For those interested in Hawaiian culture or who are staying nearby, this particular beach and cultural site will be of high interest.
In a nutshell: Kalepolepo Beach Park is a historically significant Hawaiian fishpond and a quiet beach for those staying in the area.
Minuses: Out of the way for the bulk of visitors staying further South.
Sound-bite: “It’s nice to have what feels like your own private beach.”
A small but lovely beach in North Kihei. This was the historical site of a thriving Hawaiian village, and is an important cultural archeological site for native Hawaiians. In fact, this is among the most accessible fishponds open to the public today.
The ancient Hawaiian fish pond (Ko’ie’ie fishpond, one of three in the area) fronts the beach and walls the water off creating a calm shallow pool that is also perfect for keiki.
The beach here is small, and uncrowded. With a dozen beaches that are the definition of perfection just minutes away, few visitors from the resorts further south will wind up coming here. From that perspective, this is more in the class of a “convenience beach” left for residents and visitors staying in the area (yeah, we’re that spoiled here!) For those looking to get away from crowds, Kalepolepo is also a nice escape for a BBQ (there are several in the park) or to simply enjoy a glorious sunset in peace.
An interesting fact is that the water in the fishpond is fed by natural springs just under the surface – ancient Hawaiians understood this, and it is one of the reasons this fishpond was among the highest class reserved only for the use of Hawaiian royalty.
One reason that you will rarely see visitors here is that the most popular print guidebook for Maui marginalizes the entire northern area of Kihei, and over the years since first publication, his opinions have been repeated as fact throughout much popular tourist information; I mention this here because so many will rely on this misinformation as fact, and the author appears to have carelessly discarded many miles of shoreline with one inaccurate (and self-serving) paragraph. In reality these beaches have much to offer visitors seeking off-the-beaten-path experiences, and this small beach in particular has had many volunteers pour heart, soul, and sweat over many years and countless hours.
Location: South Kihei Rd, (Turn off after mi 5 from Hwy 31 aka Piilani Hwy)
GPS Coordinates: 20.763696,-156.459147
Facilities: BBQs & Picnic Tables, Port-a-potty. No lifeguards.
View Kalepolepo Beach Park in a larger map
13 comments about “Kalepolepo Beach Park”
We were staying next door to this park. I thought it was the most wonderful place I had visited on Maui, until a man started yelling and accusing me of breaking the law. I have always live by the theory to leave a place better than you found it.
I had been snorkeling there for 4 days in a row and was so amazed of the marine life you are able to see. We also seen the turtles in the evening, but made sure we gave them their space. One day I was snorkeling along the wall area and came up near the rocks to clear my mask not realizing there was a turtle resting on the rocks, they blend really well. This man started yelling, once I seen why he was yelling, I started backing up slowly trying not to startel the turtle. He continued to scream that I was breaking the law. That there are signs everywhere. ( There are not signs from the south west side) I know I was already 10 feet away, but I continue to leave and did not want to come back. He then got on to other people with kids who were near the rocks. I now know the history of the place, but maybe there needs to be signs from the southwest side that tells about the history. I was staying at the condos next door and had no clue what the places were. There were lots of places along Maui where there are black rocks stacked. I think instead of preaching maybe provide teaching. It would be a better way to share why it is an important place than making people feel that they are intruding. I wouldn’t expect someone who was visiting my area to know detailed history. I love history and have always respected it.
Very nice beach to visit. Not too crowded and the fishpond is ideal to swim especially with sometimes choppy waves and oft gusty winds. The park is good for picnics gatherings or simple relaxation. Also family has one condo at Kihei Bay Vista so perfect walk. Best times are in the morning and yes the sunset. Kihei Bay Surf next door has closer access.
Eileen Leahy says:
We love this beach! We are staying at Kihei Bay Vista condos for several months and to have this right across the street is a blessing. The fish pond and the whale sanctuary right here are awesome as well! Even though the sanctuary is closed due to Covid 19 restrictions, there are binoculars mounted on the deck for your viewing pleasure of the frolicking Humpback whales which have been plentiful especially in February!! Usually calm waters, more like a lake, but you can launch kayaks and SUPs in the am at its quietest!! Superb sunsets have filled up my Iphone storage!! Yes it very often feels like my own private beach!!!
Eileen, i see you stayed at Kihei Bay Vista. i am looking at staying there. which vista did you have, was there a ocean view? any pointers for a first time Hawaii traveler? thank you. R J
We discovered this beach as we stopped at the bird refuge – we found a deserted beach! The first day we were here we discovered it as a great vantage to spot whales – we saw no less than 10 breaching whales from here. Simply spectacular! The next day we returned for our own nearly private beach. Sure it was windy, but it was the afternoon and I’m at the beach in Maui staring at spouting whales and gorgeous blue sea when I look left and right.
I love the way you’ve organized each page along with the map and coordinates. Thank you!
Ashlee Cottam says:
I was staying right across the road…every afternoon I’d go and enjoy the water and the local turtles who were there everyday! Perfect spot for kids and snorkeling and locals fishing!
Maui Lover says:
Kalepolepo Beach is one of my favorites. The waves are calmer and it is not crowded. You can catch beautiful sunsets here as well. They even have showers, picnic tables, and barbecue areas. The Whale Education Center is in the same parking lot and offers telescopes on the back deck for viewing the whales. This is a great place to swim and see turtles. The water is fresh from natural springs. This beach used to be reserved for only Hawaiian royalty. There is a reason for that. It is a very spiritual place.
Linda D. says:
I love this beach! It is right across from the Koa Resort condos. It’s convenient and a very nice uncrowded beach.
You can relax and really enjoy the Aloha experience here.
Mary Thompson says:
This beach is right across the road from the condo that we stayed in and we were there everyday and most evenings too and for the most part no crowds — loved every sunset that we watched here and cant wait until we are able to come back to Maui —love love love this beautiful island
hi Thanks for your feedback. Were you able to sit in shade on the beach? There was a comment that the sand blew up in someone’s face. Is that a concern? And how close is it to dining? I am thinking of renting a condo right across the street as well. Thanks
We’ve visited this beach today and after reading through this site I think we had the right expectations (as in no showers, no life guard). The place and the view is somewhat nice, but the strong wind that day threw sand and dust making it unfitting for our purposes. It is imho the sort of a beach you could go to sit down and watch the sunset by the ocean – alone or with friends.
The strong trade winds are something that all Maui beaches experience from time to time depending on season and time of day. Suggesting this beach should be singled out for having something other than these ordinary winds is questionable. Mornings are usually always calm and the best time to enjoy our beaches!
Lorraine Arbuckle says:
We’re leaving Canada in 6 days to spend 2 weeks at the Menehune Shores Condos. I really enjoyed your video presentation on the fish pond in front of our condo. I look forward to seeing it in person and learning more about the history and restoration plans.