Honolua Bay’s position on the northwest coast of Maui makes it an ideal spot for surfers. Winter is the best time for this, because that’s when the swells are biggest. The huge barrel waves here are renowned for their incredibly long riding time, so if you are experienced, join the fun! If you want to brush up your skills first, sign up for a surf lesson there are good surf schools around. In the summer, Honolua Bay is great for snorkeling.
The beach here is small, so if you want to watch the surfing, it’s best to go to the bluffs above the bay for a better vantage point. In December, Honolua Bay hosts the Billabong Pro Maui women’s surf competition. This showcases some of the best female surfing talent in the world. If you’re looking for other surf hotspots, travel to Ho‘okipa Beach Park further north. It also hosts competitions, but the beach there is more comfortable.
While Honolua Beach itself is not great for a walk or relaxing, due to its rocky terrain, a walk through the vegetation over the top of the cliffs is idyllic. Take your camera, because the view over the bay is beautiful, especially at sunset.
Waters are calmer during the summer months, and you can get up-close to fish, turtles and coral if you go for a snorkel. The surrounding area is part of the Mokuleia Marine Life Conservation District, which ensures that the wildlife is protected. Swim a bit further out for clearer waters the sand near the beach is often stirred up by the waves.
Give snorkeling a miss if it’s been raining, when visibility will be restricted due to run-off waters from the island. Also remember that Honolua Bay is not suitable for inexperienced swimmers or boarders, so don’t attempt to dive into the waves if you’re unsure of their power.
Honolua Bay in West Maui is reached by following the Honoapiilani Highway. Free parking is available near the beach, but it’s limited, so come early in the day. A special access trail leads to the beach.