Ho'okipa Beach Park, Maui, HI, a windsurfer's paradise!

Ho’okipa Beach Park, Maui, HI: Complete 2024 Visitor Guide

Windsurfing, kitesurfing, parasailing, snorkeling and just plain board surfing!

Ho’okipa Beach is a paradise for adventure tourists seeking ocean sports!

With extensive, fringing coral reefs providing multiple shore breaks, and consistent winds whipping up towering waves, Ho’okipa Beach Park offers thrilling rides for the experienced and professional surfers year-round!

Beautiful Ho'okipa Beach off the road to Hana Highway, Maui, HI
Beautiful Ho’okipa Beach off the road to Hana Highway, Maui, HI

Not a professional surfer? Head to the Ho’okipa Beach Lookout on the far eastern end of the beach, and enjoy the thrills vicariously from your vantage point with binoculars and zoom lenses!

The fringing coral reefs come all the way to the white sandy beaches of Ho’okipa Beach, forming shallow tidepools where you can wade in and cool off, or tack on a snorkel and admire the rich tropical fish in the reefs.

Don’t want to get wet? Stay on the beach and admire the dozens of majestic Hawaiian green sea turtles or honu you typically see resting at the far end, near the lookout cliff, especially at dusk!

Easily accessible from the popular road to Hana Highway, visiting Ho’okipa Beach Park is one of the best things to do in Maui.

Join us and learn more about the best things to do in Ho’okipa Beach Park, and other useful tips to plan your visit!

Hey, by the way! Snorkeling is probably at the top of your Maui itinerary — check out our guides to the best tours to Molokini Crater and Turtle Town, two of the top snorkel spots on Maui!

Professional surfers riding towering waves at Ho'okipa Beach Park, Maui, HI
Professional surfers riding towering waves at Ho’okipa Beach Park, Maui, HI

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Ho’okipa Beach Directions

Facing the windward side of Maui, Ho’okipa Beach is located on the north shore, a few miles from the towns of Kahului and Paia.

From Kahului, take the Hana Highway, Highway 36, south towards Paia (see Ho’okipa Beach map).

Hana Highway is popularly called the Road to Hana and is one of the most scenic highways on Maui, winding along the coastline, and on every Maui visitor’s itinerary!

Road to Hana Highway winding along Maui's coast
Road to Hana Highway winding along Maui’s coast

Check out our detailed guide to the must-see stops on the Road to Hana if you plan to take the scenic drive!

Hoʻokipa Beach Park is located at mile marker #9 on the Hana Highway. 

>> Book these 5-star rated, highly popular, Maui Tours now!

Ho’okipa Beach Parking

Ho’okipa Beach parking is ample, with three free public parking lots available to you, all with many parking spaces! We’ve never had a problem finding a parking spot here.

Your best Ho’okipa Beach parking option is at the top, the parking lot for Ho’okipa Lookout, especially if you are planning to continue on the Road to Hana towards Hana and Haleakala National Park.

This is because the road currently becomes one-way beyond this point, and the farthest exit does not allow you to get back on Hana Highway heading towards Hana.

Ho’okipa Beach Map

The Ho’okipa Beach map below shows the location of Ho’okipa Beach Park, and you can expand it to see the parking lots and the main attractions nearby.

Ho’okipa Beach Access

If you parked at Ho’okipa Lookout as suggested above, you have a short walk down to Ho’okipa Beach.

As you walk down, you will first come to the pavilions (at an elevation), and you can step down to the beach from there.

Hookipa Beach Park, Maui, HI, with the elevated pavilions on the left
Hookipa Beach Park, Maui, HI, with the elevated pavilions on the left

Ho’okipa Beach Reservations

Ho’okipa Beach reservations or permits are not required.

>> Book these 5-star rated, highly popular, Maui Tours now!

Ho’okipa Beach Amenities / Facilities

Location: Mile marker 9, Hana Highway, Paia, Hawaii 96779
Lifeguard: Yes, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm
Beach Amenities: Restrooms, showers, picnic tables, lookout points, benches, pavilions
Food Nearby: Food trucks with local cuisine and fresh coconuts
Parking: Three free public parking lots
Directions: Mile marker #9 on Hâna Highway (36)

There are two lifeguard stations, one at each end of the beach.

Lifeguard on duty at Ho'okipa Beach Park, Maui, HI
Lifeguard on duty at Ho’okipa Beach Park, Maui, HI

The pavilions and picnic tables are built out at an elevation, mainly because the waves come right in at high tide and during storms, sometimes to the base wall.

Ho'okipa Beach, Maui, HI, from the pavilions
Ho’okipa Beach, Maui, HI, from the pavilions

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Best Things to Do at Ho’okipa Beach

Ho’okipa means hospitality, or to make a visit welcome.

While all are welcome to visit Ho’okipa Beach, leave surfing and windsurfing, the two activities that put Ho’okipa Beach on the map, to the pros and experienced surfers.

Surfers entering the water to ride the waves at Ho'okipa Beach, Maui, HI
Surfers entering the water to ride the waves at Ho’okipa Beach, Maui, HI

While the waters may look inviting, they are treacherous with strong, hidden currents and powerful large waves. We stayed close to the shore, and used the shallow tidepools while wading and snorkeling.

Conditions can change quickly, winds can pick up dramatically, catching unwary surfers by surprise.

Experienced windsurfers heading to meet the waves at Ho'okipa Beach Park, Maui, HI
Experienced windsurfers heading to meet the waves at Ho’okipa Beach Park, Maui, HI

With sharp, exposed and underwater, coral reefs and hidden lava boulders, you need to be quite experienced to avoid being thrown against them, and to avoid injuries.

Check with the lifeguards on duty, even when the waters seem calm.

1. Windsurfing at Ho’okipa Beach, Maui

Google “top windsurfing locations” and Ho’okipa Beach, Maui, shows up consistently in the first three results, both in the US and in the world!

Windsurfers enjoying consistent winds at Ho'okipa Beach Park, Maui, HI
Windsurfers enjoying consistent winds at Ho’okipa Beach Park, Maui, HI

Why is that? Beautiful white sandy beach, crystal blue warm waters, consistent strong trade winds, and large waves that break well offshore!

Ho’okipa Beach is a veritable paradise for windsurfers, and they flock from all over the world to participate in famous competitions like the Aloha Classic (one of the most prestigious competitions in the windsurfing world).

With extensive, fringing coral reefs around Ho’okipa Beach, waves tend to break well-offshore, and can be grouped into four main sections:

  • The Pavilions is next to the lookout cliff and is a right-hander.
  • Next to it and to the west is Middles, facing the center of the beach, and breaking left and right.
  • Continuing west is the Point, breaking to the right.
  • Beyond the bay, further to the west is Lanes, breaking to the left and right.

The Lanes requires paddling much further out, but well worth the extra effort.

The Point is the most popular with the professional windsurfers!

>> Book these 5-star rated, highly popular, Maui Tours now!

2. Kitesurfing Ho’okipa Beach

Think the antics of the windsurfers on the towering waves are amazing? Wait till you see the gravity defying kitesurfers soaring to dizzying heights!

Kitesurfing at Ho'okipa Beach, Maui, HI
Kitesurfing at Ho’okipa Beach, Maui, HI

Ho’okipa Beach was the place for kitesurfing, with Red Bull’s King of the Air competitions held here in the early 2000s.

You’ll still find many professional kitesurfers at Ho’okipa Beach, since many of them live on Maui, in Paia.

We spotted some real pros kitesurfing last time we went to Hookipa Beach, and they would zip through the water at about 20-30 mph, propelled by the winds!

One of them was practicing kite loops, a technical kitesurfing move, simply enthralling to watch!

3. Surf Ho’okipa Beach

With towering waves and warm waters, can board surfers be far away?

Especially in winter, when you can expect 20-30 feet waves, depending on the surf conditions, you’ll see surfers enjoying the thrilling rides.

Surfing the large waves at Ho'okipa Beach, Maui, HI
Surfing the large waves at Ho’okipa Beach, Maui, HI

Surfers tend to gather early morning when the waves are large, but wind is limited. Later in the afternoon, when the wind typically picks up, windsurfers and kitesurfers seem to be more prevalent.

While the winter waves tend to be mostly for professional and experienced board surfers, summer conditions are much more suitable for the mid-level surfers, and you’ll also find a lot of the younger, mostly local, kids surfing as well.

Young surfers entering the waters at Ho'okipa Beach, Maui, HI
Young surfers entering the waters at Ho’okipa Beach, Maui, HI

>> Book these 5-star rated, highly popular, Maui Tours now!

4. Admire the Surfers and the Views from Ho’okipa Beach Lookout

The observation deck or Ho’okipa Beach Lookout point is a great place to get a birds-eye view of all the action, especially the windsurfers and kitesurfers who zip through at high speeds or soar into the air!

Especially if you visit Maui in winter, when the wave action is at its peak.

Admiring the surfing acrobatics of the pros from the lookout at Ho'okipa Beach
Admiring the surfing acrobatics of the pros from the lookout at Ho’okipa Beach

If you’re on the scenic road to Hana, and can stop at Ho’okipa Beach for only a short time, this is the place to be!

Lookout at Ho'okipa Beach Park, Maui, HI
Lookout at Ho’okipa Beach Park, Maui, HI

Apart from the surfing action, you can also spot the turtles or monk seals from the lookout point, since they often aggregate on the beach just below the lookout cliff.

5. Admire Turtles and Monk Seals on Ho’okipa Beach

Turtles on Ho’okipa Beach? You bet!

Ho’okipa Beach is one of the best beaches on Maui for consistently spotting the endangered Hawaiian green sea turtles, some as large as 400 pounds.

On our last visit to Ho’okipa Beach, our kids counted well over 50 of them resting on the beach!

Hawaiian green sea turtles resting by the dozens on Ho'okipa Beach, Maui, HI
Hawaiian green sea turtles resting by the dozens on Ho’okipa Beach, Maui, HI

You tend to see them congregate on the beach section next to the lookout cliff on the eastern side, especially towards dusk. They come in to lay eggs in fall.

Sometimes they blend in so well with the lava boulders on the beach, you can’t tell them apart from a distance unless they move.

Please keep a minimum of 10 feet or further away, the Hawaiian green sea turtles are a protected species.

Monk seals are rarer (a local once told us that they usually don’t come to the beach if there are turtles around, not sure how true that is).

We did spot one while on a quick early afternoon stop on the way to Haleakala National Park.

Endangered Hawaiian monk seal resting on Ho'okipa Beach, Maui, HI
Endangered Hawaiian monk seal resting on Ho’okipa Beach, Maui, HI

Hawaiian monk seals are also endangered and protected, so please give them a wide berth.

>> Book these 5-star rated, highly popular, Maui Tours now!

6. Ho’okipa Beach Snorkeling

While the best snorkeling on Maui is mostly on the sunny, leeward side near Lahaina and West Maui, where the waters are calmer year-round, if you’re spending some time at Ho’okipa Beach, snorkeling can definitely be on the agenda!

The extensive coral reefs on Ho’okipa Beach fringe naturally to the shore, creating shallow tidepools at the center, where snorkeling is plain magic for kids and beginning snorkelers.

Extensive coral reefs at Ho'okipa Beach Park, Maui, HI
Extensive coral reefs at Ho’okipa Beach Park, Maui, HI

You can also head towards the lookout point on the east side, along the beach, and there are shallow options there as well.

Fringing coral reefs and tidepools at Ho'okipa Beach Park, Maui, HI
Fringing coral reefs and tidepools at Ho’okipa Beach Park, Maui, HI

But stay in the shallows, snorkeling further out is not safe, given the strong waves and currents at Ho’okipa Beach. When in doubt, check with the lifeguards on duty.

Our kids had great fun snorkeling early morning at Ho’okipa Beach on our way along the road to Hana.

The waters were calm and clear, and they could see beautiful Hawaiian fish including schools of yellow tang and convict tang, and different kinds of butterflyfish, triggerfish and more.

To recognize and identify these common and beautiful Hawaiian fish, check out our Hawaiian fish snorkeling guide!

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7. Ho’okipa Beach Swimming

Ho’okipa Beach is not a swimming beach, because the waves get rough and the currents are strong, as you move away from the shore, even a short distance.

But the shallow waters in the tidepools and close to shore provide for a refreshing dip or wading, especially if you’re visiting during the hot summers!

Wading in the shallow tidepools at Ho'okipa Beach, Maui, HI
Wading in the shallow tidepools at Ho’okipa Beach, Maui, HI

8. Sunbathe or Relax with a Book on the Ho’okipa Beach

The finely powdered white sand at Ho’okipa Beach is excellent for some sunbathing, and finding a private, secluded spot on the the long strip of beach is not difficult.

You can also relax with a book or just chill, taking in the hypnotic, rhythmic waves crashing on the coral reef and lava boulders near the shore.

Shade is available on the upper pavilions and lookout area or under the occasional coconut palm trees lining the east side of the beach.

Beautiful Ho'okipa Beach with fine, white sands and turquoise blue waters
Beautiful Ho’okipa Beach with fine, white sands and turquoise blue waters

>> Book these 5-star rated, highly popular, Maui Tours now!

9. Stay Back for Spectacular Sunset Views from Ho’okipa Beach

Sunsets at Ho’okipa Beach are colorful and spectacular, with the golden sun fading below the mountains across the west side of the bay.

Watching the surfers come in against the fading dusk light is remarkably peaceful and serene!

Dramatic sunset at Ho'okipa Beach, Maui, HI
Dramatic sunset at Ho’okipa Beach, Maui, HI

10. Stroll Leisurely along the Ho’okipa Beach Walk

The Ho’okipa Beach Walk is a short (about 0.7 mile roundtrip), easy beach hike, and takes roughly 15-20 minutes.

Ho'okipa Beach Walk, an easy hike along the coast
Ho’okipa Beach Walk, an easy hike along the coast

We strolled along the walk at dusk, admiring the sunset and the many Hawaiian green sea turtles that came ashore to rest on the beach.

We even saw some junglefowl and cows.

Our kids saw a couple of cattle egrets as well, near the cows!

Cattle egrets near Ho'okipa Beach Park, Maui, HI
Cattle egrets near Ho’okipa Beach Park, Maui, HI

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Ho’okipa Beach Weather

Make sure you check the Ho’okipa Beach weather and surf conditions if you’re planning to surf, windsurf, kitesurf or even enter the water!

Weather conditions can change quickly and dramatically, and winds can pick up sharply, so stay safe.

Towering winter waves at Ho'okipa Beach Park, Maui, HI
Towering winter waves at Ho’okipa Beach Park, Maui, HI

While in winter, the waves and wind can be scary, sometimes the summer swells can also be intimidating!

Snorkeling and Water Activities Gear Checklist

Though you can rent snorkeling gear or use the ones that come with tours, we invested in our own gear, mainly due to Covid-19 (why take the risk?).

>> Book these 5-star rated, highly popular, Maui Tours now!

Tips for Your Visit to Ho’okipa Beach

While lifeguards are on duty at Ho’okipa Beach, the waves and surf here are not kid-friendly or family-friendly, so stay close to shore and in the shallows.

Make sure you check the weather and risk level. Do not enter the water if orange flags are out.

Surfing, kitesurfing and windsurfing on Ho’okipa Beach are for the experienced and the professionals.

Exposed lava rocks and coral reefs, dangerous to inexperienced surfers at Ho'okipa Beach
Exposed lava rocks and coral reefs, dangerous to inexperienced surfers at Ho’okipa Beach

With sharp coral reef and lava rocks, both hidden and exposed, you have to be extremely careful to avoid injury.

Even if you are experienced, you should consult the many local surfers to make sure you know where to go and what the risks are.

You are likely to encounter Hawaiian green sea turtles and monk seals on the beach, but note that they are protected, and you need to observe the posted signs and stay at a safe distance (at least 10 feet).

Heed the sign and give the resting monk seals a wide berth
Heed the sign and give the resting monk seals a wide berth

As with other Hawaiian beaches, you will need reefsafe sunscreen, bug spray and mosquito repellent.

On the occasions we’ve visited Ho’okipa Beach, we found food trucks near the lookout point, and the food was delicious and reasonably priced.

>> Book these 5-star rated, highly popular, Maui Tours now!

Ocean Safety Tips

Hawaii’s beaches are beautiful, but ocean activities can be dangerous. Ocean conditions are dynamic and can change without warning.

Here are some tips to enjoy the ocean and beaches safely:

  • ALWAYS heed posted warning signs.
  • Check conditions just before you arrive at your chosen beach, and watch conditions at the beach for a bit before you decide to enter the water.
  • Swim at a lifeguarded beach and ask the lifeguard for advice before you enter the water.
  • Never turn your back on the ocean, whether you are standing at the shore or on a cliff above. If you see wet rocks or sand, it means the water has been here recently.
  • Know your limitations, especially if you are not an experienced swimmer. If in doubt, do not go out.
  • If you choose to enter the water, go with a partner or in a group.
  • Know that alcohol can impair judgment and motor skills in the water.
  • Keep children close and always keep your eyes on what they are doing in the water.
  • Watch for sharp coral or rocks or sea urchins.

Also check out the safety guide put out by Maui County.

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The Best Maui Tours

Have you booked these top-rated Maui guided adventures yet?

Small-group Road to Hana tour so everyone in your group can sit back and enjoy the views without worrying about negotiating hairpin bends or finding parking at popular stops!

A Haleakala sunrise tour so you can experience the bucket-list sunrise atop the volcano without the need to reserve a parking spot or drive up in the dark!

A Maui whale watching raft tour, which will let you see the massive humpback whales at eye level! (You can also opt for a more sedate boat whale watching tour.) A MUST winter Maui activity!

