Where can I find seals on Maui? 3 Top Spots

A Hawaiian Monk Seal covered in wet sand, basking in the sun on a Maui beach.

Aloha! Let’s take a virtual journey to the breathtaking island of Maui, where the lush greenery harmonizes with the vibrant marine life to create an enchanting symphony of nature. While the island is famous for its stunning beaches and rich cultural heritage, it also offers an extraordinary opportunity: seal watching. Spotting these charismatic creatures in their natural habitat is an experience that’s both exhilarating and enlightening, connecting us with the wonders of marine life.

Top Places to See Seals on Maui

The chances of spotting a seal on Maui are slim compared to other islands. Besides off-shore snorkeling excursions, the following 3 beaches are probably your best bet. Worst case scenario: You get to spend time scouring world-class beaches!

1. Hookipa Beach Park 

One of Maui’s gems, Hookipa Beach Park, is a must-visit for anyone looking to immerse themselves in the island’s vibrant wildlife scene. Noted for its turquoise waters and magnificent vistas, this North Shore beach offers more than just scenery; it’s also a hotspot for seal sightings. 

Hawaiian monk seals, including some well-documented individuals, are known to occasionally bask on the sandy shorelines of this popular beach park. While spotting these elusive creatures can never be guaranteed, early mornings and late afternoons offer the best chances. Hookipa is also a world-renowned wind and wave sports venue, so if the seals are out exploring the ocean, you can still have an adventure-packed day here.

2. Makena State Park

Boasting some of the most pristine beaches on the island, Makena State Park in South Maui is not just a seal-spotting location; it’s an experience. Known as “Big Beach,” this park is famed for its golden sands, clear blue waters, and stunning natural backdrop.

Monks Seals in Hawaii are taked and at Makena State Park you have a good chance of spotting monk seal RY32. This seal, which has a history of roaming various parts of the island, sometimes chooses to spend its time around Makena. On lucky days, visitors might witness the rare spectacle of a monk seal molting – shedding its fur and skin – a process that can lead a seal to rest on the beach for up to two weeks. 

3. Olowalu

If off-the-beaten-track adventures appeal to you, make your way to Olowalu on the west coast of Maui. Known for its clear waters, coral reefs, and an old Hawaiian settlement, this area has become a location of interest for seal enthusiasts due to recent sightings. Two seals, R202 and RL06, have been frequently spotted in the waters off Olowalu. R202 is approximately five years old, while RL06 is believed to have ventured over from Moloka’i. 

Which Types of Seals Can You See on Maui?

In the azure waters around Maui, you are most likely to spot the Hawaiian monk seal, one of the most endearing inhabitants of the Hawaiian archipelago. It’s estimated that there are around 1,400 of these fascinating creatures left in the wild.

Hawaiian monk seals are not only adorable but they’re also one of the world’s most unique marine mammals. As one of the only two remaining monk seal species, they’ve spent millions of years evolving in the isolated Hawaiian environment. They’re typically solitary and fond of basking on Hawaii’s sandy beaches.

However, the existence of the Hawaiian monk seal hangs in a delicate balance, and the species is classified as endangered. This makes the opportunity to see one in the wild a genuine privilege and a poignant reminder of our responsibility to protect them. If you want to help out conservation efforts of the monk seal, consider donating here.

Best Time to See Seals on Maui

While Hawaiian monk seals can be spotted year-round, they’re most frequently seen during the warmer months, from April to November. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times of day to catch a glimpse of these marine beauties as they come ashore to rest and bask in the sun.

Additional resources about Maui’s wildlife

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