Sandy beach
Yes
Hike-in Required
No
Surfing
No
Snorkeling / SCUBA
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Though they are two distinct beaches, Ulua and Mokapu are often referred to in the same sentence because they share a parking lot. From the lot that’s just below the old Renaissance Hotel, take the small path down—once you hit the sand, Ulua will be on your left and Mokapu on your right.

Arrive much earlier than you care to. Even though there are 51 spots in the lot, the popularity of these beaches among commercial scuba outfitters makes for combat parking throughout most of the day. That said, the beaches are spacious enough that you’ll rarely have a tough time finding a quiet spot to yourself. Though Mokapu is a bit more picturesque, the vibe is quintessentially Wailea with resort-goers aplenty. The slightly-less-used Ulua is still a very popular site especially among divers. The beaches share clean bathrooms and showers, but there’s no lifeguard on duty.

For beginner to intermediate snorkelers (read: beginner to intermediate swimmers), it’s truly difficult to find a better payoff for such minimal snorkeling effort. Start at the north end of the reef at Ulua. From there, slowly make your way around the rocky outcropping to Mokapu Beach, spotting colorful coral, an array of fish, and most likely a handful of green sea turtles along the way. Once you take out at Mokapu, there’s a manicured path that leads right back to your starting point.

The gentle waves, clear waters, and calm current make these beaches popular for night diving and swimming as well. A perfect evening spent is one on Ulua watching the sun go down, setting fire to Kahoolawe, Molokini, and Lanai, then a quick dip before heading out.

Logistics + Planning

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Maui's best beginner snorkeling reef. Broad sandy beaches. Adjacent lodging.

Cons

Very heavily used. Very limited public parking.

Features

Lodging
Tide pools
Wildlife
Whale watching
Tide pools

Location

Field Guide

Comments

Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.