With glistening bays, long sandy beaches and breathtaking lookout points, the Kapalua Coastal Trail is one of the best scenic walks in Maui, Hawaii.
This post may contain affiliate links, which Globe Guide receives compensation for with each click or purchase at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support!
The paved pathway hugs the coastline, winding past luxe resorts and up to rocky outcrops where you might be lucky enough to spot a humpback whale breaching in the distance. Surfers play in the waves, and there are incredible snorkeling opportunities just off the shoreline.
The Kapalua trail stretches from Kapalua Bay to Honokahua Bay, and since it’s only 1.76 miles each way and relatively flat this is one of the best Maui walking trails for all ages and activity levels.
Kapalua Bay marks the beginning of the trail, and chances are you’ll want to spend at least a few hours here. Home to protected coastal dunes, the golden sand is incredibly soft and perfect for lounging on.
There are a few sit-down restaurants nearby, as well as washrooms and a shack called the Kapalua Bay Beach Crew that rents beach gear including umbrellas, chairs, kayaks, SUPs and snorkeling gear for reasonable prices. Kapalua Bay Beach is popular with families, since the cove is mostly free from rocks and sheltered from the strong waves that make other nearby beaches a surfer’s paradise.
While this is a good spot for snorkelling, you might not even need to get wet to enjoy a wildlife encounter; giant sea turtles sometimes come so close to the shore that you can see them from the beach!
The best snorkeling is found in the next bay over, at Namalu Bay, also known as ‘Cliffhouse’. There’s a beautiful viewpoint looking down on it as you continue along the Kapalua Coastal Trail near the swanky Montage resort, which is where most people stop since there’s no defined path to get down.
The big boulders and rocks attract the likes of octopus, eels, sea turtles, crabs and unicorn fish, and the water is deep enough for cliff jumping.
The big swells over at Oneloa Bay (‘long sand’) attract surfers, so this is a great spot to catch some waves or at least watch the pros in action.
There are a couple of access points to get down; one that drops through the foliage near the entrance, and another at the end of a wooden boardwalk that frames the beach. This is one of the prettiest spots along the Kapalua hiking trail, as it’s lined with lava rocks and palm trees.
Continuing along the Kapalua Coastal Trail, you’ll pass the Honokahua Burial Site, a golf course and the Ritz-Carlton, ending up in Honokahua Bay. Home to D.T. Fleming Beach, this is another popular spot with families thanks to the on-site restaurant, beach concierge and plenty of room to spread out.
While the water isn’t as calm as it is in Kapalua Bay and it can get quite windy in the afternoon, the waves are fun for kids to frolic around in, especially with a boogie board.
Kapalua Coastal Trail parking
There are four free parking lots along the Kapalua hike, though they can fill up quickly especially on weekends. Most people start from the west end at Kapalua Bay, so your best bet is to grab the first spot you see near the Kapalua Tennis Garden on Lower Honoapiilani Road, and walk toward The Bay Villas where the pathway begins.
Looking for more fun things to do in Maui? Book one of these incredible tours:
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY:
- Unique and unexpected things to do in Phoenix, Arizona
- Sydney’s stunning Coastal Walk: Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach
- Scenic stops: An epic itinerary for an Oregon coast road trip
SHARE THE PINSPIRATION! CLICK THE IMAGES BELOW TO PIN: