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Where To Go Whale Watching in Maui – Complete Guide

If you’re looking for somewhere to go whale watching in Maui, Hawaii then you’re in the right place.

There’s plenty of places to see whales in their natural habitat all over the island of Maui.

This post will tell you all of the best places to go whale watching in Maui and includes all the information you’ll need for a fun day out.

Whale Watching In Maui

Maui is often considered to be the best Hawaiian island for whale watching.

Every winter, 12 to 18 thousand humpback whales migrate over 3,500 miles from Alaska to Hawaii to mate, give birth and raise their calves. 

After the winter is over they head back up north to feed and build up fat reserves.

The waters surrounding Hawaii provide a safe environment to raise calves, far from predators and allows the whales to rest.

The whales come up for air every 15 to 20 minutes and this is when you’ll get a magnificent glimpse of them as they spray water up into the air. 

Quick Summary

The best way to go whale watching in Maui is by booking a boat tour. This will give you an up-close and personal view of the whales.

Can You See Whales From The Shore In Maui?

Yes, you can see whales from the shore in Maui.

In fact, there are plenty of areas on the island of Maui where you can often see humpback whales from the shore during whale season. 

Of course, if you want to get a better, up-close view of the whales then your best option is to book a boat tour which takes you out into the ocean.

If you do want to see whales from the shore then make sure you take a pair of binoculars with you to give you the best possible view of the whales.

Maui is actually the best of all Hawaii’s islands for whale watching! 

The Best Places To See Whales In Maui

There’s plenty of places in Maui where you can see whales from the shore. Below I’ve detailed the best spots.

Keep reading for information on the best tours if you want to get a closer view of the whales.

Maui Nui Basin

The best place to go whale watching in Maui is around the Maui Nui Basin.

The Maui Nui Basin refers to the waters between the islands of Maui, Lanai and Kaho’olawe which is a protected sanctuary for whales. 

You’ll find an abundance of whales here during whale watching season meaning you have a really high chance of seeing one here.

Boats tours which take you out into these waters are the best for seeing whales. 

Viewpoints which look out onto these waters are the best places to spot whales from the shore. These include Lahaina Harbor, Papawai Point and Wailea Beach (discussed below).

Lahaina Harbor

One of the best places to spot whales by the shore in Maui is at Lahaina Harbor. 

Lahaina Harbor is a small harbor located on the northwestern coast of Maui. It’s well known for being one of the best whale watching spots in the whole of Hawaii. 

You can see the whales from the harbor itself or you can book onto a boat tour for a closer look. 

Check out the whales of Lahaina Harbor in the video below:

Did you know that you can also see sea turtles in Lahaina year round? (I list exactly where in my post!)

Papawai Point

Another fantastic place in Maui to go whale watching is at Papawai Point.

Papawai Point is a viewpoint which looks out over the stunning Maalaea Bay. 

The viewpoint sits just off of Honoapiilani Highway so it’s super easy to access. There’s a small car park here too. 

Papawai Point is an excellent whale watching location, you can enjoy the scenic views and often spot a whale’s tail appearing in the ocean, spraying up a large splash of water. 

Did you know you can also go whale watching in Oahu?

Ka’anapali Beach

Another amazing place to go whale watching in Maui is at Ka’anapali Beach. 

Ka’anapali Beach is a stunning sandy beach located on the northwestern side of Maui. It’s famous for its turquoise waters, soft sand and range of fun activities.

It’s also a fantastic location to spot whales. You can see them from the beach and you can also often hear their songs from the shore as well!

Whale sightings are super common on this beach so it’s a great choice. 

You can see some of the whales of Ka’anapali Beach in the video below:

Wailea Beach

Another place where you can see whales in Maui is at Wailea Beach.

Wailea Beach is a popular beach that looks out onto the Maui Nui Basin. It’s a prime location for whale watching during whale season with sightings being very common. 

This beach is also a great place to relax and spend the day. There’s a range of fun activities, restaurants and bars.

Wailea Beach is also one of the best places to see turtles in Kihei.

Ho’okipa Beach Park

Another great whale watching location in Maui is at Ho’okipa Beach Park.

Ho’okipa Beach Park is a spacious park featuring a white sandy beach and fantastic ocean views. 

It is actually a very popular surfing destination but many people also come to the park to see whales. 

It’s a great place to see marine life including whales, sea turtles, starfish, seals, seahorses and more. 

Make sure you come during whale season (November to April) for the best chance of seeing a whale. Sightings here are super common during these months. 

Find out where to see whales on Big Island.

The Best Tours For Whale Watching In Maui

Boat Tour

The best way to see whales in Maui is by joining a whale watching boat tour!

This will give you an incredible close up view of the whales that you just can’t get from the shore.

This tour also guarantees that you’ll see a whale which is great to know.

Check out how close you can get to the whales on a boat tour in the video below:

Snorkeling Tour

Another great way to see whales in Maui is by joining a snorkeling tour!

This super fun activity is a great way to get into the water and see whales whilst you’re at it.

You’ll also see lots of other marine life including turtles and tropical fish.

Kayak Tour

A super fun way to spot whales in Maui is by hiring a kayak.

Kayaking is a great experience that will allow you to have an up close encounter with a whale.

Your private guide knows the best spots where you can see whales so you have the best possible chance of finding one.

Canoe Tour

Another option for seeing whales in Maui is by joining a canoe tour!

This tour also includes snorkeling meaning you can often get really close to the whales.

Canoeing is also a fun activity and your guide will take you to the best spots for whale spotting.

Find out where to go whale watching in Kauai.

Best Time For Whale Watching In Maui

The best time for whale watching in Maui is between the months of November and April (known as whale watching season). 

The first whales arrive in Maui in late November and more arrive as the season progresses. 

Whale numbers around the island peak in January, February and March.

This is the best time to go whale watching in Maui as sightings are almost guaranteed if you go to the right places.

The whales start to leave Maui again in late April.

The table below shows the best months for whale watching in Maui.

MonthChance Of
Seeing A Whale
JanuaryVery Good Chance
FebruaryVery Good Chance
MarchVery Good Chance
AprilGood Chance
MayVery Low Chance
JuneNo Chance
JulyNo Chance
AugustNo Chance
SeptemberNo Chance
OctoberNo Chance
NovemberLow Chance
DecemberGood Chance

The best time of day to go whale watching in Maui is early morning.

Numbers are highest at around 8am so you’re more likely to see a whale if you head out at this time. 

Early morning is when the whales tend to be most active.

Another good time is late afternoon just before sunset. 

You can also sometimes spot whales in the daytime but it’s less common. 

The below video gives some more information on whale season in Hawaii:

Thanks for reading this post on where to go whale watching in Maui. 

There’s plenty of options here to see whales in their natural habitat around Maui. 

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