Are you planning a family vacation to Maui, Hawaii and looking for the best snorkel spots? Look no further! In this informative video by Chasing Adeline, you will discover the top 3 snorkel spots on Maui, including Coral Gardens, Molokini Crater, and Lahaina’s Baby Beach. Coral Gardens is a must-visit destination, offering a spectacular snorkel experience with beautiful coral formations and a variety of marine life, including Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles. For a lighter and shorter snorkel trip, the afternoon tour to Coral Gardens or Molokini Crater is highly recommended. If you’re traveling with young children, Lahaina’s Baby Beach is the perfect spot, with calm and shallow waters protected by a reef. So pack your snorkel gear, and get ready for an unforgettable snorkeling adventure on your Hawaii family vacation!

Coral Gardens

Where to Snorkel on Maui, Hawaii - Top 3 Maui Snorkel Spots - HAWAII FAMILY VACATION VLOG #hawaii

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Location and Description

Coral Gardens is considered one of Maui’s premier snorkeling destinations. Situated on the west side of Maui in a protected bay along the Pali Highway Mountain Pass before Olowalu, it offers a unique and beautiful natural reef formation. The surrounding cliff lines protect the cove from wind and rough seas, creating an ideal environment for snorkeling. Coral Gardens can only be accessed safely by boat, making it a more exclusive and private spot compared to other snorkeling locations. The crystal-clear waters with visibility reaching up to 40 feet and the abundance of large coral heads make snorkeling here truly breathtaking.


As mentioned earlier, Coral Gardens can only be reached by boat. Visitors who wish to snorkel at this location can join an afternoon Maui snorkel tour, which offers a lighter and shorter version of the morning snorkel trip. It’s important to note that the specific location visited during the tour, whether it’s Coral Gardens or Molokini Crater, depends on the weather conditions. The tour costs $65 per person and $50 for kids. Snorkel gear, including floaties, is provided on the tour, so visitors don’t need to bring their own.

Marine Life

Coral Gardens is home to a diverse range of marine life, making it an incredible snorkeling experience. Snorkelers have the opportunity to swim alongside Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles, which are a major highlight of this location. The reef is teeming with hundreds of fish species, adding vibrant colors and movement to the underwater landscape. The coral formations at Coral Gardens are truly spectacular and create a visually stunning backdrop for snorkelers. With underwater visibility reaching up to 40 feet, snorkelers can fully immerse themselves in the beauty of this underwater world.

Boat Tour Details

The afternoon Maui snorkel tour that visits Coral Gardens or Molokini Crater is not only a chance to experience incredible snorkeling but also offers additional amenities. The tour includes a professional photographer who captures photos and videos of guests while they swim and explore the coral reef. This allows visitors to have lasting memories of their snorkeling adventure. The tour also provides food, including burgers with all the trimmings, to satisfy any post-snorkeling appetites. Vegetarian options are available as well. The whole tour lasts approximately three and a half hours, providing ample time to fully enjoy the snorkeling experience at Coral Gardens.

Lahaina’s Baby Beach


Lahaina’s Baby Beach is a popular spot primarily frequented by local families with young children. The beach is protected by an exposed stretch of reef, creating a calm and shallow area where small children can safely play in the water without being knocked down by big waves. Parents can relax and let their kids run freely without worrying too much about the ocean. However, it’s important to note that Baby Beach may not appeal to most visitors as Lahaina’s beaches don’t compare to those in Ka’anapali, Napili, and Kapalua. The beach is narrow, and the quality of sand varies, ranging from an unappealing dirty-grey at the north end to minimal beach area towards the end where the video was shot. Additionally, there are numerous coral heads and rocks throughout the area, which may pose a challenge for adults and older children looking to enjoy the water.

