Snorkeling Kama’ole Beaches

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Snorkeling Kamaole Beach

Sunny mornings on Maui call for epic snorkeling adventures. Looking down on south Maui from 2000 feet elevation in Pukalani, the weather on this particular day looked exceptional for snorkeling. Checking Maui Snorkel Report By Boss Frog’s™ to confirm my optimistic outlook, the forecast for snorkeling Kamaole Beaches in south Maui showed a 9 out of 10 rating. Thanks to the accurate forecast provided by this daily snorkel report for Maui, my days of arriving at a beach with sub-par snorkeling conditions are over! 

The Three ‘Kam’ Beaches

The beaches at Kamaole 1, Kamaole 2, and Kamaole 3 span more than two miles of Maui’s beautiful coastline and are fit for a postcard. With soft sands, azure waters, and stunning coastal scenery, these beaches epitomize the quintessential Hawaiian paradise. An obvious must-visit for anyone planning a vacation to Kihei, all three Kam beaches are an excellent day trip from anywhere else on the island. The Kam beaches in south Maui are connected by the well established Kihei Coastal Trail, a great way to get some steps in and absorb the stunning coastline.

Conveniently located in the bustling town of Kihei, all the town’s best restaurants, shops, and vacation rentals are within walking distance of Kamaole Beach 1, 2 and 3. The jagged coral formations that divide these beaches also happen offer some of the best snorkeling on Maui! 

A Bit of History

Originally, the area now occupied by Kamaʻole Beach Park was home to a thriving Hawaiian fishing community. It also served as a spot for the leisure of Hawaiian ali‘i (royalty). In 1778, Captain George Vancouver made landfall on the shores opposite the current location of the Aston Maui Lu. During World War II, Kihei hosted a significant military presence, including the Navy Demolition Training Center. Following the war, Kihei remained a quiet town until the tourism boom of the 1960s. Since then, the population has skyrocketed from 1,636 residents in 1970 to approximately 30,000 today, and Kihei has become one of the world’s premier vacation destinations.

Driving to the Kam Beaches 

Kam 1, 2 and 3 are found one after another, all along South Kihei Road. Kam 1 is the northernmost of the trio, followed by Kam 2 and Kam 3 sequentially towards the south. Convenient parking lots are available near each beach entrance, providing easy access for visitors. In the likely event that these lots fill up, there is street parking available all along South Kihei Road. 

To get to these beaches, head south on Piilani Highway until you reach Alanui Ke’ali’i. Turn right at the light, and head all the way down to the coast to Kamaole I. Park here, or turn left to head towards Kam II and Kam III. If you plan to see all Kam beaches, I suggest parking at Kam II so you can easily walk north or south to the neighboring beaches. This was my strategy and it worked out well!

Renting Snorkel Gear on Maui

Before embarking on my snorkel session, I needed to rent quality snorkeling gear. Thankfully, there is one of many Boss Frog’s locations on Maui right across the street from Kam 2. I wasn’t kidding when I mentioned the convenient location of these beaches! I stopped in, rented some fins and a quality snorkel, as well as a GoPro to record my journey and maybe even some footage of snorkeling with turtles! 

At 9:30 am, I arrived for snorkeling Kamaole beaches and admired how comfortable these south Maui beaches are. They have all the amenities you could possibly want and more! There are BBQ’s for sunset picnics, lifeguards keeping everyone safe, restrooms, benches, showers, and even a volleyball court. All beach and water activities are best in the morning hours, so you’ll find the beaches get busy early. 

Snorkeling Kamaole Beaches

The sandy beach at Kam 2 slopes gently, making it an easy place to enter the ocean. I began my snorkeling adventure at the reef system between Kam 2 and 3. Swimming approximately forty yards out to reach the reef, I was dazzled by the variety of coral. The ocean floor is covered in fragments of porites (finger coral), montipora (rice coral), and pocillopora (branching coral). A reminder to maintain a safe distance from the fragile living coral, just like any other animal in the marine ecosystem. It is important to keep hands to yourself as well as follow these ocean safety tips while snorkeling Kamaole Beaches on Maui.

Marine Life at Kamaole Beaches

The ocean began to come alive with Hawaiian reef fish the farther I went in the water! Initially, all I could see was a lone parrotfish shimmering in the sun streaming through the water, along with a few black triggerfish. Then, as I turned the corner, swarms of marine life crowded the ocean. Yellowfin goatfish and trumpetfish were gathered in several groups. I also saw racoon butterflyfish, yellow tang, and moorish idol. The most memorable experience for me was fulfilling my dream of snorkeling with turtles! Crossing my fingers for a turtle sighting all morning, I was so glad I had my rented GoPro to document this magical moment. The footage is in the recap video below, be sure to watch it!

Three Convenient Beaches for Snorkeling in Kihei

Sufficiently appeased by my turtle fix, I decided to see what the snorkeling at the north end of Kam 2 had to offer. Rather than swimming (it’s a long swim), I strolled along the shore to the northern end. I honestly wasn’t as impressed by the snorkeling here. Keep in mind, by the time I arrived the waves had gotten stronger, so the water was silty. This always makes it tougher to see marine life. But don’t just take my word for it! The beauty of snorkeling is that every day holds something a bit different. I’m sure this reef system is normally teeming with marine life, so I still suggest giving it a try in calm conditions.  

After a fulfilling day exploring the Kam beaches, I can confidently say they are a must-visit for anyone planning a vacation to Maui. Whether you’re a novice looking for a beginner-friendly snorkel spot or hoping for a chance encounter with a Hawaiian green sea turtle, the Kam beaches offer plenty of space for an unforgettable snorkeling experience.