Kaulahao Beach, Maui: Why You MUST Visit this Turtle Sanctuary

Kaulahao Beach Maui blog cover image.  Text overlaying an image of a green turtle resting on the sand at Kaulahao Beach.

Hidden away on Maui’s North Shore is the small turtle haven of Kaulahao Beach. This locals’ hangout provides a small patch of coarse sand with deep blue water and a section of beach dedicated to “honus“, aka Hawaiian green sea turtles.

This beach is also commonly referred to as Kuau Beach Park. It is located just beyond the town of Paia on the Hana Highway.

This complete guide covers everything you need to know for visiting Kaulahao Beach. This includes exact directions, photos, services, snorkeling tips, and anything else you need to know.

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Kaulahao Beach Photo Gallery

Though it is small, Kaulahao Beach is considered one of the best secret beaches on Maui. Below are some of our best photos from multiple visits. These include views from both the land and sea!

Kuau Beach Park Overview

SERVICES

  • Nearest Town: Paia
  • Parking? Yes, a small parking lot.
  • Public Bathrooms? Yes, portapotties.
  • Picnic Benches? No.
  • Showers? No.
  • Grills? No.
  • Lifeguard? No.

DESCRIPTION

An empty shoreline photo from Kuau Beach park.
An empty beach on a cloudy day at Kuau Beach Park.

Kaulahao Beach is a small, lesser-visited beach on the North Shore of Maui. It is best known for the large population of resident Hawaiian green sea turtles who frequent the shores and waters.

The west-facing views and thriving turtle population make this a great place for watching sunset in Maui, and its secluded nature tends to limit the crowds of tourists.

This spot is a popular hangout for locals. It is quite common to see a small group congregated to fish and drink near the parking area.

How to Get to Kaulahao Beach

Satellite view with location for finding  Kaulahao Beach.
The red pin indicates where you will find the beach along the Hana Hwy.

With Navigation: Most devices will recognize Kaulahao Beach and deliver you directly to the parking area. There is no walk required.

General Directions: Take the Hana Hwy through Paia and make a left onto Kuau Beach Place. Park in the dirt lot and you will immediately see the main beach in front of you. The protected turtle cove is to your right facing the ocean and indicated by a rock line.

When to Visit Kaulahao Beach

A turtle rests on the shore of Kaulahao Beach at sunset.
Sunset is a great time to visit to see turtles resting on the shores and the sky changing color.

You are likely to see turtles resting on the shore anytime you visit. If you plan on snorkeling, midday is the best time to visit as the overhead light will create the best visibility underwater.

Sunset is also a magical time to visit. Your view from the beach is mostly west-facing and the resident honu are typically content to pose restfully in your foreground. Please be respectful of their home and keep a minimum of 10ft (3m) from them at all times.

Snorkeling at Kaulahao Beach Maui

A close up of a sea turtle taken underwater at Kuau Beach park in Maui.

Make sure you pack your snorkel gear and underwater camera! Though the water can be very choppy and visibility hit-or-miss, snorkeling is possible from right off the beach. The great thing about exploring underwater here is that you are basically guaranteed to see turtles!

We absolutely recommend you have this experience, just be sure to give the turtles plenty of space and never touch them. Not only is touching or disturbing turtles illegal, but these gentle giants also weigh more than you realize and injuries have occurred from wave-caused collisions. Besides, they don’t like to be poked and handled on a relaxing day in Hawaii any more than you would!

Other Relevant Maui Guides

Red Sand Beach photo from Road to Hana in Maui.
Red Sand Beach is one of the hidden gems many visitors miss. Be sure you’re not one of them! Check out our
5-7 DAY MAUI ITINERARY

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!

NORTH SHORE OF MAUI: All the best beaches and things to do on Maui’s North Shore
HAWAII PACKING LIST: A printable essential packing list + 25 useful items to consider
5-7 DAY MAUI ITINERARY: How to see the entire island in one week or less
BEST MAUI PHOTO SPOTS: 15 best places for photographing Maui
MAUI SUNSETS: The Top 10 places & activities for watching sunset in Maui
MAUI SECRET BEACHES: Discover the Top 10 secret beaches of Maui.

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