No trip to Maui would be completed without getting to see the famous honu (sea turtles)! You can spot them in a lot of places around the island, but it can be hit and miss whether you actually catch them in a certain area.
Hookipa Beach is famous for being the best place to see turtles in Maui. For some reason they consistently rest on the shore of this gorgeous little cove beach.
Hookipa Beach (AKA Turtle beach) is the best beach to see turtles in Maui
Hookipa Beach Quick Facts
- Other Names: Hookipa Beach, Hookipa Beach Park, Hookipa Park, Turtle Beach Maui, NOT Turtle Town
- Best known for: consistently being able to see sea turtles
- Also available: reasonable wave and a small cove for snorkeling, surfing
- Day and time I visited: Sunday afternoon
- Facilities: bathrooms, showers, picnic tables
- Lifeguard: yes
- Cost: Free
- Parking: surprisingly decent amount
- Open from: 7 am to 8 pm
Hookipa Beach Location
One great thing about Hookipa Beach is you are virtually guaranteed to end up nearby; this is because it is fairly close to the airport. Regardless of where you are staying, you are very likely to come in and out through the airport which likely makes a quick detour possible.
It is about 10 miles east of the airport as you head towards the Road to Hana. It is a very easy drive that usually takes about 20 minutes as you head towards the east side of the island.
What to Expect
A gorgeous cove beach that tends to be covered in TURTLES!
Waves for Surfing
While the size of the waves can vary, generally this beach is known for having waves that crash against the shore. One of the times I was there I got to watch a children’s surf competition. The consistent but not too large waves made it the perfect site for the smaller surfers to catch a wave.
Cove/Rocks for Snorkeling/Kids
There are rocks making small coves that are perfect for kids to swim in and some introductory snorkeling. The waves in the area generally make this a forgettable snorkel spot, but the protected areas are nice to get a feel.
Don’t want to lounge on the beach? If you continue to the east end of the beach you arrive at the Hookipa Lookout. This rocky outcropping gives phenomenal views of the beach and out into the Pacific Ocean.
Shockingly there is a decent amount of parking for a relatively small beach. Even if all the spots are full, there are shoulders off of the highway that you can park along and make the short walk down.
While in the area there are other nearby attractions that you need to make sure to include in your itinerary. You are almost at the beginning of the Road to Hana with its tons of alluring stops.
One other nearby attraction that is rarely mentioned is the windsurfers at Kanaha Beach Park. The wind at this unique beach makes it perfect for windsurfing. If you are not a windsurfer, you can still enjoy watching the extreme athletes in action.
It’s not all perfect at this beach, though it is still amazing.
You likely aren’t the only one that wants to see the turtles. This beach tends to attract a lot of different visitors.
This side of the island tends to be windier than other parts of Maui. While the breeze can be really nice on a hot day, it can make lounging less comfortable.
Conclusion: This is the Best Place to See Turtles in Maui
If you don’t catch them elsewhere then you need to swing by this beach to likely be able to see turtles. The famous sea turtles often sun along the shore or swim peacefully in the water.
Final Reminder: Don’t Touch the Hookipa Turtles
I thought it was well known that it is essential that you not touch the turtles and give them their distance. Evidently that isn’t the case as I saw stupid tourist dive into the water and attempt to pet the Hookipa turtles.
What to Pack for Maui
- Quick Dry Travel Towel – This quick dry towel is amazing to travel with. It really will come in handy when you need extra room in your suitcase.
- Snorkeling gear – for obvious reasons.
- Hiking boots – I have two pairs of hiking boots that I love. My Columbia waterproof boots and my Salomon hiking boots. Highly recommend checking them both out!
- Sandals – LOVE these Teva’s! They are my new go to travel sandal. Shop my favorite Teva’s here. They are great to wear in the water snorkeling and also amazing for hiking in Hawaii.
- Dresses for Hawaii – Packing a few good dresses is essential for Hawaii. Dresses have become my go to on trips to help quickly put an outfit together. Revolve is one of my go to shops for beach dresses. ASOS also has great summer dresses.
- Shorts – Anyone who is traveling to Hawaii needs a good pair of shorts. Khakis are great for guys. For women, cute athletic shorts or denim shorts are perfect for a breezy summertime look. These Levi denim shorts are my current favorites! These high waisted athletic shorts have gone viral on instagram and for good reason, they are AMAZING.
- Sports bra – This SKIMS bra is the most comfortable sports bra you will ever wear! Trust me. I travel with 5 of them. Also, highly recommend checking out the SKIMS fits everybody bra is to die for as well.
- Agolde 90’s jeans – I actually can’t remember the last trip I have been on where I haven’t brought these Agolde jeans. I have them in multiple colors and sizes. Check out my full review here.
- Tank tops – Free people is my go to place to buy cute and affordable tank tops. I have this tighten up tank in almost every color.
- Hat – essential. Shop the newest hats at Nordstrom.
- Beach cover-up – Having at least one good cover-up is essential on any beach trip. I recommend ASOS, Nordstrom and Revolve as well.
- Tennis Shoes – I guess you could wear sandals hiking the trails in Maui but I would recommend tennis shoes or hiking boots. It can get narrow and slippery in parts. These New Balance shoes are amazing. Only problem is they sell out so fast! Blah. They look so cute with shorts too!
- Packing cubes – I always go to Urban Outfitters for my packing cubes. They have the cutest ones!
Planning a trip to Maui? Here are our best MAUI BLOG POSTS:
My husband and I have been to Maui a couple times and have written up more blog posts to help you plan your trip. These are my most popular blog posts and Hawaii travel guides to help you plan your trip. I hope it helps!
Maui general trip planning
- Guide to Visiting the Red Sand Beach– One of the best beaches in Maui!
- Hookipa Beach – (Best beach to see turtles in Maui)
- Makena Beach/Big Beach (One of my favorite beaches in Maui)
- Little Beach (also known as Oneloa Beach) – WARNING – nude beach.
- Oneuli Beach – Black sand beach
- Maluaka Beach – all around great beach
- Slaughterhouse Beach – (AKA Mokuleia Bay)
- La Perouse Beach (Bay) – great snorkeling tours here. Best if reached by boat.
Maui Hikes & Lookouts
- Sliding Sands Trail – (also known as Keonehe’ehe’e Trail) is one of the most unique hikes on Earth!
- Waihee Ridge Trail – Most Underrated Maui Hike
- Hoapili Trail – (Hike through lava fields in Maui)
- Dragon’s Teeth Hike
- Ohai Trail Loop – (Easy but Awesome)
- Leleiwi Overlook in Haleakala National Park – (Maui must see!)
- 6 Easily Accessible Maui Waterfalls – The Best and Most Easily Accessible Maui Waterfalls
- 7 Waterfalls in Maui That You Can Swim In – Must see!
- 13 WATERFALLS IN MAUI YOU CAN’T MISS