In a nutshell: A picturesque bay, and your first option for ocean goodness on the Road to Hana since Ho’okipa!
Minuses: Poor swimming and rocky beach.
Sound-bite: “See, honey, I told you getting a Jeep was going to be a practical necessity!”
This bay is nestled inside a dramatic, verdant valley that first reveals itself from the road between mile markers 12 & 13, and there are a couple of worthy lookouts to pull over and savor the view or snap a photo before you descend into the valley.
This is the first time since Ho’okipa Beach Park that the road passes by an accessible beach. Ignore guidebooks that say there is a road to access the bay around mm13.5 as you descend to the valley floor (that road is no longer accessible.) Once you begin your ascent on the other side of the valley, there is a sharp turn onto a rough access road (mm14.1) that will take you just under a half mile to to a parking area immediately alongside the beach. Currently this access road is navigable by any vehicle, but it goes through periods of disrepair. If you’ve got a compellingly good reason to drive on the beach, there is easy access from the parking area – you will frequently see fishermen and/or local families exercising this option. (Sorry, getting your money’s worth from the Jeep rental really isn’t a good enough reason to drive onto the beach!)
This beach is a favorite of local families, fishermen and surfers. When the surf is breaking, this is a less known, expert-level surf break that draws a small local surf crowd. But even if you can rip with the best of ’em, the crowd that surfs here likely won’t let you get into the lineup. Besides the localism, the break is sketchy to say the least. Sharks, lots of hidden reef and strong rip currents exist here. Visitors shouldn’t consider this a viable surf spot.
The beach itself is mostly small rounded rock, mixed with minimal amounts of black sand – not good for laying out on. The offshore waters are also rocky, and this isn’t a good place for the kind of ocean fun most visitors associate with Maui beaches. When winter swells come in this bay becomes rough and currents run directly back out to sea – definitely not the safest scenario.
A stream flows year-round through the valley and into the bay, often forming a large pool of fresh water on the mauka side of the beach. The pool is fun if you have kids in tow, but otherwise may not be an overly tempting swim for most.
Poor swimming and a beach not made for laying out, you may be questioning if it is worth a drive in. The best views are looking down into the bay from the road, though looking up into the valley from the bay is also spectacular, and can only be appreciated from the beach. This is a great place to stretch your legs, have a picnic lunch, take a quick dip or just explore.
View Honomanu Bay in a larger map