While planning our family trip to Hawaii, we were looking for the best snorkeling in Maui. I planned based on our past snorkeling experiences and lots of internet and guidebook research. But unfortunately, our snorkeling in Maui was less than impressive.
I talked to some other visitors and we looked at lots of other beaches. Based on what we heard, the surf was unusually rough during our trip even though we were there for an entire week. However, even with the rough water, snorkeling was still great if you went out on a boat.
Here’s my plan for next time.
Maui snorkeling with a family
- As much as you can, pack your snorkeling gear. (See my list of snorkeling gear for beginners.)
- Practice with your gear in a pool before your trip.
- Take a camera. A GoPro is a good bet, but check out my cheap hack for underwater video.
- If you’re lucky, you might get some good snorkeling practice off of your resort beach. If you can, it’s good to get used to your gear in the ocean in small bits. Not to really expect to see anything. Just to practice.
- Book a snorkel boat tour. Yep, in spite of everything I said about our experiences on snorkel boat tours. If you’ve got a family, it’s the only way to do it. Because this was the best snorkeling we managed from South Maui beaches. A video below shows what we managed to see. But my husband was the only one who could managed the camera and not get bashed on the rocks by the waves. It was rough the whole week we were there. There is no way kids could do it safely. To find a snorkel boat tour, start with the recommendations in Maui Revealed. You can read my review of Maui Revealed[link] to see why I recommend this.
- If you are having great luck, add some shore excursions. Look for very protected bays (not beaches) early in the morning. Your best bet is probably going to be a marine reserve, in spite of the possibility of crowds. To people who aren’t experts – those who haven’t snorkeled everywhere – the top spot for snorkeling in Maui Honolua Bay on the north end of West Maui. (The guidebooks will all tell you it’s over-rated. But I talked to tourists who recommended it.) That’s where I would try first.
Before your trip, check out my Beginner’s Guide to Snorkeling Gear.