Overview of Kapalua Bay

Kapalua Bay

Hawaiian Islands


Kapalua bay is a very popular park area for families. All facilities are available here, and access is a quick walk down to the beach.

Directions: Travel North on Highway 31 until mile mark 30.2, then turn left onto Office Road. Travel about .5 mile to the T, then turn left onto Lower Honoapiilani Road. After passing the Kapalua Bay Hotel on your right, and Kapalua Drive on your left, turn right in a few hundred yards into the Kapalua Bay public access parking.


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05/14/2012 William Terrill (Avg: 3.65 Review) - As good as it was for me in 2008. Fairly clear conditions, swam with 2 Blacktip reef sharks and a Greater Barracuda on the north side of Bay.

09/10/2009 Joseph Meyer (Avg: 3.09 Review) - Lovely, lovely spot, but it was much nicer before the demolition of the Kapalua Bay Hotel and construction of the Ritz Carlton Club. They washed the construction dirt off the trucks into the storm drain, and right into the bay, where it has essentially killed the reef. All of Kapalua's green-washing cannot eradicate that stain. I'll go to Kapalua for the beach, but I'll head over to Honolua for snorkeling.

08/18/2009 DB (Avg: 4.60 Review) - The wife and I spent two weeks in Maui this July. We rented shore diving gear from Pacific Dive Company in Lahaina. The rentals were inexpensive and the shop hooked us up with some local shore dive info. Since Kapalua Bay had been rated 1 of the top 10 beaches overall by Sunset magazine, we knew we had to dive it. Parking was great if you get there early enough, showers and a bathroom within a few feet of it. The beach is just a short walk down a paved path, a small hike. Once at the beach, we entered on the left for our first dive and the right for our second. The right side put us on the best area to dive. Average depth was 20-35', vis- 25-50', temp- 73-74. We surface swam about 200 feet before descending. Lots of snorkelers overhead, turtles, coral and Hawaiian fish were everywhere. We came back and dove this site two more times. Beach gets a little crowded in the afternoon, so it is best to get there before 9am.

05/08/2009 S. Williams (Avg: 3.78 Review) - This is a great place for a diver who has limited experience entering from the shore. There are large grass areas where you can suit up without getting sand in all of your gear. There are showers right next to the beach to rinse off when done diving. I saw the largest sea turtle yet at this location. Morays, turtles, and fish galore!!! Excellent dive spot for beginners and a nice relaxing dive for the experienced. I highly recommend it!!!

10/13/2008 William Terrill (Avg: 4.38 Review) - Great snorkeling site with easy shore entry. Lots of sea life over coral and rocks throughout the bay. For larger and more varied sealife, work out along deeper reef in the center and on the long fingers of reef extending from the points. I saw my first eagle ray of the trip in the center of the bay.

05/16/2008 B Kuhn (Avg: 3.91 Review) - Kapalua Bay 31 ft . Easy beach dive with washroom and showers. This site is a popular beach and dive site for local dive classes and can be dove throughout the day since the bay is very sheltered. Parking is limited so arrive before 9am or you'll have to park on the main road and walk to the bay. If you decide to dive this site later in the day, you can drop off your dive gear and park the car farther away. The best entry points for divers are as you enter the bay area on the left side or in the middle of the beach area on the bay. The better part of the reef is on the right dive of the bay. Five stars.

11/26/2007 Dean Ledgerwood (Avg: 3.20 Review) - This was my first Maui Dive. What a great way to get accustomed to the warm water and great sea life. My wife was able to snorkel above me while I dove. Go towards the end of the point to the left for depths around 40 feet. Saw sea turtles, sea snakes, and a ton of great tropical fish. Very curious little swimmers! Recommended for anyone staying on West Maui. Be sure to get out in the morning since an afternoon northern swell tends to move in.

04/30/2007 Travis (Avg: 3.57 Review) - Kapulua Bay is an excellent beach. I saw it written that it has been voted "World's Nicest Beach" by Sunset Magazine. I can see why. The sand is beautiful and the bay is protected by two reefs/points. Keeps the waves down. Allows easy snorkeling. I took a virgin snorkeler and she had no trouble. I recommend this beach for everyone. It has a hut to rent out cabanas and any gear you might desire, full facilities, and a sandy bottom near shore. Kids can play in the surf and adventurers can check out the reef.

03/06/2006 Brad Nelson (Avg: 3.56 Review) - Can't ask for a easier place to shore dive. Great facilities and a beautiful beach. It even has a grass area to suit up on which is way better than sand. Average viz and fish life. Saw a huge turtle sleeping with its head under a reef. This is a great dive as a warm up because of its ease and interesting things to see. Make sure you go out far enough and to the left to get to the bigger reefs.

