Maui - Lahaina and the North West beaches


Where? : Maui North West

Google Map Link


What? : Maui tourist section, It offers all what you can expect from Hawaiian vacation. The area has less rain and overall warmer weather, long sandy calm beaches, small rocky bays and cove that offer snorkeling opportunities and beginner and intermediate surfing beaches.

The 10 miles stretch from Lahaina to the north is populated by hotels and resorts; has many restaurants and all other aspects you may need as a tourist.


Good: warm, less rain and less wind, Excellent beaches for relaxation, surfing, snorkeling, local trips, some hikes and many tourist attractions. You can find here anything tourist need including some night life (not so much during Corona).

Bad: This location is at the west side of the island so any other activity or day trip on the east side will add at least 1 hr to your drive. Tourist are everywhere, you can’t find here any secluded or quiet places.


My thoughts: We stayed at this section of the island and really like it.

There are many ocean bays and coves at the north section where you can find excellent snorkeling locations. We usually combine half day activity (road trip, hike, snorkeling) and half day enjoying at the beaches/pool.



The visit:


This section of Maui offers all what you can expect from Hawaiian vacation.

The area has less rain and overall warmer weather, long sandy calm beaches, small bays and cove that offer snorkeling opportunities and beginner and intermediate surfing beaches.

The 10 miles stretch from Lahaina to the north is packed with hotels and resorts; you can find here many restaurants and all other facilities you may need as a tourist.

Maui West North Lahaina Section


Lahaina is the main town of this island section, it offers more tourist attractions like restaurants, surf schools, sailing and day cruises from the large marina, souvenirs, stores, and night life.


If you are staying at this side of the island you will probably visit the beaches within a walking distance from your hotel but there are more beaches worth to visit (read below).


In front of the hotel line you can find a 3 miles walking/running deck along the beach, it starts at Hanakao'o Park at the south and ends at Honopiilani Park at the north. Most of the trail is along the beach, in front of the hotels, at some sections (like at black rock) it is passing the hotels on their back side.


Another trail exists at the north beaches, look for Kapalua Coastal Trail. This 2.5-mile trail has more nature sections where the trail is going over the lava rocks above the ocean, it ends at Fleming Beach.


For most cases beaches in Maui has public access, you need to look for the right public parking place and find the trail that will lead you between the hotels to the beach itself.


Beaches and Snorkeling:

The north beaches bays and coves are the best places for snorkeling.

Some have sandy beach and rocky sections on the sides, and some have no sand at all.

There are many such beaches and we did not visit them all.

I will mention here only few of the beaches:

Honolua Bay – must visit place, see below.

Slaughterhouse Beach – small parking along the road, stairs will lead you down to the sandy close beach

Fleming Beach – large sandy bay, with lifeguard station, restrooms and large parking.

Napili Bay – nice sandy beach with snorkeling option on its left side. Small parking lot.

Black Rock Beach – nice lava rock above the ocean (Sheraton Maui Resort), a great place to cliff-jump into the ocean and snorkeling. On both sides of the rock and the hotel there is a long stretch of popular sandy beaches.

Surfing schools – most of the surfing schools are located at Lahaina.

Hwy 30 – there are many miles of sandy beaches and surfing places along hwy 30.


Whale Watching:

During the winter month of November through May thousands of North Pacific Humpback whales grace Hawaiian waters during their annual winter migration.

The whales are located mainly in the waters between Maui and the smaller islands to the south and west, it’s estimated that around half of the humpback whale population migrates to the Maui for breeding every winter. This is the best place in the world to see them up-close.


You can have whale watching tours from Lahaina Harbor. Humpbacks activity can be seen from the shore during whale season (McGregor Point lookout and the west beaches of Kaanapali).

The whales are active throughout the day and their behavior changes from slow swimming to water breaching jump stunts.

From the shore, look out across the horizon for water spray or even boats that are tracking the active whales.


