Located just off Honoapiilani Highway (Highway 30), Whale Lookout Point is one of the best spots to whale watch on the entire island. Also known as Papawai Point, this vista sits high above Maalaea Bay, offering absolutely breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. In the distance sit the islands of Kahoolawe and Molokini, and if you’re lucky enough to be there on an exceptionally clear day, you may even be able to make out the Big Island (Hawaii) in the distance.
The point, which is located between mile markers eight and nine on Highway 30, can be accessed by a pull-off from the road. There is a small parking lot, but be aware that it fills up quickly, and it can be tricky to find a parking spot during the busy season. Once you’ve parked, it’s time to get out and enjoy views so beautiful it’s hard to believe they’re real.
Whale season is in the winter in Hawaii, stretching from about December to April. During this time, whales are everywhere, and your chances of seeing at least one from this spot are very high. There is an expert from the Pacific Whale Foundation here daily during whale season. The expert volunteers are knowledgeable, friendly, and happy to answer questions. They also hand out informational flyers, point out whales in the water, and will even lend you binoculars to take a closer look at the majestic ocean creatures.
Even outside of whale season, this unique spot warrants a visit. The sunsets here are some of the best that you’ll ever see in Maui, or, for that matter, anywhere else. The unobstructed view of the sun setting over the water looks magical in a way words can’t explain. Just take our word for it and go see it for yourself. Stunning doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Whether whale watching or stopping by for sunset, be sure to bring a camera. The clear blue ocean and an impossibly bright sky make an all-too-perfect backdrop for family photos. Dress up in your best vacation wear, find the perfect angle, and ask a fellow visitor to snap a couple of pictures for you while you’re there. Capturing a moment like that beats any souvenir we could find.
The best part about this laid-back, charming spot is it’s a totally self-guided activity. You may enjoy stopping for 5-10 minutes to see the whales, snap a few pictures, and then continue on your way. You may love it so much that you decide to make an afternoon out of it. Whatever your interest level, Whale Lookout Point offers a gorgeous, memorable experience for all types of visitors.
-The parking lot here is small and tends to fill up, especially at sunset and during whale season. However, parking spots turn over quickly, as most people don’t stay at the point for very long. If the lot is full when you drive by, turn around and check back in a few minutes. More likely than not, there will be an available spot.
-Exercise extreme caution when exiting the parking lot. Highway 30 is a very busy road with a lot of high-speed traffic. Be sure to look both ways and exit the lot safely.
-This area does not have any public restrooms. If you plan on spending a long amount of time here, be sure to visit the facilities beforehand.
-The sun feels especially strong here, and there is no shade. Wear sunscreen and bring a hat if you plan to stay for a while.