Thursday, August 17, 2017


Taking it easy on Ka'anapoli Beach

As I've pointed out before, there is rarely one BEST BEACH for all people - it depends on the wants of the user. A nature lover will have different wants to a surfer, naturist, snorkeler, parents of small kids, or social butterfly.

....I think it may help your orientation if I outline the location of MAUI'S BEACH AREAS.

 1 and 2 - the pale blue strips of coastline denote the two main tourist accommodation beach strips.
  1 - THE NORTHERN WEST COAST - if I was a tourist seeking an area containing lots of accommodation and some very nice beaches, this is the area I'd select. Its main advantage over  ZONE 2 is that the prevailing north east trade winds tend to blow offshore most of the time, leading to pretty calm conditions on the sand. It is also a DRIER although ZONE 2 is not an excessively wet one. It contains one of my BEST BEACHES - the BEST HOTEL BEACH but most of the others are pretty sweet.
2 - THE CENTRAL-SOUTH COAST - this is a pretty nice area too with a whole series of mainly small beaches backed by accommodation. My main reservation it that the local topography causes the nor-easters to veer onshore at times , making for blustery conditions. This zone has none of my BEST BEACHES although the average beach along here is very, very nice, but it does contain my BEST BEACH WALKWAY.

3 - THE SOUTHERN CENTRAL-SOUTH COAST (yellow) - the hotels, resorts and condos stop north of this zone, replaced by BEACH PARKS on the ocean side of the road and GOLF COURSES + scrub on the inland. There are some nice beaches in this area including my PERSONAL BEAST BEACH and THE BEST NUDIST BEACH and "SCENE". So even though these beaches don't have tourist accommodation, they attract more than a few tourist (and locals).

4 - THE CENTRAL NORTH COAST (white) - the brisk onshore nor-easters discourage tourist numbers and resort development. This is the beach area for locals. Nevertheless it contains some of my selections: BEST KITE-SURFING BEACH, BEST WIND-SURFING BEACH, BEST TURTLE WATCHING BEACH and BEST KIDS' BEACH.

5 - HANA AREA BEACHES  - most of this section of coast consists of rocky cliffs and headlands. However there are some beach areas including two standouts: my BEST CAMPING BEACH and BEACH WITH MOST SPECTACULAR SETTING. However a few others didn't match the guide-book/online hype and turned out the MOST DISAPPOINTING BEACHES.

6- THE SOUTHERN WEST COAST - this zone has some nice strips of sand but drier conditions and maybe lack of a wide coastal plain has limited development. So if you are looking for a quieter beach park to drive to this could be the area.

7 - MAALEA BEACH (red) - this long 5km/3mi long strip of sand is mainly backed by a nature reserve and is another area seekers of solitude may like. The nor-easters can howl down the central divide between MAUI'S 2 volcanoes and create good wind/kite surfing conditions too.

Astute readers may notice there is no mention of a BEST SNORKELING BEACH or BEST SURFING BEACH above. These get a mention below - check them out.

I thought this long (1km/1100yards) and wide beach book-ended by headlands and backed by the bush of MAKENA STATE PARK was a real standout. So do many visitors and locals - there are 3 car parks which tend to get pretty full on weekends. Sand and water were clean - surf varies but was benign on my 3 visits, which you can expect for a lot of summer. But bigger surf is fairly common - beach known for tricky shore-break: lotsa injuries.You can expect rip currents in anything more than the small conditions above. TAKE CARE - KEEP AN CLOSE EYE ON YOUR KIDS Note the yellow life-guard tower in pic - 2 others along beach.

The northern car park got fairly packed on a nice Sunday. There are food trucks parked just out of frame to the right and porta potties behind camera.

A 3 minute walk gets you out to the southern end of BIG BEACH. Keep going straight ahead another 5 mins to climb over the low headland to infamous LITTLE BEACH (see down page).

