Wahikuli Wayside Park is a pretty little beachfront park located in West Maui, just north of downtown Lahaina. Tiny in width but stretched out long along the shore, this park covers just over eight acres, with plenty of spots for everyone to enjoy their favorite beach activities.
This park’s location also makes it a great choice for those who are visiting Lahaina by cruise ship and only have a limited amount of time at port and don’t want to hire on a cab or rideshare. To get here from the Lahaina cruise ship port, simply walk one block inland to Front street and enjoy a nice 30-minute walk north along Front St. This is an easy walk with shade, coastal breezes, and very low traffic. Just after Front St. merges with Honoapiilani Highway, you will see the tres and sheltered pavilions that mark the start of Wahikuli Wayside Park.
If you choose instead to drive yourself here, you will find ample parking at the more central area of the park. Near this parking too are much of the park’s amenities. There are three restroom pavilions as well as outdoor showers and water fountains. Across the entirety of Wahikuli Wayside Park, there are 30 covered picnic pavilions complete with picnic tables, of which 20 are outfitted with barbecue grilles, all of which have been outfitted with water taps. There are another eight uncovered picnic tables. As you might guess, such fantastic food prep and eating areas have made Wahikuli Wayside Park a very popular place for locals as well as island vacationers looking for a nice all-day place to hang out.
Unfortunately, there are no posted lifeguards are so parents of young children should be wary and all should practice caution before entering the water. The best area to enjoy a quick swim in the water is just north of the central pavilion area. There, you will find a long stretch of black sand beach with more tranquil waters to enjoy.
But while general swimming here is nice, what the Wahikuli Wayside Park is really known for is its snorkeling opportunities. Plenty of vacationers have found that they can see more sea turtles and other sea life in the waters just off the beach than they will on many of the more expensive snorkeling cruises. One of the stretches of rocks at the northern end of the beach is even called Turtle Rock because of how many sea turtles congregate here! The best places for snorkeling will be along those rocks at the northern end of the water as well as the area just south of the beach.
While it does have a lot to offer guests, there are a couple of drawbacks to Wahikuli Wayside Park that one should know before visiting. The biggest one is that it is very accurately called a wayside park. Wayside parks are those parks that have been designed primarily around being a rest area for the motoring public. This park is right next to Honoapiilani Highway and so you expect a lot of traffic noise when visiting, as well as a lot of people coming and going as they stop on their travels to enjoy things like watching sailboats pass lazily by the beach or to catch a mesmerizing sunset over the water.
Other things that may deter you from this park are the no posted lifeguard and nearness to residential areas combined with ready picnic areas means it is common for locals to bring their dogs here. So if barking dogs and loud traffic noises bother you, then you will probably want to pass on Wahikuli Wayside Park.
Don’t have a snorkel set and don’t want to buy one? Stop by Snorkel Bobs which is located right on Front Street about mid-way between the cruise ship docks and the park itself. They have low-cost snorkel rentals as well as other beach and dive gear items.