Snorkeling Kahekili Beach Park
Live Reef Close To Shore

Maui, Hawaii

Snorkeling Kahekili is good and easy to access. The full name of this location is Ali'i Kahekili Nui 'Ahumanu Beach Park. The beach is one long strip extending from Kahekili north to Airport Beach. It is directly in front of the Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas. The beach is quite narrow and the reef is parallel to and close to shore, so it is very accessible.

Note: This page is a sample from our popular Maui Snorkeling Guide eBook available here.

Snorkeling Kahekili Beach

You could access this reef from Airport Beach to the north, but the best snorkeling, parking and facilities are at Kahekili, so we recommend using this beach.

Snorkeling Kahekili you will see corals, fish and turtles.

You may see some mention of water quality issues regarding this beach. Maui injects treated water into wells that exit into the ocean in many areas of Maui. The water is regularly tested and Kahekili shows healthy water for people to swim in.

Water Entrance

Head for the beach from the parking lot and enter the water in front of the pavilion for snorkeling Kahekili. The beach is sandy and easy in bare feet, but once you enter the water the rocks and reef start quickly, so get your fins on and float over it as soon as you can.

Snorkeling Kahekili with Sea Turtle

Where To Snorkel

Straight out from the pavilion, a ways out from the beach, we found ourselves over great corals, with some fish, and a variety of interesting depths. The reef runs along the shore, and keeps on heading north for a long ways

You can choose your own depth, because it gets gradually deeper the farther out you go. The reef comes within a few feet of the surface and drops off to 30 feet plus the farther off shore you go.

Watch for any currents. We swam in deeper waters northbound, turned around before we were tired and then swam back closer to shore over shallower corals southbound. There were fish, turtles, eels and a nice variety of healthy corals, at least in one area.

Kahekili Fish and Eel

What We Saw Snorkeling Kahekili

In the healthy corals we saw here, there was quite a bit of the less common Finger Coral. We saw turtles here and some fish, including:


  • Blenny, Scarface
  • Butterflyfish, Ornate
  • Chromis, Blackfin - large schools
  • Cornetfish
  • Damselfish, Blue-Eye
  • Eel, Whitemouth Moray
  • Goatfish, Manybar
  • Hawkfish, Arc-Eye
  • Needlefish, Crocodile
  • Parrotfish: Palenose - school of initial phase, Stareye
  • Sergeant, Indo-Pacific - large schools
  • Surgeonfish, Goldring
  • Tang, Lavender
  • Triggerfish: Black Durgon, Humuhumunukunukuapua’a
  • Unicornfish: Bluespine, Orangespine, Paletail
  • Wrasse: Bird, Saddle

Kahekili Unicornfish and Corals

Large fields of mixed types of the following corals:

  • Blue Rice
  • Cauliflower
  • Lobe
  • Mound
  • Pork Chop
  • Rice
  • Thick Finger

Other Creatures:

  • Sea Urchin: Pale Rock-Boring, Red Slate Pencil
  • Turtles

Driving Directions From Kihei

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 just past Kaanapali and the 25 mile marker turn left on Kai Ala Dr. (Puukolii St. is on the right). The large parking lot is obvious.

Kahekili Beach Parking Lot
Kahekili Beach Park Pavilion
Grassy area to lounge on at Kahekili Beach

There are many facilities available at this nice snorkeling park including lots of shade, a pavilion, restrooms, picnic tables, showers, barbecues and grass to lie on.



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