The only trouble with BIG BEACH for dudes like me without a car is that the nearest bus stop is 5miles/8km away. I walked each way a few times and then got the bright idea of hiring my NORTH SHORE HOSTEL'S rent a wreck pushie. Enthusiastically I rode the full 22miles/36km from the hostel in WAILUKU to the beach, but realising I would be pushing into a rather horrendous afternoon head wind on return, rode back to the bus stop and then loaded the bike onto the free bike rack for about 20km of the return trip. Cost me a whole $2.
Hey, and you would be amazed how much beer can be carried from the nearest liquor store back to the hostel.

 I forgot to add a linear scale - its 500m between the two beaches' place markers - might be more clear if you click-expand image.

BIG BEACH is right at the bottom of MAUI'S southern beaches strip which starts at the blue place marker - NORTH KIHEI. It's 14lkm/9miles between the two place marker. The fabulous WAILEA BEACHES HOTEL STRIP takes up the middle half of this 14km

Most Maui's visitors stay in gorgeous beach hotels (did you know Maui is the honeymoon capital of the world? Not to mention immensely popular with other travelers in the summer holidays). Naturally they want to locate on a prime section of beach - something the island is not short of. The hotel beach location which most appealed to me is the part of KA'ANAPOLI BEACH south of BLACK ROCK (the rock is just behind the camera) - reasons: the summer prevailing wind is more offshore here (ie offering sheltered conditions) than most Maui locations; nice wide, clean sand - a good long beach stretching 1100m south to the far corner and then a further 1000m to the south east ......

.....plenty distance enough for over a dozen high-end beachfront hotels, none of which are shabby: try getting a room for under $300 in July/August. $450 is more the average. Makes my $45 hostel bed seem a good deal.
Swim thru one of those waterfalls in the above pic (may be clearer if you click-expand image)....

....and you enter this cool cave pool. Mid-left is part of a swim up bar. hostel back in WAILUKLU hasn't one of these. Must approach management.

Running along the back of the beach is theKA'ANAPOLI BEACH WALK. This goes the full length of the beach to BLACK ROCK, heads inland to pass the rock, and then back to the beach for maybe another km or so. Altogether you are talking a 3km+ beach walk.
And here's the thing: there's no shortage of BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE (aka POSEURS) strutting their stuff along here.

All along this strip are ocean activities. These dudes/dudettes are doing the JET SKI thing plus the old PARASAIL fly by. A reef runs along the approx vicinity of the home base above - in other areas are surfing classes and snorkelers itching to get out there. Commercial TRIP YACHTS pick up people direct from the beach. 
In summer you can usually expect pretty benign surf conditions like this. In winter the occasional big storm swell from the northern Pacific might sneak thru.
Note the corner of offshore island LANAI right of image - a fast ferry from LAHAINA maybe 10km south of here will get you there - worth the visit.

Swing the camera 180 degrees from the position of 5 pix above and you get the northern end of this beach strip at the BLACK ROCK. Some good (for Hawaii) snorkeling here, particularly around the corner where turtles were seen by my hostel friends. But the highlight of BLACK ROCK is.....

....the cliff jump. Lotsa young dudes/dudettes doing this - now I'm 72 but a good 60 fewer in emotional maturity, so I had to give it a go. Several times. No big deal at only 6-7 meters: I found the hardest part was the climb up over the sharp rocks.

On the other side of BLACK ROCK the beach continues another 1300 meters to that seaside block far end where storm erosion seems to have cut all the sand away. The section of beach above is narrower in most spots and way quieter than south of BLACK ROCK. I'm not sure what it's called - some resorts use KA'ANAPOLI but I have also seen MAY'S BEACH and KAHEKILI BEACH

KA'ANAPOLI BEACH is on MAUI'S west coast.

The best section is south of BLACK ROCK. To judge linear distance: it is 2200m (1.4miles) from BLACK ROCK to the southern black place marker. The BEACH PATH runs from south of the latter to the northern most place marker on this image.

