Makena Beach


Makena Beach is considered by many to be the very best beach on Maui. Makena Beach is the beach furthest to the south of all the main beaches on the island. It is located just south of Pu'u Olai which is also known as Red Hill. This extinct cinder cone marks the south-west corner of the island and Makena beach is located at the bend of the island with its shores facing squarely south toward the Big Island of Hawaii (on extremely clear days you can see the tops of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on the Big Island). Makena Beach actually consists of two beaches, both of which are beautiful. The first that you come to is the largest of the two and is appropriately referred to as "Big Beach". Just to the west and requiring a small trek over a lava pathway is the second beach at Makena, much smaller than the first and once again appropriately named "Little Beach".

Big Beach at Makena

Big Beach at Makena

Big Beach is very long, close to two-thirds of a mile, and it is extremely wide with over one-hundred feet of sand in many places from water's edge to the vegetation line. The sand is beautiful being a truly golden color. The sand is also very clean giving you the sense that it was just laundered by the waves that often crash along its shoreline and its granules are somewhat larger than any other beach on the island. The sand is soft and deep and simply invites you to find a place to lay down and luxuriate in the warm sun which is generally ample in the area.

Clear Water at Makena Beach

Clear Water at Makena Beach

The beach itself is usually incredibly clear and from the cliffs above Makena Beach you can often see straight down to the sand bottom like you were looking through glass.

Riding the Shore Break at Makena (Jake Barefoot in Photo)

Riding the Shore Break at Makena (Jake Barefoot in Photo)

The waves here are very often quite powerful and they provide a mighty shore-break. This makes them very fun for skim boarders, body surfers and boogie boarders but it also makes them unbelievably dangerous. So many people have been seriously injured here with broken necks and broken backs that it makes you wonder if the thrill of the ride is worth the risk. It certainly is not for anyone who is not skilled in these activities and it happens more than you would believe that you see visitors to the island walking down to the sand as the waves suck from the bottom only to be knocked off their feet by an inescapable next wave that comes crashing in. The lucky ones can laugh it off as they regain their footing but they need to know that they just dodged a big bullet.

Skilled and capable swimmers can swim outside the break

For those who are skilled at making their way through the waves to the ocean beyond you can often swim in relatively calm water up and down the beach. You just need to know that at some point you have to go back to shore and make your way through the breakwater once again. This is not the very best beach for snorkeling because of the shore break but a better option might be the beach next door, Little Beach.

Climbing to Little Beach

Climbing to Little Beach

Little Beach requires a walk up and over an ancient lava wall precipice from Big Beach and this is the only means of entry. Once you arrive at the secluded Little Beach at Makena you will be awed by its beauty. It is a small crescent shape stretching perhaps an eighth of a mile tip to tip and it is protected on both sides by lava flows. The sand is similar to that on Big Beach but there is much less room to lay-out. The waves here are quite different then at Big Beach as they are usually not a shore break but a more even break over the coral. This beach is a magnet for boogie boarders and long rides can be had. Surfers also find the east side of the beach to be suitable for riding and on good days it can be exceptional.

Little Beach at Makena

Little Beach at Makena

The one thing you should be totally aware of before going over to Little Beach is that for all intents and purposes it is a "nude beach". The moment you arrive you will immediately notice that most of the people walking up and down the beach, playing Frisbee on the sand, swimming, boogie boarding and sunbathing do not have any clothes on. Being nude on the beaches of Maui is not legal but it seems that the powers that be very rarely enforce these laws at Little Beach but those that take their clothes off here do so at their own risk. The beach itself is a gem, as is Big Beach, and most days there have glorious weather.

Makena Lifeguard Tower

Makena Lifeguard Tower

As far as amenities at Makena Beach, there are three separate and paved parking lots at the beginning, middle and end of the beach. The first beach entrance is the most popular and has the largest expanse of sand. As you work your way down to the second and third parking area you will generally find less people. If you plan to make the trek to Little Beach the closest parking area will be the first one. There are no public restrooms at Makena but they do have portable toilets (none at Little Beach) and there are no showers at all. There are one or two picnic tables but not enough to guarantee that you will have one when you arrive. There are no barbecue facilities. Big Beach, but not Little Beach, does have a lifeguard tower and on some days they do have their work cut out for them.

Ocean Caution

Please be advised that all beaches and ocean locations in Hawaii can be potentially dangerous including this location. Be completely aware of the ocean conditions prior to entering the water and of course, never turn your back on the ocean when you are on the shoreline. It should also be noted that all shorelines and beaches in Hawaii, including this one, can be frequented by sharks, jellyfish and other sea creatures which can provide potential harm to people entering the water.

