Ho’okipa Beach Complete Guide: Photos, Services, Turtles & More

Ho'okipa Beach blog post cover.  Text overlaying an image of Ho'okipa Beach, featuring the picnic facilities, palm trees, white sand, and the blue ocean.

Ho’okipa Beach Park is a sea turtle and surfer sanctuary at the gateway to the Road to Hana. At any given time, visitors could see anywhere from tens to over a hundred honus (Hawaiian green sea turtles) resting on the shore of the beach.

But this incredible park is not just for the turtles. Ho’okipa is a world-class destination for windsurfing and has been the Maui surfer mecca for almost a hundred years!

Whether you just want to have a glance from Ho’okipa Lookout on your way to The Road to Hana or spend a sunny afternoon enjoying the facilities, this guide will cover everything you need to know for planning your visit.

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Ho’okipa Beach Photo Gallery

  • Looking east toward turtle cove at Hookipa Beach Park.

The Ho’okipa Beach photo gallery above shows what you can expect to see on your visit to this beautiful Maui destination. In it are pictures from many angles including the lookout and shoreline, each providing beautiful vistas of this incredible park.

Look closely and you’ll notice that what at first glance appears to be a lot of rocks on the beach are actually many turtles well camouflaged! We counted over 40 on each of our visits.

Hookipa Beach Park Overview

INFO & SERVICES

  • Nearest Town: Paia and Haiku (two of the Top 10 best towns in Maui to visit!)
  • Fees: There are no fees for Ho’okipa Beach Park entry nor parking.
  • Parking: There are large parking lots at both Ho’okipa Beach Park and Ho’okipa Lookout
  • Public Bathrooms? Yes.
  • Picnic Benches? Yes, there are ample covered picnic areas.
  • Showers? Yes.
  • Grills? Yes.
  • Lifeguard? Yes, from 9am – 4:30pm daily

DESCRIPTION

Ho’okipa Beach Park is a world-class surfing and windsurfing destination on the North Shore of Maui. In addition to the incredible surf conditions, it is famous for being a haven for more Hawaiian sea turtles than any other beach on the island.

You will find the park on the Hana Hwy. In fact, it is the final beach you can visit before passing Mile Marker 0 to begin the Road to Hana.

The beach itself is a beautiful gold, but the sand is fairly coarse. A sharp lava rock shelf stands between the sand and the water, making it a dangerous place for swimming and snorkeling without a board.

It is, however, a wonderful place to spend a morning or afternoon, watching the surfers and turtles come and go!

The park offers a full range of amenities including ample parking, flushing toilets, showers, covered picnic areas, and a lifeguard from 8am – 4:30pm daily. There is no fee for parking or entry.

In addition to the beach park, the Ho’okipa Lookout is a quick stop that enables travelers on the move to duck in for a view from the top and be on their way quickly. The vista from the overlook provides a stunning view of the tropical scenery of the Maui North Shore.

How to Get to Hookipa Beach Park

A satellite view of the north shore of Maui indicating the location of the beach park.
The red pin in the satellite view above shows the location of the beach park on the north shore.

With Navigation: Your GPS device will recognize the beach park by name.

General Directions: Traveling east on the Hana Highway, turn left when you see the sign for Ho’okipa Beach Park. You can choose to just park at the upper parking area for the lookout, or drive the circle route down to the beach parking. The road is one-way through the parking lot.

When to Visit

Visitors line up at a rock line that protects the Hookipa turtle residents from tourists.
Visitors line up at a rock line that protects the turtle residents from tourists.

According to the lifeguard, the best time to see turtles at Ho’okipa Beach is typically in the late afternoon. Over a hundred have been counted at a time on some days, but you are guaranteed to see at least a couple dozen anytime you visit.

Surfers tend to visit in the morning, but this is largely dependent on that day’s tide tables.

If you are just wanting to enjoy the sun and sand, there is no bad time for a trip to the beach!

Ho’okipa Beach FAQs

When is the best time to see turtles at Hookipa Beach?

You will see turtles at Ho’okipa any time you visit, but the daily lifeguard there recommends coming in the afternoon, between 2-4pm to see the highest concentration of turtles.

A handful of Hawaiian green sea turtles resting on the shore of Hookipa Beach Park.
What is Hookipa Beach known for?

Ho’okipa Beach is known by tourists as the best place to see the “honu”, aka Hawaiian green sea turtles, sometimes even referred to as “Turtle Beach”. It is known by Maui residents and locals as a windsurfing and surfing mecca.

Can I see the sea turtles from Hookipa Lookout?

You can see the turtles in the sheltered cove of the beach from Hookipa Lookout. However, they blend in with the lava rock from this distance. A zoom lens or binoculars is recommended if you do not wish to visit Hookipa Beach.

Is Hookipa good for snorkeling?

Due to the delicate reef, dangerous lava rock, and high volume of surfers, snorkeling is almost never recommended at Ho’okipa Beach. You can check with the lifeguard on the day of your visit or call ahead to see if it is possible, but we recommend going to Kaulahao Beach just down the road where you will likely see plenty of turtles.

Other Relevant Maui Guides

A young female swimmer waits on the shore of Red Sand Beach in Maui.
Discover the best Secret Beaches of Maui, including the incredible Red Sand Beach seen above.

Before you go, you may want to skim some of the titles for other relevant Maui guides below to ensure you do not miss any epic beaches, sunset destinations, or noteworthy things to do during your visit to the Valley Isle!

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