Olowalu Beach
Olowalu Beach
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Duration: 2-3 hours
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4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles35 reviews
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11
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8
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2

busitrav33
Phoenix, AZ77 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2016 • Couples
We got to Maui on an overcast day that was a little rainy but still warm weather, so we asked our entertainment adviser, Linda, at the Royal Lahaina (see review of that resort) where we should go snorkeling. Normally on the islands, it's best to head south when it's cloudy, so she recommended we try Olowalu Beach at mile marker 14 because the water is shallow there and there is a lot of live coral reefs, so lots of tropical fish. Also, not a lot of tourists go there, so the fish aren't afraid of people.

This turned out to be a fantastic recommendation and was some of the best snorkeling of our entire trip. It's just past Leoda's Pies on Highway 30 on the west side of the road. It is a state park, so it is fine to park there, but the "parking" that is designated is just a patch of sand. We followed her recommendation and parked on the sand near the road, not near the trees, which she said was safest for our car (she said the sand closer to the trees is not as stable).

The beach itself is largely deserted, nobody there. While we were there, there were two other groups of people who came and that was it. As for the snorkeling, it was unbelievable! There's a ton of live coral out there that is brimming with colorful fish that pretty much ignore you while you float overhead. You can swim out really, really far and it remains pretty shallow, so it's very safe and nice and warm. I myself got to swim with a sea turtle for quite a distance and saw a lot of variety of colorful fish as well.

We also got approached by a family of chickens while we were sitting on the beach, which was fun, and respecting Hawaiian environmental requests of visitors, we did not feed them, so they eventually went away, but it was so cute to see the rooster, hen and little chicks!

Because this is a relatively unspoiled little beach, there are no bathroom or shower facilities, so be aware that you will need to prepare for that (protection for your car for when you get back in it, etc). I do believe you could get a wheelchair down to the beach fairly easily, however--it is pretty flat going, although there are a few trees with roots that may have to be navigated.
Written November 6, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Island_Sherry
Victoria, Canada69 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2016 • Couples
I had heard of Olowalu Beach reef last year when we were on Maui, but didnt get a chance to stop. This year, we made the time for two days' worth of snorkelling here, and it was amazing.
Starting about 15 minutes south of Lahaina, Olowalu Beach is the first of a series of beach parks (including Ukumehame and Papalua state parks) on the makai side of the highway that are excellent for snorkelling and swimming in almost any weather. Largely protected from the easterly trade winds, this 3.5km/2.5mi stretch is often swimmable when other Maui beaches are not due to high surf and strong currents.
Olowalu is the most northerly beach on this stretch. I also found it the most interesting and rich in coral formations, as well as fish and other sea life (and cleaner, too. There are places all along these beaches strewn with trash and castoff clothing left by uncaring beachgoers).
Heading south on Honoapi'iliani highway and starting at the tall tsunami siren, park safely off the highway anywhere along the beach, but not too close. Soft sand and kiawe-tree thorns can cause grief to your vehicle.
The water is shallow and warm all along this stretch, and in many places, the reef (and fish) comes right up to the beach. Perfect for beginners! The kiawe trees provide shade from the hot sun, and although the highway is nearby, the traffic noise wasn't bad at all.
Virtually no facilities, though, and no lifeguards. Farther south along the beach are a couple of portable toilets, but that's all. Olowalu General Store and market are about 1.5km/1mi north; food and water can be purchased there, but otherwise you should be prepared to be self-sufficient at these beaches.
In the water, the reef system is amazing. Towers and columns, plateaus and canyons...the reef goes on for as far as you can swim, and actually gets better the farther out you go. Most of Maui's fish species can be seen here, including the humu. Turtles (honu), too, if you're lucky!
Definitely a must-do on Maui if you want great snorkelling and swimming, whether you're a beginner, or an advanced snorkeller. Don't forget the camera!
Tips:
-go early. Try to get here before 9am if you can. The water is generally clearer and calmer, and you'll get a better spot on the beach. These beaches can get crowded quickly.
-respect the reef. It's a living organism; don't walk on it, touch it, or take pieces of it home as a souvenir. Take only photos!
-wear reef/water shoes, and watch where you step. Coral can be sharp (as are the kiawe tree thorns!), and the reef area abounds with urchins. All of these can result in a nasty wound and infection.
Written December 26, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