10/11/2005 Kendall Roberg (Avg: 4.05 Review) - This is a wonderful beach (if you have non-divers with you, they can chill why you dive). Underwater, the coral formations and landscapes are close. It stays shallow for a while so you need to swim out a ways. Visibility is good and I saw lots of neat and unique fish. This is a great, and an easy dive.

06/06/2005 Bill Benton (Avg: 3.71 Review) - Very nice place. Well lit walkways & beach for night dives, also. Saw two huge male turtles.

03/26/2005 Gary Harmon (Avg: 3.73 Review) - This my idea of a perfect snorkel. Have a great breakfast across from our timeshare at Kahana Falls overlooking the ocean. Drive 4 minutes from our condo to this beautiful bay. Snorkel among the eels, and many colorful fish. This bay is also great for people watching. Walk up the hill and have a burger and tall cool one at the outside Kapalua Bay Hotel bar, while enjoying the best view in Maui. A view overlooking the pool, large grass lawn, and blue ocean to the not so distant islands in the background. Then walk 2 minutes back down and snorkel some more. Oh yeh, drive 4 minutes back to the condo. Hard day! Love2Snorkel

12/06/2004 Robert Brown (Avg: 3.46 Review) - This is a great place for ease of entry. Great for beginners and intermediate. I dived here about four days and really had a great time.

06/25/2004 Sean 'Stody' Stodelle (Avg: 3.56 Review) - Was here the other day and visibility started good. We headed here because the other beaches were getting hit pretty hard by swells. Perfect for my wife and daughter. I free dove which is my diving choice/preference. Reef fish are abundant and stay fairly shallow <15 feet. Once you get outside the cove, where the deeper 40 foot water is, there really isn't much more to see. Great facilities, great location. Easy entry/exit but there can be crowds.

03/16/2004 Anonymous (Avg: 3.58 Review) - This site is wonderful for the beginner to the advanced diver/snorkeler. The entry is easy and the reef is shallow. The first 50 feet in are a bit murky, but once out of the river runoff, it is fantastic snorkeling. Leave your car unlocked - the locals like to look through your stuff and if you lock your doors they will break in.

02/29/2004 Rory (Avg: 2.69 Review) - Easy site to get to. Fairly shallow dive, some snorkelers to deal with. Turtles in abundance.

05/27/2003 Rob (Avg: 3.66 Review) - Just dove this site a few days ago. Get there early to get a good parking spot! Easy entry and exit, there was a bit of a swell from the north so the vis was not that great until we got out around the corner... nice place with nice showers.

12/05/2002 Chris Walker (Avg: 3.78 Review) - A good all around spot for both snorkeling and diving. For divers, it is best to kick out about 300 yards and then drop. Go to the right, (opposite of what the photo says) and you will see mountains and valleys of rock and coral. You can also see turtles, eels, and numerous reef fish.

05/24/2001 Al Mialkovsky (Avg: 3.82 Review) - We feel the walk to the far side (Right) is worth the effort. HUGE eels, many octopus and normal creatures are found along the reef. On this trip (May) the algae was worse than we've seen it before but at about 30 feet it isn't a problem. They are building lots of condos there now but the beach is wonderful, restrooms and showers to rinse off next to the parking lot.

05/15/2001 J. Sullivan (Avg: 3.18 Review) - Excellent views


Site Photos

(click photo for a larger version)

 Map     Sat
GPS: MA0301


Parking at Kapalua Bay 

The parking is very limited, so if you are planning to spend the day here, get your space early! Access to the beach is through a tunnel at the far end of the parking lot.

Left Entry

 Map     Sat
GPS: MA0302


Left Entry at Kapalua Bay 

The beach entry is very simple.

Right Entry

 Map     Sat
GPS: MA0303


Right Entry at Kapalua Bay 

Diving on either side of the bay is wonderful. Just head out toward the points.




Aerial at Kapalua Bay 
(click photo for details)

In terms of hiking with a lot of equipment on your back, the point on your left is easiest access!

Last Verification: September, 2000  


Diver Averages for  Kapalua Bay  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  4.40
Bottom Conditions:  3.60
Reef Conditions:  3.65
Animal Life:  3.60
Plant Life:  2.95
Facilities:  4.10
Solitude 3.20
Roads:  4.05
*Site Average:  3.65

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  4.30
Beginner Scuba:  4.30
Intermediate Scuba:  3.70
Advanced Scuba:  3.20
Night diving Scuba:  3.40

Number of reviews for this site: 20


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