What to Do

Maluaka Beach Guide: Snorkel Maui’s Turtle Town

If snorkeling with sea turtles is at the top of your Maui bucket list, make Maluaka Beach priority number one. Tucked away on Maui’s south side, Maluaka Beach is one of several sites along the shoreline that locals call Turtle Town — the Maui waters where turtles tend to congregate.

Table of Contents

About Maluaka Beach

Long considered a hidden gem on Maui (most tourists head straight to Makena Beach farther south), the Makena area beach isn’t as deserted nowadays as it’s been in the past, thanks to its growing popularity. But early risers can still enjoy the beach’s seclusion — you’ll find fewer people on the beach earlier in the day.  

View of the West Maui windmills from Maluaka Beach.

When you aren’t in the water, the soft clean sand makes for a relaxing cushion to while away the hours. If you aren’t a fan of sand, there’s also a grassy knoll that you can stretch out on. And shade from trees on the south end of the beach offer relief from the unrelenting Hawaii sunshine. 

View of Maluaka Beach looking toward the ocean
Path leading to the sandy beach area.

Restrooms with flush toilets and running water make a day at Maluaka Beach even more comfortable. When you’re done for the day, simply rinse the sand off at the beach’s outdoor shower before heading back to your hotel.   

The only thing missing? A public restaurant. Plan to pack in meals, snacks, and drinks when spending a day here. 

Check out our favorite Makena beaches near Maluaka Beach: 5 BREATHTAKING MAKENA BEACHES ON MAUI YOU HAVE TO SEE TO BELIEVE

green sea turtle swimming

Snorkeling conditions at Turtle Town

For the best chance at seeing turtles, snorkel near the rocky shore at either the north end or south end of the beach. Just watch out for the rogue wave that could push you into the rocks. 

Mornings are typically better for avoiding high surf conditions while snorkeling at Maluaka Beach. And we always recommend that you check out the Maui Snorkel Report for day-of snorkeling conditions before you wade into the water. 


Lifeguard: No. Use caution any time you enter the ocean. 

Restrooms: Restrooms with flushing toilets and running water are located on the south end of the beach. The parking lot at the north end of the beach also has restroom facilities with flushing toilets and running water.

Shower: There’s an outdoor shower on the south side of the beach. You’ll also find an outdoor shower at the parking lot north of the beach.

Food: There are no public sundry spots or restaurants at Maluaka Beach.

Picnic tables: Available.

Maluaka Beach picnic area with grass and trees
Shade trees, grass, and picnic benches overlooking the water.

Getting to Maluaka Beach

Directions to the north side

From the Wailea resort district to the north, drive south on Makena Alanui. Turn right onto Honoiki Street. At the end of the street, turn left at Makena Road. Continue on Makena Road, past Keawala’i Church, until you reach a crosswalk and circular loading zone within view of the ocean. At this point, you’ve reached the north end of Maluaka Beach. You won’t find any signs to indicate that you’ve reached Maluaka Beach. Instead, you’ll see signs that proclaim “Public Beach Right-of-Way.” 

Road with a sign that says Public Bech Right-of-Way overlooking the ocean
Loading and unloading area on the north side of the beach.

Directions to the south side

Drive south on Makena Alanui from Wailea. Turn right onto Makena Keonoio Road and drive to the end of the street. Walk down the stamped concrete path — Maluaka Beach lies approximately 400 feet down this sidewalk. 

Map of Maluaka Beach

Where to park at Maluaka Beach

Parking on the north side

There is no street parking on the north side of the beach. Park up the street at the free lot across from Keawala’i Church. Posted park hours are from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. 

Parking on the south side

There are limited drive-in parking spots available near the sidewalk path at the end of Makena Keonoio Road. Find additional spaces at the free paved lot on the same street. Look for the open yellow gates and the “Parking for Park Users Only” sign. Don’t park in the fenced-in private dirt lot next to it. Posted park hours are from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Parking lot with cars
Parking spots near the south access walkway.

Lodging near Maluaka Beach

The former Makena Beach & Golf Resort (once the Maui Prince Hotel) at Maluaka Beach shut down in 2016. In its place, owners of the Makena Golf & Beach Club redeveloped the area. The new ownership has converted the land into a members-only community with residences rather than resort rooms.

There aren’t any hotels directly adjacent to Maluaka Beach. Visitors can book lodging at one of the nearby Wailea resorts or at a private vacation rental nearby, such as:

Vacation rental homes

  • Makena Bay House
  • Hale Makena
  • Makena Oceanfront Cottage


  • Makena Surf Resort: Destination Residences Hawaii
  • Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
  • Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
  • Hotel Wailea

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Are there turtles at Maluaka Beach?

Yes, there are often turtles in the water at Maluaka Beach, which is why the shoreline is often referred to as Turtle Town.

We have yet to see turtles on the beach itself, though. For a good chance at seeing turtles on land, drive north to Hookipa Beach. You’re (almost) guaranteed to see a bale of sea turtles sunning themselves at the popular turtle-watching spot.

Are there sharks at Maluaka Beach?

There are resident sharks in the water around all of the Hawaiian islands. According to the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, the island of Maui sees the greatest number of reported shark bites among the islands. It’s thought that the coastal shelf surrounding Maui makes for an attractive habitat to sharks. 

While Maui sees the most number of shark incidents of the Hawaiian islands, the number of incidents remains relatively low compared to the number of people who enter Maui’s waters every day. A 2021 Maui News report revealed that Maui had 40 non-fatal shark bites and five fatal shark bites from 1995 to 2021. 

Is Maluaka Beach good for snorkeling?

Snorkeling is a popular activity for Maluaka beach goers. The water’s sandy bottom makes entry into the ocean fairly easy. The beach’s calm blue waters, nearby reef, and the area’s resident sea turtles attract snorkelers from around Maui. Be sure to check the Maui Snorkel Report for day-to-day snorkeling conditions around the island.

About Author

Hi, I’m Gina — managing editor, Maui enthusiast, and human behind the keyboard here at Maui Trip Guide. When I’m not on the island at my Kihei condo, you can find me planning my next travel adventure from my home in the Pacific Northwest.

We're working on updating our site to reflect the changes resulting from the recent wildfire tragedy. This includes updates on Maui businesses and sites as we receive incoming reports. Please read our message about the wildfire, along with resources for how to help those on the island, here. Mahalo.