NA'AOPOLI/BLACK ROCK is part of MAUI'S western beach zone which stretches from LAHAINA TOWN to aroundDT FLEMMING BEACH - although LAHAINA'S beaches are pretty ordinary the good beaches are found from the black marker through to DT FLEMMING'S vicinity. Note that north of NORTH NA'APOLI/MAYS/KAHEKILI there are several kms of coast in the HONOKOWAI area where beach erosion has left only small patches of sand mainly at beach parks. Further north, the top quarter of this strip features some very nice beaches in small/medium bays such as NAPILI BEACH, KAPALUA and ONELOA. This whole zone is backed by holiday accommodation (not to mention some very snazzy golf courses) and progressively has a bigger share of condos v resorts as you move north.
The linear distance between top and bottom place markers is 14km/8.7miles.

The KA'ANAPOLI BEACH WALK 8 images above is pretty sweet but I did a better one -

This sweet path runs for several km along the WAILEA hotel zone coastal strip in the islands south-central beach strip. For people seeking an excellent HOTEL BEACH LOCATION this area is almost as good as the KA'ANAPOLI BEACH zone up page. Maybe better if you are looking for smaller individual beaches backed by one or two high end hotels. 
The reason I have put this zone into second place in the HOTEL BEACH STAKES up page is that the wind along here is more onshore (although if you hunker down near the northern headlands of each beach, wind will be no problem). Of course some people will prefer a bit of wind to counteract the tropical heat. 
but I rate it #1 in the BEACH PATH STAKES because it's less featureless than KA'ANAPOLI - the path winds, climbs (not steeply) and drops more.And the half dozen or so smaller beaches you pass give more variety than KA'ANAPOLI'S continuous strip.

If you come by car there is okay free parking at the north end - set yer navigation devices for ULUA BEACH PARK**. The south end at POLO BEACH also has free parking but it is more complicated. There is also beach access and free parking just south of the GRAND WAILEA RESORT about 70% along, but this one is a bit hard to spot from the main road.
 I did 2 passes - first I hopped off the bus at KILOHANA DRIVE and walked south a half mile/slightly less than a km/14minutes to ULUA BEACH ROAD. On conclusion. to find a bus going back north I had to head north from the end of the walk at POLO BEACH to the last stop on bus#10s schedule, WAILEA-IKI DRIVE -0.4 miles/0.7km/12 mintes.
 2nd pass I rode my rent a wreck bicycle the 20 miles/33km from WAIHUKU  and walked the path (ok I cheated - despite the "NO BICYCLE RIDING" signs I cruised the downhill sections when there were no other path users).

** native Hawaiians have a lot of political push and have always insisted on free access to the shoreline - thus there is a bunch of BEACH PARKS which give this: plus showers, rest rooms, a free parking zone. And most hotels don't complain if you cut thru their property to the beach - in fact many welcome outsiders to use bars and eats facilities (hanging by the multi-level rim pools may be stretching the friendship). 
When I think about it I figure the existence of these BEACH PATHS in different parts of the islands is down to the locals' insistence they have coastal access. You certainly don't get this in California where vast amounts of sea shore are barred public access. 

No shortage of nice little beaches along here - this is WAILEA BEACH itself but there are similar beaches along this strip. If you fancy smaller beaches outside yer high end hotel rather than KA'ANAPOLI'S big long beach, one of these could be just the place for you.

White line shows route of WAILEA COAST BEACH WALK which is a little under 3km in length. The red linear scale line abt 24% up image is exactly 1000m long.


Many commercial outfits offer turtle spotting boat tours often called trips to TURTLE TOWN (which tends to be a different location for each company) but you can save a bundle by visiting a beach where the turtles are sunning. Which beach? Well you can spot Green and Hawksbill turtles sunning themselves mid/late afternoon on beaches all around the island (and if snorkeling, follow them in the water off these places) but one of the generally agreed top spots is the famous HO'OKIPA beach on the north shore a few km east of the great little town of PAI'A.

