Located just minutes from Manele Small Boat Harbor, Hulopoe Bay is the vision of paradise that visitors picture of Hawaii.
A long stretch of soft golden sand sits partially shaded by palm fronds, which gently rustle and sway in the breeze that blows through the south-facing bay. The reef here is one of the healthiest and best in Maui County, and schools of manini, or convict tang, casually flit between clusters of coral, where aquamarine colored uhu, or parrotfish, nibble and crunch on the reef.
The system of tide pools on the left side of the bay is perfect for families with young children, and it’s even possible to snorkel and splash inside of some of the pools. Summer is when local bodyboarders and surfers catch waves from distant southerly swells at Hulopoe Bay. While it may not make for great snorkeling conditions, watching the surfers carve up the waves is just as entertaining.
On most days of the year, however, Hulopoe Bay is calm, and on occasion, some Hawaiian Spinner dolphins swim and rest in the bay. Because the dolphins rest by day, and hunt offshore each night, it’s important that visitors give the dolphins plenty of space. You should not approach or swim to the dolphins.
Aside from snorkeling and surfing, two short hiking trails provide visitors the chance to work up a bit of a sweat, as well as capture some of Lanai’s iconic coastal views. You’ll also find showers, restrooms, and picnic tables at this family friendly beach—the only beach on Lanai that offers facilities.
For visitors staying on the island of Lanai, Hulopoe Bay is just 20 minutes away from Lanai City, although guests of the Four Seasons Resort Lanai need barely go more than 20 steps as they stroll to the bay from their room. Even if you’re staying on neighboring Maui, it’s easy to visit Hulopoe Bay as a day trip by taking the ferry, which drops you off just a 10-minute walk away from this stretch of sand, which in 1997 was proudly named as the Best Beach in America by Dr. Stephen Leatherman (Dr. Beach).