herrmanndus
Kihei, HI1 contribution
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2018 • Couples
It is so sad, here you can see what humans can do! The reef is approximatly to 99.9 percent dead! Only the dead skeletons are still there sometimes with very small pieces of living polyps.
Written August 6, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Canadianswhotravel16
Edmonton, Canada682 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2017 • Couples
This beach is located just off the main HWY at mile marker 14 about 7 min drive south of Lahaina. Check out the eats at Leoda's which is opposite the road to the beach about 2 mins drive you can't miss it. This beach doesn't offer the best sand for playing or laying out really but its tollerable. The location is the best for Kayaking and snorkeling. The Kayak rentals are located on the beach and although I am not sure of all the rental terms for every company, you can take them out pretty far off the shoreline giving you access to the coral garden reef only accessible by boat. This is also an opportunity to see the whales up close and personal during the winter months. The coral garden reef being located a little ways off the shoreline I think is the reason there are so many fish species to view. Start heading left towards the rocks and out to the coral for the best spots. The best time really is anytime from what we found. You can also hit this beach on the way to more snorkel spots going north.
Written February 15, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Myleigh814
Denver, CO6 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019
The snorkeling was amazing. I recommend going out far (visibility is much better), and swimming in a channel as far as you can. Little sand channels will spread in the middle of the reef, and they're good for when you're trying to get out and not hit your fins on the reef. We saw lots of fish, a grand total of 7 turtles, and mountains of coral. Pretty magical. The beach isn't an amazing beach- thorns and sticks everywhere, side of the street parking, and the sand was grey in color. I did like the amount of trees because they provided shade and a place to hang your stuff. Recommend for anyone looking to snorkel!
Written October 18, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Eldon-Vancouver
Vancouver, Canada495 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2018 • Couples
Our Gypsy Guide said to stop here and some reviews said it was good snorkeling so we decided to stop here after having some pie at Leoda's. There really isn't any official parking spots except off the road on the sand and there are no facilities at all. The day we were here, it pretty much was deserted. There were 2 other people, but they left soon after we arrived so we were alone. It seemed like it might be okay to snorkel here, but we decided not to because of the sign warning of sharks. The beach seemed to be a bit neglected now because the beach sign was broken and leaning against a tree and there was a bit of garbage on the ground. We decided to just relax and take a nap on the sand instead since it was so quiet. Probably wouldn't visit here again because there are lots of other spots to snorkel, with more facilities and parking.
Written March 2, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Matt M
Pleasant Grove, Utah15 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2018
I was told by a local spear fisherman to go to this beach and look for the Umamaulea fish. We were out for 2 1/2 hours and had a blast. First time spear fishing so we treated the outing more like a snorkeling trip with a couple of fish as a bonus. The water was calm and clear and there are fish everywhere. Had a blast.
Written February 27, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Celi18
Mukwonago, WI20 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2018 • Couples
Was told by a local dive shop to snorkel here. The water was shallow and calm so easy to snorkel around the many reefs. Some of the reefs are close to shore so check before you start to swim. Lots of fish to see, no turtles that I saw. Beach wasn't crazy busy like others we saw, plenty of room to snorkel by yourself with no one else around.
Written February 18, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Waikiki
36 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019 • Couples
Here is the very spot for snorkeling, the sea is calm, beach is very long, you can find easily places for young children.
We go far to the reefs for snorkeling and meet turtles, the young ones are colorful. My daughter had met a 5 feet shark at 20 feet deep...
Written December 18, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Wayne G
Calgary, Canada933 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2019 • Couples
This spot was recommended to us by The Snorkel Store and it did not disappoint. We snorkeled here three times and each time was fantastic. LOTS of fish to see, turtles present, really cool reefs to explore and there are not that many people here. Snorkeling the reefs were really neat, it was like following a maze of hallways where there was an adventure around every corner. There was so much to explore and it did not disappoint.
Written May 6, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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