Our hotel was right on the west coast of the island, we had a 3rd floor room with an ocean view. At late afternoons before sunset you can see humpback whale “spray blow” in the distance, at some point they got closer (~1/2 mile from the shore) and start to be more active with jumps and flapping on the water surface, they did it for at least an hour.

We saw the same “show” the day after with even more spectacular jumps.

I learned that scientists think humpback whales are breaching and slapping their fins and flukes on the surface as a way of communicating with other whales, and the big splashes are for sending long-distances messages.

Another interesting fact I learned is that all the time the whales are in Maui they are not eating because there is no food in the sea for them (this is for three to four months), they seem to come to Maui because of the hot water, a kind of diet vacation ....

It was pretty hard to photograph the whales from shore: although clearly visible they were far away, you saw the whales on the surface of the sea and then they dived for 10 minutes and then jumped at some other point, it was hard to know exactly where they are going to pop-up. With the distance and the movement, it was difficult to get good pictures, but I think I manage get some nice ones.



Honolua-Mokuleia Bay

This place is a must visit location.

Not only it provides one of the best Snorkeling locations at the island of Maui but also the short trail leading to the beach will take you through one of the most beautiful jungle trees locations.

There are few “downsides” of this beach: The beach shore is rocky pebbles and without sandy sections. At mid-day you may have problems to find parking along the main road (because of it’s popularity) and you need to hike ¼ of a mile to the beach.

It is not the kind of beach that you go to relax in the sun in a sandy beach.


As stated, parking can be tough at mid-day because it is limited to a few turnouts and roadside parking. From the roadside parking there are a well-marked path through a nice jungle with huge trees and lash vegetation.


The bay is protected under the Marine Life Conservation District, so fishing is not allowed. You’re always guaranteed to see lots of fish, turtles and corals as long as you are willing to swim out from the beach front to one of the rocky sides of the bay.

As you swim out on the sides of the bay the water gets clearer and you can see the corals and the abounded fishes. The right side of the bay is deeper and with more corals, but snorkeling is also recommended in the left rocky sections.

There is a roadside stop overlooking the bay where you can pull up with your car and watch the bay. At winter this bay may be popular for surfing.


Kapalua Coastal Trail

Kapalua Coastal Trail is an easy 2.5 miles long trail (one direction) that is located at the north beaches of Kapalua, section where the lava beds reach all the way to the ocean.

Unlike the south beach trail that is more like a seafront deck walkway, this trail has some unpaved nature sections where the trail is going over the lava rocks above the ocean, the trail ends at Fleming Beach.

Here you can find beautiful rugged shoreline with black lava rock formations and ocean scenery.

Kapalua Coastal Trail

Along the trail you can also find the Kapalua Cliff House nested in a small cove (in front of Montage Kapalua Bay), large Kapalua Labyrinth and the Dragon’s Teeth formation at Makaluapuna Point (in front of the Ritz-Carlton). Makaluapuna Point is a long narrow peninsula getting into the ocean with a row of huge jagged rocks (the dragon teeth), This point offers great views in all directions.


Nakalele Blowhole:

Nakalele Point main attraction is the blowhole.

A blowhole’s looks like a geyser of sea water blowing out from the hole in a rock. The seawater trapped in a lava tube being pressured by the incoming wave, escapes through the large hole in the rocks above. The geyser blast depends on the wave and tide, at the time we visited this place it was not as strong.

Safety section: if you are not careful this can be very dangerous place, not only falling into the blowhole itself but also potential of unexpected waves sweeping across the lava and pulling you into the ocean below. Be careful!


Park your car at the roadside parking at mile marker 38.5 (near the food stand) and walk ¼ mile down to the blowhole (you can see it from the roadside parking lot). The trail down is clear and short although not an easy at some sections.

North of the blowhole there is a trail going through an area called “The Acid War Zone”, a ragged lava rocky section covered with some vegetations.


Places on the way to Lahaina on hwy 30:

·         McGregor whale watching point and nearby lighthouse

·         Coral Gardens

·         Ukumehame Beach Park

·         Olowalu food stands