The Insiders Guide to Ho’okipa Beach in Maui

Ho’okipa means hospitality or welcoming comfort in the Hawaiian language and with good reason. The culture in Hawaii is known to be very welcoming and offers a community way of life for natives and tourists alike.

Besides its reputation as a park packed with activity, Hookipa has stunning white sand, clear, glassy turquoise water, and top-notch beach facilities to help you and your family enjoy a restful afternoon at one of Maui’s top beaches

Key Features:

  • Location: Paia, Maui (just East of Maui’s OGG Airport)
  • Lifeguard on Duty: Available.
  • Beach Length: 1.1 km.
  • Beach Width: Not available.
  • Facilities: Public restrooms, outdoor showers, picnic pavilions, concession stands.
  • Activities: Swimming, windsurfing, picnicking, watching sunsets, viewing Hawaiian green sea turtles.
  • Parking: 3 lots available.
  • Danger: Unpredictable waves, strong currents. 

For a well-deserved vacation, Hookipa Beach on North Shore Maui may be your best bet. This article will help you prepare for the trip and show you how to get there. Here is what we’ll cover:

Where Is Ho’okipa Beach in Maui? 

Hookipa Beach and its soft, sandy beaches, populated by small black rocks, is located at the 8.8 Mile Marker on Highway 36 between Paia and Haiku towns. 

The park’s one-way entrance prevents drivers from getting back to the Road to Hana directly. However, Ho’okipa Lookout, located on a cliff overlooking the magnificent beach and surf, features a spacious parking lot and serves as a great place to stop and admire the island.

Ho’okipa Beach is also down the street from a well-known restaurant, Mama’s Fish House, just before Ho’okipa at Kuau Cave. The restaurant was established in 1973 and serves some of the freshest food in Hawaii. We highly recommend stopping by and sampling the seafood.


What to Do at Ho’okipa Beach

Hookipa Beach is located on Maui’s North Shore and offers the best waves for Maui windsurfing. This beach park has been the Mecca for surfers of all levels since the 1930s. It has even earned the title ‘the home of contemporary surfing’ in Maui.

For surfer and Kiteboarder watching, there is a surf break just below called the Three Pavilions. Here, there’s a couple of picnic tables mainly used to relax and watch sunsets. You’ll also see several concession stands nearby.

Most people prefer the welcoming comfort of soft, sandy beaches instead of the picnic tables. However, the Three Pavilions area is an excellent place for seeking safety from the strong wind. For stormier days, the upper parking lot towards the right of the beach is a great viewing point.

Swimming conditions may vary depending on the seasons. The Hawaii North Shore swells and creates strong rip currents during winter, making it challenging to swim in the rough weather.

Unlike the beaches in West Maui, there are lifeguards in bright yellow seats at either end of the bay. We strongly recommend checking in with a lifeguard before diving into the ocean to ensure your safety.

In the afternoon, the north shore is often quite windy, but the high cliffs protect the east side of the beach. Right below the pavilions is a much calmer place for swimming, sunbathing, and viewing Hookipa Beach turtles relaxing right in front of you. 

The Best Windsurfing in Maui at Ho’okipa Beach

Hookipa Beach, Hawaii, is a world-renowned windsurfing destination with high surf winds averaging 14 – 27 miles per hour. Numerous international ocean sports competitions have been held here and become popular year by year. 

This popular destination boasts some of the largest waves and strong rip currents on the Maui coastline. Just about any day, you will get the chance to watch professional windsurfers in action!

Suppose you are a beginner or would like to learn. In that case, we recommend visiting the protected areas with less intense waves, a shallow reef right below the pavilions, and an excellent spot for families to relax and watch the sports.

If you would like to view the thrilling ocean sport with your family, Aloha Classic, the most revered event in windsurfing in the world, happens every year towards the end of October to early November. This competition focuses on wave riding and is rather impressive to watch! 

The Turtles at Ho’okipa Beach

The best time to see green sea turtles at Hookipa Beach, Hawaii, is in the afternoon, closer to sunset than morning hours, when they are rarely seen. The turtles do not migrate so you can see them whenever you visit Maui Island.

Viewing turtles at Ho’okipa Beach Park is a different experience because the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles bob their heads in and out of the exposed reef. 

What may seem like large boulders towards the east end of the beach are actually sea turtles (Honu)! They may be easy to miss at first glance, so we advise you to take your time. There is a good chance you can view many Honu from the observation decks available.

Because they often bask on the white sand during sunset hours, volunteers often rope off the general area where the turtles are to remind visitors to be respectful and to keep their distance. Remember that harassing sea turtles is illegal in Hawaii and will attract a hefty fine. 

How Do You Get to Ho’okipa Beach?

From Paia Town, go east on the Hana Highway for about 2.2 miles, looking out for a beach park on your left. And as the ocean view gets closer, the entrance will be further down. 

Look out for the ‘Ho’okipa Lookout’ signage on the right, then turn left after 40 meters. We recommend keeping right at the park and stopping at the large parking lot or viewing area for surf watching. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Welcome to Ho’okipa Beach!

When you are in North Maui, Hawaii, a visit to Ho’okipa Beach Park is a must. You get to enjoy the white sand, great scenic waves, gorgeous sunsets for some much-needed rest, and several recreation activities.

The most popular activity that puts this Maui beach on the map is wind surfing. This famous ocean sport has turned Hookipa Beach into a world-renowned windsurfing destination owing to its high tides and waves. We assure you will have a fun-filled, relaxing time at Hookipa Beach!