A Hawksbill hauls itself out of the water at the far eastern end of HO'OKIPA. Prior to this it had an enthusiastic following of snorkelers in the water. This is the usual scene each afternoon - to separate onlookers a barrier is situated about camera distance making the last 15-20m of beach an exclusive turtle sunning zone. I also visited one morning (HO'OKIPA is also HAWAII'S prime wind surfing venue - see down page) and there were no turtles or barriers.

Barely 100m past the eastern end of PAI'A TOWN'S funky main street is a small cemetery. On the seaward side is the above small beach which is the least attractive in the area and so rarely used by beach goers. Well human beach goers - the turtles appreciate the seclusion: one afternoon here I counted 3 on the beach:never saw more than one at any time at HO'OKIPA

A Cemetery Beach turtlee

HOOKIPA and PAI'A CEMETERY beaches - straight line distance between PAI'A and HB place markers is 3km.

PAI'A CEMETERY and HOOKIPA beaches are part of MAUI'S north coast beach zone which stretches from KANAHA BCH PARK which is directly south of the Y in CEMETERY to awesome big wave (in winter) spot JAWS under the second O in HOOKIPA. Some very nice beaches along here but because they tend to suffer brisk onshore trade-winds do not attract a lot of holiday resorts. This is more a locals' beach zone with world class surfing, kite-surfing and windsurfing venues - not to mention some very nice beach parks which are a mecca for native Hawaiian picnickers. 

But here's the thing - you can come across these critters on any beach around the island. For instance BALDWIN BEACH just west of PAI'A is a lovely long beach and although popular with beach goers has enough length to have virtually deserted sections even on busy weekends. Chances of spotting a sunning turtle are pretty good in places like this. 
And I already mentioned up page that people from my hostel saw turtles when snorkeling off the west coast's excellent BLACK ROCK.

Not only is HOOKIPA a top place to spot turtles as mentioned immediately above, it is also one of the WORLD'S best wind-surfing beaches. Look for these dudes at the WESTERN END, the opposite of the turtles.

Want to watch the world's best windsurfers? They flock to MAUI'S north coast on account of the brisk prevailing trade winds - several nearby beaches tend to draw windsurfers but HOKIPA above is the pick. These dudes have a pretty good no-collision circuit going.
The area isn't just for experts - neophytes can arrange lessons off several operators. 


Another north coast beach taking advantage of the good trade winds, KANAHA is just above MAUI'S main airport at KAHULUI and about 9km/5.5mi west of HOOKIPA. It's another world rated beach (for kite surfing) and is also popular with the wind-surfers. Back of the beach is the large KANAHA BEACH PARK with the usual full brace of facilities making it a favourite with picnickers - native Hawaiians love the big family picnic. 
Plenty of parking of course and if you haven't a car you can get buses 35 or 40 to the airport bus stop and walk across to the beach, Note WAILUKU'S BANANA BUNGALOW HOSTEL and NORTH SHORE HOSTEL both run a free shuttle to the beach each morning.

Kite surfers are to be found at the western end of the beach with wind surfers the other end. Note the cruise liner mid-background left and the western highlands fabulous IAO valley far background to its left. Might be clearer if you click-expand image.

Actually a week later I was trekking up in those clouds at the valley. A month later my poor 72 year old knees are still wrecked. Or maybe it was the 18km volcano crater trek.

KANAHA is a pretty nice beach for ordinary beach-goers.

Local families enjoy the beach park.

The experts agree the best place to snorkel at MAUI is at the offshore semi-flooded caldera of mini-volcano MOLOKINI 5km off the BIG BEACH coast. However this is not a beach and requires some expenditure on a boat trip to access (shop around - some trip counters were discounting wildly although the tours themselves vary widely in duration and inclusions [the best include breakfast and a buffet lunch]).
The experts say there is a bunch of good beach-accessed snorkeling spots off the adjacent coast - one I heard mentioned was the reef near the 5 CAVES area south of WAILEA BEACH on the southern beaches strip - see opening "map" image up page for general location. The nearest beach to access 5 caves is MAKENA SNORKELING BEACH south of WAILEA BEACH. 

