Maui has the most swimming beaches of all the Hawaiian Islands, ranging from places to take the family for outings with the sand buckets to full-on scuba excursions. Among the excellent snorkeling spots are several where independent people can easily swim from shore to places that tour companies charge a pretty penny to take people.
Check out: Oneuli (Black Sand) Beach, which is part of Makena State Park; Turtle Town, or Chang's, which is not far away via a Shoreline Public Access; Olowalu, in West Maui, where the pros anchor just off shore; and Coral Gardens, near Olowalu, which requires a little swim and the right conditions but is fabulous. Maui Trailblazer has more specifics.
One place you will want to hop a ride—and it is totally worth it—is Molokini Island, a marine sanctuary that is several miles offshore. Gin-clear, fish-filled waters are protected by the tiny crescent-shaped island that was once a volcanic cone.