Hookipa Lookout

Hookipa Lookout-Watch Surfing, Windsurfing, and Sea Turtles
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Hookipa Lookout is on a cliff overlooking Hookipa Beach, world-renowned for windsurfing. Often food trucks and artisans park at the lookout, and the vibe is friendly and laid-back. Swimming isn't advised at the Hookipa as the surf is strong, and the coral reef is dangerous to navigate. Nature-lovers will love watching sea turtles who flock to the beach to sunbathe. Monk seals frequent Hookipa Beach, too. 

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

Perched on Maui’s North Shore is Hookipa Lookout and beach. “Ho’okipa” is Hawaiian for “hospitality,” but don’t be fooled by the name. The locals, the windsurfing community, and surfers are friendly and hospitable. The ocean isn’t.

Hookipa Beach is a world-renowned windsurfing beach. Hookipa’s crescent-shaped beach has a barrier reef ideally located from shore that produces waves, even on calm days. During high winds and the winter months, the waves get big, attracting seasoned surfers and windsurfing enthusiasts. When conditions are right, monster white-capped waves pound the rocks and are a wonder to behold. 

There are two lifeguard stations at either end of the beach. Nevertheless, due to the powerful surf, coral, strong riptides, we don’t advise swimming at Hookipa. There are several small tide pools along the central part of the beach that children will love playing in. The long stretches of sand are perfect for sunbathing or taking in the surfing action and scenery from the comfort of your beach chair. 

Most visitors drive up Hookipa Lookout for parking and the best views of Hookipa Beach and the ocean. With the unhindered views from the cliff and observation deck, surfers and windsurfers getting launched like missiles into the air will entertain you for hours. 

Picnic tables are up at Hookipa Lookout, where you can enjoy the free water sports show while having lunch or snacks. Food trucks and artisan vendors typically use this area as well. Here, you’ll experience the hospitality Hookipa is named after: vendors are friendly, laid-back, and not pushy when it comes to sales. 

Elevated pavilions are on the beach near the lookout cliff. Some guidebooks and visitors reported that you might encounter attendees who lack the Hookipa spirit. If that seems to be the case, we suggest picnicking on the beach. 

The other big attraction to Hookipa Beach Park is the marine life. Hookipa Beach appeals to sea turtles like light attracts moths. Sometimes, there may be 60 turtles sunning on the beach and surrounding rocks. The turtles typically use the beach area close to the lookout cliff. 

From a distance, the sea turtles’ dark-colored shells blend with the black rocks, making them look like boulders. If you’re lucky, you may even witness their laborious trudge out of the water and back. 

This area is protected, and you’re not allowed past a warning sign. We suggest bringing a telephoto lens or using a camera with a good zoom function. If seals are on the beach, respect them and stay far away. This is for their safety as well as yours. 

Hookipa Lookout is a great spot to watch aerial acrobatics of surfers and windsurfers. And with the possibility of seeing a large population of sea turtles, we believe Hookipa Lookout should be on your “must-see” places on Maui. 

Insider Tips:
-The best time to watch the sea turtles is near sunset when they wade to shore, perch on the sand, and soak up the sun and visitor’s admiration. 
-Regarding driving to Peahi Beach (a.k.a. Jaws), one guidebook advised against it. Some drivers who attempted got stuck in the mud and paid a $1,000 towing fee.