii snorkeling experience. No matter what time of the year you are planning a trip to the magical island of Maui, you can always find a great location to snorkel.
Located approximately 2.5 miles off of Maui’s south shore, Molokini Crater is an underwater volcano islet. Listed as a Marine Life Conservation District Seabird Sanctuary, this partially submerged crescent-shaped volcanic crater is like no other snorkeling location in the world. It’s also one of the very few volcano islets in the world!
Justly named, Turtle Town is the best place to go snorkeling on Maui if your goal is to see the Hawaiian green sea turtles in action! Thanks to the Endangered Species Act (ESA), this stretch of ocean is home to a particularly dense population of the beloved Hawaiian green sea turtle.
Coral Gardens in Hawaii is located near the center of the West Maui shoreline. This excellent snorkeling location is home to a large number of brightly colored fish, breathtakingly gorgeous coral reef formations, and the occasional Hawaiian green sea turtle.
Honolua Bay is located about twenty minutes North of Lahaina Town on Maui’s North-West Shore. It’s one of the most incredible locations on Maui, providing plenty of remarkable underwater and out-of-water scenery for residents and visitors.
If you are a good swimmer and a relatively experienced snorkeler, Five Caves is another fantastic spot for some of the best snorkeling on Maui. Also known as ‘Five Graves’ (because it’s near a graveyard), it is also a super popular location for experienced Maui scuba divers.
Black Rock is located on Ka’anapali Beach in West Maui and has won numerous awards as one of the best places to go in Maui. Ka’anapali sandy Beach over 3 miles of white beach, a boardwalk, resorts and hotels, restaurants, shopping, and nightlife.
Located between Kahana and Kapalua is the legendary Napili Beach area. Napili is surrounded by a quiet community of residents and vacation rentals but still remains to be one of the sleepiest little areas on Maui. Napili in itself is a true Hawaiian gem.
Kapalua Bay is one of the most remarkable beaches on Maui, a perfect West Maui locale to explore while on vacation in Hawaii. Kapalua translates to kapa and lua in the ancient Hawaiian language, meaning “two borders.” Kapalua Bay is perfectly positioned between Oneloa Bay and Honokahua Bay, which explains its centrally located namesake.
Once known as “Kaula’uo Beach,” this concealed South Maui beach is now more commonly recognized as ‘Ulua Beach, named after a popular Hawaiian fish. ‘Ulua Beach is definitely a hot spot for residents and experienced scuba divers, but it’s more frequented by resort guests.
Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve
Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve is believed to be one of the most delicate and youngest eco-reef zones on Maui. This small cove is a great place to snorkel if you are with a small group, especially with young children or those who don’t feel comfortable in open water.
Remember that Maui’s unique reef-zones are important to respect and protect!
Mahalo for reading our Top 10 Snorkeling Spots in Maui article! We know that this list of ‘Best of Maui Snorkeling Spots’ is only skin-deep for all the amazing snorkeling locations Maui has to offer. We hope that you seek out these locations and remember that Maui’s unique reef-zones are essential to respect and protect!
We invite you to share our list and your experiences with your family and friends.