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Olowalu Beach

Beach Location: Along Honoapiilani Highway near Mile Marker 14, Lahaina, HI 96761
Amenities: Trash bins dot the area.
Time to snorkel: Year round
Kid Friendly: Yes
Lifeguards: No
Parking: Once you are near Mile Marker 14, park on the ocean side of Honoapiilani Highway with your car facing the ocean. Make sure you do not park in soft sand – it can be very hard to get your car out. As soon as you get out of the car and into the sunshine, you’ve found Olowalu; it is right before you.

Olowalu is an amazing place, partly because of its biological history. Some of the corals here are estimated to be 500 years old! And more importantly, this is one of the Hawaiian Islands’ “Mother Reefs.” When corals spawn, they release gametes into the water that come together to form polyps. Some of these polyps disperse with the current before settling in an appropriate place to start a new coral colony or add to an existing one. It turns out that coral polyps released at Olowalu are carried to other West Maui reefs, and some travel all the way to the neighbor islands of Lanai and Molokai, seeding reefs there! This connection is incredible! (And so, incidentally, was the science experiment that helped lead to that discovery. It’s not as though people got into the water and slowly followed baby corals – who cannot swim – for hours on end. So how did they do it? You’ll find out when you read the article.)

So, besides awesome science, what’s in it for you at Olowalu?

  • A HUGE reef to explore with snorkeling gear
  • A long and narrow beach on which to gaze across the channel at Lanai
  • A great place to see humpback whales off the coast, when the whales are in town

Are you ready to experience this epic reef?  When you’ve got the drive to explore it, we’ve got the gear you need for it!


Olowalu Rating by Boss Frog's
  • Water Clarity - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Wildlife Abundance - 8/10
    8/10
  • Reef Abundance - 9/10
    9/10
  • Ease of Beach Access - 6/10
    6/10
  • Sandy Beach For Entertaining - 1/10
    1/10

Summary

Considered by many to be some of the best snorkeling in Maui, Olowalu offers 450 acres of coral to explore while searching for interesting Maui sea life. Sometimes called Mile Marker 14, that's what you'll look for as you head south from Lahaina. You can easily spend the whole day checking out the Olowalu reef.

View top 25 snorkeling beaches map and our complete beach guide page.

If you have any questions, feel free to call us at 1-808-661-3333.

6.5/10

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