MOLOKINI and 5 CAVES locations. For linear distance - it is 5km from MOLOKINI to BIG BEACH. The white lined WAILEA COASTAL WALKING PATH referred to up page is top of image.

However the best snorkeling I did was around the point at KA'ANAPOLI BEACH'S BLACK ROCK which is also recommended by the experts. 

There is a shallow bay at the end of BLACK ROCK peninsula which is worth a look. Visibility on the beach side of the peninsula is not great - lotsa swimmers/waders stir up conditions. And don't go too close to the rocks towards the end of the point - a cliff-jumper might land on you. Visibility is pretty clear once you turn the seaward corner.

I wasn't blown away by coral or fish quality (then again I'm spoiled having snorkeled world's best many times) but as mentioned up page some members of my hostel group saw some turtles here and as you can see below, hostel tour leader JAROD did okay in his spear fishing here.
Hostel tour leader JAROD is no mug in the spear-fishing stakes.

Don't snorkel too close to the cliff-jumpers.


Actually LITTLE BEACH ain't a nudist beach, it's CLOTHING OPTIONAL. At the SPECIAL SCENE time, the SUNDAY DRUM CIRCLE thing, there were more "textiles" than nudists. At other times the ratio was about 1 textile for every 3 nudists. The first two maps top of this page show location.

LITTLE BEACH from the northern end. The steep, rough but short climb over the headland from BIG BEACH is at the far end. Both these far southern beaches seemed to be picking up more swell than others in July/August - the shore-break was often a bit gnarly.

The Sunday drum circle begins warming up about 1430. More drummers drift in so that by sunset there are twice the number with performers and many onlookers (the crowd triples) working themselves up into a bit of a frenzy. Bonfires are not unusual.

Well apparently alternative lifestyle area HANA often sees nudists at spectacular RED BEACH (see downpage in "MOST EXOTIC BEACH SETTING"). However when I called by it looked like weight of visitors had dissuaded the naturists.
I read that Pai's SECRET BEACH (to the east of long BALDWIN BEACH - see "BEST KID'S BEACH/BABYBEACH" down page) gets nudists but it was deserted both times I went by.
Also, a nice lady at LITTLE BEACH told me that ONEULI, a black sand beach immediately the other side of the conic hill north of LITTLE is also clothing optional. I didn't get there. 
Various reports mention other spots around the island.


BABY BEACH is at the western end (left in image) of gently recurved BALDWIN BEACH, a nice 1400m strip of sand starting 900m west of the funky north coast surfer/hippy town PAI'A.

A 300m rock shelf parallel to the sand makes a natural break-wall to any waves, meaning fairly calm conditions.
This area has a small parking area at the western end (this tends to fill on nice days - meaning you will have to search for a spot on access streets) best accessed via NONOHE PL off the HANA HWY some 1600m/1mile west of the turn into the big BALDWIN BEACH PARK at the other end of the long beach.

The BABY BEACH section of BALDWIN - this is near high tide on a day with a fair bit of trade wind driven small swell but the area behind the reef is still pretty sheltered. Better of course as the tide drops as in the GOOGLE EARTH image above - I believe there is still enough water for kids to have a good splash around in even at bottom tide. 
Not sure how protected this area would be in the huge storm created swells of winter - however such conditions may only occur 3 or 4 times over winter.

BABY BEACH from the east - another 1100m of BALDWIN BEACH behind camera as can be seen below.

BALDWIN BEACH looking east - the big and well equipped BALDWIN BEACH PARK, popular with family group picnickers is at the far end. This was a nice weekend day with a pretty good crowd attending but as you can see the beach is so long that it's easy to find a section pretty much deserted.
I'd rate BALDWIN higher in my most favoured list of MAUI beaches except for the more or less constant brisk ONSHORE north-east trade winds. Surfers and ex-surfers do not like onshore winds. You may favour these however because they tend to keep things cool.

