Hawai'i Coral Reef Network

Marine Protected Areas in Hawai'i

Honolua-Mokule'ia Bay, Maui

45 acres, Established 1978


 Honolua Bay is located on the northwestern coast of Maui, about 10 miles north of Lahaina along Honoapi'ilani Highway (Hwy. 30). The bay is the only one in the area visible from the highway, and its location is marked by a blue MLCD sign on the highway's ocean side. A dirt road just past the sign provides access to the shoreline, but driving it is not advised. Parking is available only alongside the highway.

Mokule'ia Bay is southwest of, and adjacent to, Honolua. The beach at Mokule'ia, known locally as Slaughterhouse (because there once was a slaughterhouse on the cliffs above) is accessible along a steep trail down the cliffs. Again, parking is found only along the highway.

The MLCD extends from the highwater mark seaward to a line from 'Alaelae Point to Kalaepiha Point, then to the point at the northwestern corner of Honolua Bay.

Honolua Stream carries varying amounts of silt into Honolua Bay. As a result, inshore waters of the bay near the boat ramp area are usually very murky. The bottom here consists of small boulders and silt. Visibility improves as you swim farther out, or to the sides. The middle of the bay is a feature less sand channel, sloping gradually to a depth of about 60 feet at the bay's mouth.

On either side of the bay are dense coral growths, in waters about 10 to 40 feet deep. Coral is more abundant and diverse along the northeastern shoreline. Small caves and archways are found near the point on the bay's left side.

The bottom at Mokule'ia Bay is mostly sand. At the right point are large submerged boulders, and fingers of lava occur along the left point. Both points offer good coral growth. Depths range from about ten to fifty feet. If the water is calm enough, you can snorkel from one bay to the other.

Safety considerations

Waters should be avoided during winter months, when high surf is common.

Use caution going down the cliffs to Mokule'ia Bay.




Fishing for, taking or injuring any type of marine life is prohibited, as is the possession in the water of any type of fishing gear. However, possession of fishing gear, or fish taken outside of the District, is permitted aboard boats. Bagging and removing akule netted outside of the District is allowed with a special permit.

All Marine Life Conservation Districts are ostablished under Title 13 of the Hawaii administrative Rules (HAR). Copies of the complete rules are available at Division of Aquatic Resources offices. The table below is linked to the page which applies to each MLCD.

See also: Administrative Rules

Last update: 6/12/2002