Snorkeling Black Rock at Ka’anapali Beach is very popular. Despite being busy, it is a big beautiful beach, so we have never had trouble finding our own space.
Note: This page is a sample from our popular Maui Snorkeling Guide eBook available here.
The snorkeling is on the north end of the beach around Black Rock, the rocky point. Black Rock itself is considered a Hawaiian historic area. We find the snorkeling here to be decent, but not great. There is really no reef to speak of, just a little coral on the rock wall, and quite a few very tame fish. The snorkeling is along the wall, and out around the point where there can be a very strong current, so stay aware and only go out if it is calm. Because of this, we recommend better locations in our Maui Snorkeling Guide eBook.
Ka’anapali Beach is close to some ritzy dining, hotels, and shopping. The resorts on the north end of the very long Ka’anapali Beach, within a reasonable walk of snorkeling Black Rock, are Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, Ka’anapali Beach Hotel, The Whaler on Ka’anapali Beach, and The Westin Maui Resort & Spa. Several big catamarans come to shore on this beach to pick up and drop off charter guests, as well.
This beautiful sandy beach is made for bare feet. Walk to the very north end of the beach and get in the water. Walk out until you want to put your fins on. Swim close to the rocky shoreline.
The edge of the rock itself is the route you follow, otherwise, it is a sandy bottom. On the rock there are many dead corals, but some alive corals, too. If you are inexperienced, don't go around the point. If you are more experienced you can, but be aware as mentioned above that strong currents are frequent here, and wavy conditions can compound the potential danger (read some of these Snorkeling Black Rock Reviews for other people's experiences here). After you round the first point, there is a small cove that you can explore inside. If you swim around the outside of the farthest point, it turns into a vertical flat wall where the fish populations stop and there is not much point in going further.
The water clarity around Black Rock is often fantastic, so even when it gets pretty deep you can see some neat stuff.The deepest area is off the end of the point at about 30 feet. Make sure to periodically take a look into the deep blue water over the sand, you may be in for a treat. We got to see a Spotted Eagle Ray swimming off into the deep blue off the point. There are tons of friendly fish, who have obviously been fed all around the rock.
We got to see a turtle, and a Spotted Eagle Ray swimming over the sandy areas. There were a lot of eels living in the rocks close to shore. Here is a list of what we saw:
1. In Kihei get on Hwy 31 (Piilani Hwy) or S. Kihei Rd. heading north.
2. When you reach the intersection with Hwy 311 (Mokulele Hwy) and Hwy 310 (N. Kihei Rd.) turn onto Hwy 310 (N. Kihei Rd.).
3. Follow to the next intersection with Hwy 30 (Honoapiilani Hwy) and turn left, heading initially south. This road is what you could follow to the north shore of west Maui.
4. You will pass by Lahaina and turn into Ka’anapali on Ka’anapali Parkway. If you see the 24 mile marker, you just missed your turn.
5. Go to the end and make the loop and turn right into the first parking garage marked for public beach access. The garage is open from 7am to 7pm. There is parking further down the road if necessary, but this is closest to Black Rock. Just south of the garage is the walking path to the beach.
None, unless you are staying on the beach, then you can use those of your resort.