A Maui snorkeling excursion that combines the Molokini Crater with Turtle Town, the two most epic snorkeling destinations on the island!

A 7-line Maui zipline experience where you can glide over the forests on the north shore of Maui. Enjoy ocean views and navigate obstacle course challenges!

An oceanfront luau in Wailea where you can enjoy a sunset buffet and traditional Polynesian entertainment. You can also opt for a Kaanapali oceanfront luau.

Renting a Car in Maui

The best things to do in Maui are located all over the island.

Public transport options on Maui are minimal to non-existent, so if you want to explore the island beyond your base, you’ll want to book a rental car for your Maui trip.

We always use Discover Cars to book Maui car rentals. They search across a variety of rental car companies, both budget and brand, to offer you the best deals, AND they offer free cancellations. Plus, there are no hidden fees.

>> Check availability and prices on Maui car rentals now!

Where to Stay in Maui

Depending on whether you want a vacation rental with more room and the option to cook some of your meals, or you want a resort or hotel experience, and depending on which part of Maui you want to choose as your base, you have a variety of options.

By far the majority of visitors to Maui choose to base on the west side, where there is a large selection of accommodations available, from resorts and hotels to vacation rentals.

We suggest starting your search for Maui accommodations by browsing vacation rentals on VRBO. You can filter to choose a specific area, such as Kihei, Kapalua, or Wailea.

We have stayed in VRBO rentals in Kihei and Kapalua and find that the choice and quality are generally great.

>> Look for a Maui vacation rental on VRBO now!

Cows in the pasture near Ho'okipa Beach, Maui, HI
Cows in the pasture near Ho’okipa Beach, Maui, HI

More Maui Travel Inspiration

If you are considering a trip to Maui, read some of our other comprehensive guides to craft the ultimate Maui itinerary!

If you are a first-time visitor to Maui, start by reading our article on the best things to do in Maui. From beautiful beaches and lush rainforest to Maui’s volcanic crater, our round-up captures the most iconic Maui experiences and activities.

If you are dreaming of a winter getaway to a tropical paradise, read our guide on why you should visit Maui in winter!

Driving the Road to Hana is one of Maui’s bucket-list experiences. We have a comprehensive guide to the best stops on the Road to Hana, including waterfalls and short hikes on the way.

One of the top stops on the route is Wai’anapanapa State Park, which requires reservations. Read our full guide to Maui’s black sand beach in this popular state park!

Maui boasts one of only two national parks in Hawaii. Read our round-up of the best things to do in Haleakala National Park. We also have the ultimate guide to sunrise at Haleakala.

We also have a guide to the best hikes in Haleakala National Park, and in-depth hiking guides to the two most epic hikes in the park: the Sliding Sands Trail and the Pipiwai Trail.

Speaking of hiking, also be sure to check out our round-up of the best Maui hikes, from easy to challenging. Plus, peruse our complete guides to hiking the popular Kapalua Coastal Trail in northwest Maui, and the Waihee Ridge Trail for astounding views!

We also have a round-up of the best waterfalls in Maui, from the 400-foot Waimoku Falls to Upper Waikani Falls near Hana. Some Maui waterfalls can be seen from viewpoints whereas others require hiking.

Water activities are plentiful in Maui! Check out our epic guide to whale watching in Maui, and our guide to the best Molokini snorkeling tours and the best Turtle Town snorkeling.

If you’d rather snorkel from shore, read our round-up of the best snorkel spots in West Maui.

Every Maui itinerary should have plenty of beach time: there are so many beautiful beaches in Maui that you are spoiled for choice. We have a round-up of the best beaches in South Maui, plus a detailed guide to Wailea Beach in southwest Maui, and one for Maluaka Beach along the Turtle Town stretch of coast.

We also have articles on popular Napili Beach and local favorite Keawakapu Beach. Along the northwest side, Honolua Bay is a famous surfing spot, and Ho’okipa Beach, near Paia, is a windsurfing mecca.

If you are looking to experience a different side of Maui, plan a visit to the Iao Valley State Monument. The lush landscapes and serene ambience will wow you! Also read our guide to Maui’s state parks, which include popular Makena State Park, home to Big Beach and Little Beach.

Spend a day exploring Upcountry Maui. Some of the best things to do in Upcountry Maui include touring farms and gardens. Help milk goats, tour a tea farm, go wine tasting and much more.

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Discover the complete guide to visiting Hookipa Beach Park in Maui, Hawaii! It's known for surfing and windsurfing, plus it's a favorite spot for Hawaiian green sea turtles! #mauitravel #mauihawaii

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