NOTE: There is another BABY BEACH on the island, way over the western side just north of trendy LAHAINA town. It too is pretty sheltered but I didn't think it as good as its BALDWIN area's namesake



A couple of issues here:
-The HAWAIIAN ISLANDS are best known for BIG WAVES but apart from big swell arriving from huge NORTH PACIFIC STORMS maybe 4/5 times in winter (and lasting maybe the same number of days each) you mainly have small waves generated by the prevailing NORTH-EAST TRADE WINDS. This was the case for all my 3 weeks August 2017 visit (apparently the odd summer storm can generate some bigger waves).
-You can find ok small waves (btw - these are excellent for beginners and there is no shortage of board-rental and instructors) all around the island, but the most crowded place I saw with the longest rides and best waves was along the reef just south of the harbour break-wall at LAHAINA. Another plus - OFF-SHORE winds (at least until afternoon) which tend to smooth the wave face and make them stand up more (surfers love off-shore winds).
- Not much of a beach here although inshore from the far left is a long narrow strip of sand variously called EMILY'S BEACH/LAHAINA SOUTH/LAHAINA SHORES BEACH which has enough sand for sunbathing away from top of the tide.

I also saw lots of surfers in okay conditions at THE COVE BEACH PARK in the KIHIE area of the touristy south-central beach zone and at PAPALAUA BCH in the island's south west.

You can see any NE TRADE WIND will be off the shore at these places (nerds note - the SEA BREEZE effect at times will swing it ONSHORE - also local topography seems to do this in the south-central area).


Here's a cop-out. I never got to JAWS - my TOM TOM couldn't find it, I had no ides which unpaved side road off the HANA HWY to take and I was running out of time to return my rental car. I had to pinch the above shot of PINTERST.COM.
A second point - I think JAWS is more a bay than a beach - but GOOGLE EARTH'S image of the area is obscured by cloud, precluding a close-up look.

Second place here must go to HONOLUA BAY in MAUI'S north west, which gets the same winter storm swell and is the location for the WOMEN'S WORLD TITLE CONTEST - the ROXY PRO MAUI.

Not quite as big as JAWS, at least on the day of the contest, but a pretty good wave. I love how excellently the women surf these days - they'd kill the very best males of my day. 
I DID get into HONOLUA BAY (see down page for BEST BEACH HINTERLAND) but conditions were typical summer-benign. So I had to pinch this shot from SNN.
Once again more a bay than a beach - there is supposed to be a patch of sand in the western corner but erosion had cut it ny visit - leaving a BOULDER BEACH (misleading name - we are talking a beach composed of LARGE pebbles).

North coast position leaves both open to NORTH PACIFIC winter storm swell.


BLACK SAND BEACH is in the WAI'ANAPANAPA STATE PARK accessed by a 1km/0.6m side road (HONOKALANI RD) which leaves the HANA HWY 2.3m/3.9km north east of central HANA TOWN. This is a top area - a should see on a HANA HWY TRIP even if you don't intend to camp. Black sand beach is gorgeous, the PI'LANI TRAIL cliff walk starts several hundred meters north west of the beach and runs several km to the south-east almost to HANA TOWN, there is another loop track to some FRESH WATER CAVES and the rugged coast features NATURAL ARCHES and a BLOWHOLE. The area also has some LAVA TUBES.
I had to give all but the beach a miss because I was running out of time on my brief call-in.

BLACK SAND BEACH from the coastal path which heads several km along the coast. The campground is out of frame back to the left.

I didn't take a shot of the campground - had to pinch this one from the excellent PRIDE OF MAUI website which has info not only on the best campgrounds but a bunch of other attractions.
This is a STATE PARK CAMPGROUND - these are very inexpensive but have to be booked beforehand. I think each closes for a few days each week to discourage the homeless from squatting.
Note no public buses run along the HANA HWY - you will need a car to access this area.


