Honolua Bay {West Maui}

honolua bay maui

A busy Honolua Bay. Surfers make me swoon (yes, I’m married to one!)

Here’s a fun little trip to take with the kids in West Maui. If you’ve been to West Maui but have stopped at Kaanapali or Kahana, you need to keep going!

I talk with a lot of people who say “Oh, I never went past Lahaina or Kaanapali” on their visit to Maui. Well, next time you are here, get in your car, pop on some music and drive further north, past Kaanapali, past Kahana, past Napili and even past Kapalua…to Honolua Bay.

Be mindful

Honolua Bay isn’t over run with tourist so I sort of wince when I see my fingers typing that you all should go. But I trust that you guys are good tourists, and lovers of Maui, so you will be responsible, kind and respectful no matter where you go, right?

Bottom line, be cool when you visit Maui or Hawaii. This place is sacred. {click to tweet!}

Let’s get you there

Once in West Maui, head north on Highway 30. Once past Kapalua, you’ll see that the speed limit dwindles down to about 25 and signs saying “Be pono” or respectful will pop up. A few curves past Fleming Beach, you’ll come upon to a look out over Honolua Bay.

In the winter the swell picks up and surfers crowd the water. This is a great spot to watch them, take a photo, and take in all the beauty. Across the bay you’ll be sure to see a lot of local cars parked (those are the surfers that are in the water). I’d leave that spot to only the locals, no need to go on the dirt road and clog it up.

honolua bay Maui

After you’ve taken a photo, taken in all the beauty, you can head a bit further North to actually go to the water in the bay. Again, be mindful and respectful. You’ll see signs that say this too. There is a small area where people park. Be sure to not leave valuables in your car, don’t park like a jerk (blocking anyone or taking up too much room), roll up the windows, lock your car and then head through the overgrown trees to the bay.

Honolua Bay Maui

Looking up at the gorgeous overgrown trees. Dragon Fruit has taken over and is growing from up above on this one.

As you walk, you will pass where an old church once stood, old Hawaiian rock walls and grave sites. Roosters will cocka-doodle-doo to you as they welcome you through the forest and then you will see the magnificent, gorgeous blue sea. The beach here isn’t sandy; it’s covered in rocks with overhanging trees for shade.

honolua bay roosters

The welcome committee

Now, when I recently went here with my son for an after school mini walk as we waited for his sister to do gymnastics, we saw a local man and his family having some food amidst the many roosters that were there.

I immediately waved, said hello and smiled – the sort of smile you do when you are saying “thank you for letting me into your home” He smiled back. I knew to be respectful, say aloha, say thank you with my eyes and smile. We took a few photos, checked out the surf and then returned back to our car.

Leave with what you brought in

Do not leave trash. Do not use sunscreen when in the water (so that you don’t kill the precious treasures in the sea). Be respectful, not loud and boisterous. Remember, this land is someone’s land. It’s not ours. You are entering someone’s home; think of it that way.

If you can’t tell, Honolua Bay is a very special place. Locals, visitors, kamaaina alike all want it to stay that way. So go see it, love it and respect it! Have fun!


  1. Wow that is beautiful. It looks like the perfect spot.
    Debi´s last blog post ..Family Dollar Black Friday 2013 Ad

  2. Oh so pretty! My son just spent the weekend over there surfing with his buddies at Honolua bay and all over…he had so much fun. Maui will always be special to me.
    Let me know if you ever make it to Oahu–it would be fun to meet IRL one day…:)

  3. I just moved here about four months ago (also from California – we gotta stick together and represent for the southern west coast, what with all the pacific northwesterners around here!), and I completely agree about driving past Napili! Have you been all the way around? It’s beautiful! I recommend this drive to tourists who want a beautiful drive but have already done the Road to Hana. Enjoying your blog! Mahalo for your insights!
    Jess Swag´s last blog post ..Fall Break Explorations

  4. I’m sure you’ve been to the overlook above the bay. The beautiful overlook leanto built by friends of a surfer who passed away is so serene. My DH and his friends snorkel there every year once or twice.

  5. Beautiful! And that rooster silhouette is excellent!
    Deirdre´s last blog post ..5 Ways to Swap a Bad Mood for a Good Attitude

  6. Beautiful Sarah! I will put Honolua Bay on my must see list for when we finally get to Maui! I did not get there when I visited Maui in college but I will get back sometime soon with my family. For now I will happily admire it’s beauty through your writing and in your photographs. Thank you also for the gentle reminder to respect local culture, customs, and land. Sometimes we get so caught up in the beauty of what we are experiencing we forget people live in these amazing places :)
    Liz Olimpio´s last blog post ..How to Create a Facebook Cover Photo with PicMonkey

  7. Wow this is the first time I’ve seen this Maui secret in print! I discovered your blog just before our Chirstmas in Maui trip. It was timely info as I was traveling with a 2 and 4 yo. to hear your dispatches. We befriended some locals that shared this sacred spot and spent our last morning here. A storm was coming in bringing the best swells of the season. All but one of the top surfers in the world were there in the water that morning. What a treat! My sons fav part of the trip! You might also mention for the brave at heart to make the drive all the way around the Northside of the island. The best bananna bread, rainbows, and waterfalls on the island!

Leave a Comment


CommentLuv badge