Pros and Cons

There are several pros and cons to consider when visiting Lahaina’s Baby Beach. One of the major advantages is the calm and shallow water, which provides a safe environment for families with young children. The exposed stretch of reef acts as a natural barrier against waves, ensuring a more relaxed and peaceful swimming experience. The beach also offers some beautiful coral heads and rocks, which can be visually pleasing to look at. However, it’s important to note that these same coral heads and rocks can also be a source of discomfort, as they can cause scrapes and stubs that may quickly ruin the fun. Additionally, the narrow beach and varying sand quality may not meet the expectations of visitors seeking a more picturesque beach setting.

Snorkeling Experience

While Lahaina’s Baby Beach is mostly known for its family-friendly atmosphere and calm water, it does offer some opportunities for snorkeling. The breakwater further out creates a barrier where the ocean waves break against the coral, providing an underwater landscape to explore for those interested in snorkeling. Snorkelers may have the chance to encounter various fish species, adding an element of marine life to their snorkeling experience. It’s worth noting, however, that the primary focus of Lahaina’s Baby Beach is its suitability for families with young children rather than being a dedicated snorkeling spot. Snorkelers may find more rewarding experiences at other locations along the west coast of Maui.

West Coast of Maui


The west coast of Maui offers a range of opportunities for snorkeling enthusiasts. Stretching from Kalapula Bay to Black Rock at Ka’anapali Beach, this area is a treasure trove for those looking to explore the underwater world. The west coast benefits from being on the leeward side of the island, which means it experiences less wind compared to other areas, creating ideal conditions for snorkeling.

Snorkeling Opportunities

Along the west coast of Maui, there are several spots that offer excellent snorkeling opportunities. Visitors can choose to explore areas near their accommodations or venture further to discover new snorkeling havens. The proximity to resorts and hotels makes it convenient for snorkelers to access these underwater wonders. Snorkeling in this area allows for encounters with various fish species, colorful coral formations, and other marine life. The warm, clear waters provide an optimal environment for snorkelers to fully immerse themselves in the beauty of Maui’s underwater world.

Turtle Spotting

One highlight of snorkeling along the west coast of Maui is the chance to spot sea turtles. While Turtle Town is a well-known destination for encountering these magnificent creatures, it’s worth noting that they can also be found along other areas of the west coast. Snorkelers may have the opportunity to observe turtles gracefully swimming in their natural habitat. However, it’s important to remember to keep a safe distance and not disturb the turtles or their environment. The experience of snorkeling with these gentle giants is both awe-inspiring and humbling.

Black Rock

Parking at the Sheraton

Black Rock at Ka’anapali Beach is another popular snorkeling spot on Maui’s west coast. However, one challenge visitors may encounter is parking at the Sheraton, which provides direct access to Black Rock. It’s advisable to arrive early to secure a parking spot, as it tends to fill up quickly, especially during peak seasons. If the Sheraton parking lot is full, there are alternative parking options in the vicinity, although they may require a short walk to reach Black Rock.

Snorkeling Tips

Snorkeling at Black Rock offers a rewarding and memorable experience. To make the most of your snorkeling adventure, consider some useful tips. First and foremost, ensure you have the necessary snorkel gear, including a mask, snorkel, and fins. These can be rented from various rental shops in the area if you don’t have your own. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the basics of snorkeling, such as proper breathing techniques and clearing your mask. Additionally, be mindful of the currents and water conditions, and always snorkel with a buddy for safety. Most importantly, respect the marine environment by not touching or damaging the coral and marine life.


Maui, Hawaii offers an array of incredible snorkeling spots, each with its own unique characteristics. Coral Gardens stands out as a premier snorkeling destination, providing a spectacular underwater experience with its colorful coral formations and abundant marine life. Lahaina’s Baby Beach offers a family-friendly atmosphere with calm and shallow water, making it suitable for young children. The west coast of Maui provides numerous opportunities for snorkeling, with its ideal wind conditions and the chance to encounter sea turtles. Black Rock offers a memorable snorkeling experience, although parking at the Sheraton may require some planning. Overall, Maui’s snorkeling spots offer diverse and unforgettable experiences for snorkelers of all ages and skill levels. So grab your snorkel gear, dive into the crystal-clear waters, and let the underwater wonders of Maui take your breath away.