This is adjacent the beach and the main road (noise?) in the island's dry south west. The wind here tends to be offshore resulting in smooth sea conditions - I saw plenty of surfers from passing buses and excursion vans but waves were very small: excellent for learners. 
This is a COUNTY CAMP GROUND, similar in price, booking and days open to STATE CAMPGROUNDS, but facilities are usually more limited. eg apparently this one hasn't fresh water.
I didn't get off passing transport to check this area carefully - thus this pic came from PRIDE OF MAUI too. 
Although bus 20 goes by, there is no bus stop, meaning it's up to driver goodwill to let you off/on. Many are sticklers for the rules.


This big popular beach park has another COUNTY CAMPGROUND with similar conditions, plus it does have fresh water. It's main advantage is location - less than a mile from the main (KAHULUI) airport, it is the easiest of these 3 to reach via public transport (catch buses 35 or 40 to the airport and walk across on KOEHEKE/KAA ST from the car parking area).
See BEST WINDSURFING BEACH up-page for more info about this nice beach area.
This is another PRIDE OF MAUI pic.


Cut into a small cinder cone immediately south-east of HANA TOWN, the setting is enhanced by a rainforest backdrop. Sand has a red tinge from particles of iron ore.

My day-trip friends from BANANA BUNGALOW take a break on the beach after a swim.

It can get a bit exciting climbing this mid-bay rock for a jump. Some tricky currents in the water too. Don't try this if you are not a strong swimmer (or don't like climbing sharp rocks).

Access is via a track which crosses a field just below the HANA COMMUNITY CENTER in UAKEA RD which is one block east of the HANA HWY. My July visit had so many tourists visiting that it was a simple matter of following the herd. However maybe the herd scared away the nudists who frequent this beach at quieter times.
For scale: it's 250m in a straight line from the start of the track to the beach place-marker.

The guidebooks caution that the cliffside part of this path can be tricky and dangerous. Maybe so in the wet, but when I took it, it was a doddle - except.....

....for the last high corner and descent to the beach which had sharp rocks underfoot. Don't go barefoot.

RED SAND BCH at the far eastern tip of MAUI.


RED SAND has a pretty good immediate backdrop but I rated the fabulous rainforest along the walk from the carpark to the water at HONOLUA tops here.

I judged the walking track rainforest better than the previous best I'd seen on HAWAII at OAHU'S MANOA FALLS access path. Of course one or all of the many of the islands' ABORETUMS could probably beat them, but as a bottom-budget traveler I have a fiscal aversion for paying to see nature 'improved'.

The beach at HONOLUA is what Geomorphologists call a BOULDER BEACH, which is a bit misleading - it's composed of big smooth pebbles. Guidebooks mention a small patch of sand out of frame in the bay's left corner but it had been cut by erosion when I visited.
If you click expand you may be able to see the snorkelers mid bay - this is one of MAUI'S better snorkeling area in calm conditions like this. The bay is part of a marine life conservation district - no spearfishing but because of this there are plenty of fish which don't scare away easily.
I mentioned it as the runner up in MAUI'S BIG SURF stakes - it's hard to believe from the above shot, but....

When the big winter storm swells hit, there is a seriously big right-hander off the north-east headland. I pinched this pic from

HONOLUA is in the islands north-west.

That rather nice beach to the left of HONOLUA BAY is SLAUGHTERHOUSE BEACH in MOKULEIA BAY, also part of the marine life conservation district. SLAUGHTERHOUSE is supposed to be a really nice beach - I didn't get a chance to check it.



First arrived from the south is HAMEO, a 300m black sand beach behind which is an ok beach park. But compared to the hype in the guide-books I thought there was nothing to lift this place over the average - particularly when access from the main road is very steep and parking restricted.

A few km north on the HANEOO LOOP RD is KOKI BCH. Once again I was expecting something really great after the gushing description in the guide-book. NAH - pretty average in fact. At least the parking situation and access are better.

The northern entrance to the HAMEOO RD loop is less than 2miles/3.2km south of central HANA TOWN.
This image might be clearer if you click-expand.

I reckon KOKI/HAMEO are about as far as you can get on MAUI from KAHULUI AIRPORT (top of light area in pinched section of island).