Pohaku Park

Pohaku Park: Take in the Sunset (and Maybe Go Surfing!) at West Maui’s “S-Turns” Beach
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Small but lovely, Pohaku Park is a West Maui beach park that’s very popular among locals for its picnic facilities and surfing opportunities. Easily accessed from Kahana, this park—also widely called “S-Turns,” which doubles as a name for the surf break—is a great place to take in the Pacific sunset with the islands of Molokai and Lanai in view.

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

What it lacks in size, Pohaku Park makes up for loveliness and lively ambiance. Readily reached from Kahana accommodations, this beach park is also commonly called “S-Turns Park,” a reference to bygone wiggles in the road here that have since been straightened out.

The one-acre park offers a parking lot along Lower Honoapiilani Road. You’ll also find fee public beach parking: here. You’ll find picnic tables and grills at Pohaku Park as well as a port-a-potty, but no showers. And the park’s beach is not lifeguarded, so exercise all the more caution using the ocean here.

On that subject, it is a pretty well-used piece of ocean. Stand-up paddleboarding is popular here, and, in winter particularly, when north swells enhance the local S-Turns break, surfers are a common sight. The waves are fairly beginner-friendly but bear in mind that you do have to paddle out a ways to reach the break.

Fun as it can be to take out a surfboard or paddleboard here, Pohaku Park isn’t a particularly good swimming destination. That’s mostly on account of localized runoff from a drainage ditch that results in murky water for the area much of the time. It goes without saying that S-Turns snorkeling isn’t very good for the same reason. (Much better snorkeling awaits you not all that far south around Black Rock, along the Kaanapali beachfront.) 

But Pohaku Park offers plenty of enjoyment from the shore. It’s a fine place to picnic, as many of the locals do. The views westward to the islands of Molokai in the north and Lahai to the south are lovely. And they get all the lovelier come sunset: S-Turns offers an ace vantage for the evening spectacle!

You’ll often see people surf-casting at Pohaku Park as well, which is its own fun spectator sport. Or, if you’re of the angling persuasion, you can give shore-fishing a shot yourself.

Expect company at Pohaku Park, especially later in the day and especially on weekends. But generally speaking, it’s a pretty family-friendly and utterly laidback atmosphere here, a nice place to rub shoulders with the locals and soak up some beachfront vibes.

S-Turns Park is not the finest, and certainly not the largest, beach in West Maui. But especially if you’re staying in the Kahana area, it’s a pretty little coastal park with inviting picnic tables and beachfront—and some absolutely homerun sunsets!

Insider Tip:
In the winter months, consider bringing a pair of binoculars to Pohaku Park. You’ve got a decent chance of spotting the blows, flippers, or tail flukes of the North Pacific humpback whales that spend the season in Maui waters to breed. The first part of the day is better for shoreline whale-watching on account of the direction of sunlight for looking westward. If you’re lucky, you might even see one of the more dramatic humpback maneuvers, such as a body lunge or an all-out breach!