Maui is blessed with miles and miles of sandy beaches. Not all beaches, though, have tide pools. In fact, most don't have them. But when you come across a great tide pool, you can use it as an ecological teaching moment for children or just enjoy the sea life being presented to you. You will find fish, crabs and even turtles in and around tide pools. The tide pools listed below are mostly safe for people of all ages, though we end with one of the most dangerous places in all of Hawaii.
- Baldwin Beach (Paia)
While the parking lot, bathrooms and lifeguards are all on the east side of the beach, if you walk west down the beach, you will come to "baby beach," a large, calm tide pool that is blocked by a massive reef. The pool is safe for all ages, though bear in mind, the life guards are on the other side of the beach so keep an eye out on your children. The pool is large enough that you will often see people swimming laps in the calm waters. There is very little shade here, so be sure to pack a hat!
- Napili Bay (Napili)
The south side of the ever-popular Napili Bay features some outstanding tide pools. Here you'll find a wide variety of marine life in a protected little area. While Napili Bay doesn't really have any amenities to speak of (no parking, bathrooms, showers of lifeguards,) the beach itself is always rated as one of the best on Maui. If you're staying at one of the resorts or condos that line the bay, checking out the tide pools is a no-brainer.
- Keawakapu Beach (Kihei/Wailea)
The north end of the beach (the Kihei side) has nice tide pools for exploring. You will probably see turtles in and around the tide pools. This beach is around a mile long with three separate parking lots and entries. For the tide pool, though, you can park at the 5 Palms public lot. There are showers, though there are no public restrooms or life guards. During a full moon, the tide pools are exceptionally vibrant.
- Kuau Cove (Paia)
Though tiny, this little beach is perfect for children, as a natural reef blocks it from waves, creating a calm, near wave-free atmosphere. There are lots of tide pools to explore and soft, white sand to build castles. Because of the shallow reefs and smooth waters, it's a fantastic place to teach children how to snorkel. The beach is located under Mama's Fish House, so it's sometime's referred to as Mama's Fish House Beach.
- Olivine Pools (Kapalua)
Before we start in, a word of caution. It can be VERY dangerous here. There have been MANY deaths at these pools. (Read the comments at the bottom of this excellent online guide book post about Olivine Pools.) One rogue wave can send visitors, even when standing above the pools, out to sea. This is no joke, just Google (or Bing) "olivine pools maui death". OK, do you still want to visit? What you'll find here are stunningly beautiful tide pools teeming with sea life. Where the other tide pools on this list are great for children, this one is pretty much adults only. To get to them, you need to scramble down about a half-mile of lava rocks. Kids can make it, but they might scrape some knees in the process.
Where are your favorite tide pools on Maui? Hit us up on Twitter @HIOceanProject and Instagram @hawaiioceanproject or leave a comment below.