La Perouse Bay

La Perouse Bay | An Incredible Place in South Maui

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When you think of a visit to Maui, Hawaii, what are the first things that come to mind? For most people, it’s the famous road to Hana, Mt. Haleakala, Molokini Crater, and a luau. But what if I told you there is a place, I feel, equally as incredible but significantly less crowded than those hot spots? That place is La Perouse Bay, an absolutely incredible spot in South Maui!

I’ll be honest, I kind of stumbled upon La Perouse Bay during our family trip to Maui. While my daughter was taking a nap, and I looked at a satellite view of South Maui on a map. Intrigued by the lava fields and the blue water, I hopped into our little rental car and was off to explore. I loved it so much I decided to bring my wife and daughter the next day so that they could enjoy it too.

La Perouse Bay

Getting There

When visiting Maui, it is highly recommended that you rent a car. There is public transportation but it is rather limited. The freedom of going where you want when you want is more than the price of a rental car.  For instance, there is no public transportation to La Perouse Bay and you wouldn’t want to miss out on beautiful black lava rock and blue water, would you?

La Perouse Bay is located approximately 30 minutes away from the town of Kihei. Kihei is an excellent place to stay when exploring Maui (more on that here!) If you are planning to stay in the more expensive neighborhood, Wailea, the drive to La Perouse Bay will take you about 20 minutes. 

The drive to La Perouse Bay is breathtaking and a little bumpy. The road, which can be traversed in something as small as a sedan, needs improvement but is beautiful nonetheless. You will drive on Makena Alanui Road alongside lava fields until the road simply ends in two parking lots. Then you are there!

Address

If you have a small sedan, park here:  20.60068830338398, -156.4198320986722


If you have an SUV or truck, you can park here: 20.599528272355776, -156.4200491030868

Fees

Free

Amenities

Portable toilets, trash and recycle bins

What You Should Know Before Visiting La Perouse Bay

There are a few things you should know before you visit. The first is, it can get windy, very windy! If you have spent any time on Maui, you know that as the afternoon comes so does the wind. Due to this, it is best to visit La Perouse Bay in the morning when the wind is gentler. 

Secondly, it is hot! The hot Hawaiian sun and the black lava rock definitely make La Perouse Bay seem hotter than most places on Maui. It isn’t unbearable by any standards like the Glamis Sand Dunes in the summer, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it. Don’t plan on much shade during your visit, and prepare accordingly. 

Last, chances are you will see wildlife, which is awesome right? During our visits we saw tons of sea turtles, crabs, and even goats. I’ll admit, I didn’t believe Kate when she screamed “GOAT!” and pointed over at the tree line.

What You Should Bring to La Perouse Bay

There are a few things you should definitely bring with you if you are planning to explore La Perouse Bay. 

Due to the sharp and jagged lava rocks, I highly, highly, HIGHLY, recommend that you wear a pair of closed toed shoes. I wore flip flops during my first visit, and it definitely wasn’t the safest or most comfortable.

The Hawaiian sun will absolutely fry you just as fast as the sun down under in Australia. Due to this, definitely bring some reef-safe sunscreen and a hat (I wish I could pull one of these off!) 

Bring tons of water! I brought my trusty Hydro Flask and was rewarded by super cold water every break I took!

You can’t visit here without a camera! I brought along a Sony A6000 that I have had for years complemented with a zoom lens, so I didn’t miss any shots near or far. I also had my DJI Mavic Air but even it was telling me it was too windy when I was trying to fly it. 

The Best Things To Do in La Perouse Bay

La Perouse Bay

La Perouse Bay can be enjoyed both by land and by sea. The area offers hiking, snorkeling, surfing, tide pools, and is a downright great place to explore!

La Perouse Bay Hiking

Personally, I think the best way to enjoy La Perouse Bay for the masses is by foot. When you arrive at the parking lot, just past the portable toilets, you will see gray paths that stand out amongst the black lava rock. Simply pick a path and explore. As with anywhere in Hawaii, It is important that you stay on designated paths, and do not disturb the environment.

If you are looking for an official “hike” there are basically two options:

1. Hike to trail to the Hanamanioa Light which is a relatively flat and easy 2.5 mile out and back trip. You will be rewarded with incredible coastal views. Keep your eyes out for turtles!

2. Hike the incredible scenic Hoapili Trail (Kings Highway). This trail starts in the parking lot and wanders through stunning lava fields and coastal views for approximately 5 miles.

Snorkeling at La Perouse Bay

Snorkel La Perouse Bay

If you are planning to snorkel during your visit on Maui, the first thing you NEED to do is sign up for the Snorkel Report

Each morning, The Snorkel Store will email you the conditions all around Maui broken down in three areas. For La Perouse Bay, focus on South Maui. The report will summarize the conditions and rate the locations on a scale from 1-10. It is insanely helpful!

If you plan to snorkel around La Perouse Bay, you may be greeted by dolphins, fish, and turtles. Due to the winds that start whipping in the afternoon, this spot is best early in the morning. 

Additionally, the further you swim away from shore the better the visibility increases. However, there is almost always a current here and I would say that this spot is best for more seasoned snorkelers. 

If you do plan to go out, I recommend wearing a pair of dive booties to protect your feet as you walk in to put fins on. Those lava rocks are sharp! I also find that my fins are significantly more comfy with booties on. 

La Perouse Bay Tide Pools

 If you have young children who can’t snorkel yet, they can still enjoy beautiful sea life in the many tide pools around La Perouse Bay. As we wandered along the trail we saw numerous tide pools and almost always detoured to take a look!

If you do plan on tide pooling (is that a verb?), be careful of rogue waves that could come in and sweep you off to see. As always, be careful and act responsibly.

Surfing La Perouse Bay

Like snorkeling, I would say that surfing at La Perouse Bay should be left for more experienced surfers. Not only can the waves get MASSIVE here, wiping out on jagged lava rock doesn’t sound like a good way to go out. Add that with being pretty far from emergency services and that should pretty much rule out beginner surfers. 

I’ve spent years surfing in San Diego, and I tell you what, on the days I was in La Perouse Bay, there is no way you would see me out there ripping it up. We got to see a guy sail to the spot, anchor his sailboat and absolutely shred! Check it out below. 

If you are planning to surf here, check out Surfline or Magic Seaweed for their updated surf reports, and don’t go alone.

La Perouse Bay has so much to offer! I think it is one of the most beautiful and underrated locations on all of Maui! If you are staying in Kihei, or anywhere nearby, a visit is more than worth the bumpy but beautiful drive!

Andrew Schloe

I love surfing, scuba diving, and soaking in a good sunset at the beach. There is a good chance you will find me by water. Favorite Destination: Great Ocean Road, Australia.

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