Ocean Caution




Beaches located in Wailea

Keawakapu Beach in Kihei is an enormous beach stretching approximately one mile from tip to tip. It is so large in fact that there are three separate points of entry where you can park and then walk to the beach.

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There are simply so many beautiful beaches in South Maui that it is hard to pick a favorite. Many people choose Maluaka Beach as their favorite however for a number of reasons.

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Probably due to the fact that Po'olenalena Beach is not located directly in front of, or not particularly close to a major resort hotel it is remarkably unpopulated by beachgoers with the exception of local residents.

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Ulua Beach is a charming beach that is located in the heart of Wailea. Access to the beach from outside the resort can be found on the Ulua Beach turnoff from Wailea Alanui Drive just north of the Shops at Wailea.

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Wailea Beach is the jewel of the Wailea Beaches. This is the largest beach in Wailea and a case could easily made that it is the most beautiful. It certainly was beautiful enough for the Grand Wailea Resort and the Wailea Four Seasons Resort to make the decision to construct their properties here and each of these hotels have been listed as the best hotel in the world on numerous occasions.

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Maui Beaches

Baldwin Beach is the largest beach on the North Shore of Maui. It's sands stretch out for about a mile spanning the coastline between Paia and Sprekelsville.

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Charlie Young beach is actually the northern portion of Kamaole Beach Park #1. It was named after the man that owned the house just above the beach for many years.

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For many people, perhaps the quintessential beach on Maui is Fleming Beach, also known as D.T. Fleming Beach Park. This beach has it all. It spans close to a half-mile along its crescent-shaped coastline and is carpeted with the an incredible white fluffy sand that extends fifty-plus feet from the ocean to the shaded forest line which provides the perfect back-drop to the beach.

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Perhaps the most beautiful of all the Hana beaches is the beach at Hamoa. Years ago the high-end Hana Hotel realized this and purchased the land directly behind the beach to be used as a staging area of sorts for their guests to use and often the hotel will bus their guests the two or three miles from the hotel to Hamoa Beach.

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Hana Bay is a fairly protected cove area with a large crescent shaped beach that runs parallel to the frontage road which leads to the Hana Harbor Pier.

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Hanakao'o Beach park is located on the southern extremity of Kaanapali Beach just off the Honoapiilani Highway (Rt. 30) about two miles north of the town of Lahaina.

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Haycraft Beach Park is a very small Maui County park located at the very eastern extremity of the town of Maalaea. Being almost adjacent to Maalaea Harbor you will be able to see the boats coming in and out of the harbor on their daily routine.

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Honokowai Beach Park is undoubtedly the focal point of activity in the town of Honokowai. Anyone driving through the beach community of Honokowai will get their first glimpse of the ocean when they drive by the park on the Lower Honoapiilani Hawaii.

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Located on the north-western tip of the island of Maui, Honolua Bay is a one of the most beautiful ocean locations to be found anywhere in Hawaii. The bay itself is a part of the 45 acre Honolua-Mokule'ia Marine Conservation District and as such all corals and marine creatures inside it are federally protected.

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During the winter months Hookipa is one of the best places to see people riding big waves. In the mornings and evenings it is a very popular place for surfers.

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Of all the beaches on Maui probably the most famous is Kaanapali Beach. This enormous white sand crescent shaped beach is the centerpiece of the Kaanapali Beach Resort which is the home of five of the most popular hotels on Maui as well as six of the largest condominium complexes.

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What could generally be considered the first of the truly beautiful South Maui Beaches as you work your way south from North Kihei is Kamaole Beach Park #1 which is the first of the triad of beaches known as Kamaole Beach Parks #1,#2 and #3.

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Kamaole Beach Park #2 is the middle beach in the triad of beautiful white-sand beaches in central Kihei known as the Kamaole beaches. The characteristics of Kamaole 2 are very similar to those of Kamaole 1.

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Of all three of the beaches that make up the triad of Kamaole Beach Parks in Kihei, Kamaole Beach Park #3 is the one that is the most different. The beach here is beautiful as well as the others but it is much smaller.

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Kanaha Beach is one of the major beaches located on Maui's north-central coastline. Kanaha is actually an enormous series of adjacent beaches that stretch through no less than five separate parking entrances.

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Over the years various organizations, magazines and self appointed experts have taken on the task of determining the best beaches in the world. The criteria used is presumably different in each case but for what it's worth, Kapalua Bay has appeared at the top of this list in many of these surveys, not just once, but for a number of times.

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Keawakapu Beach in Kihei is an enormous beach stretching approximately one mile from tip to tip. It is so large in fact that there are three separate points of entry where you can park and then walk to the beach.

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Launiupoko State Wayside Park has long been a favorite on the west side of the island. It offers visitors a beautiful green grass park setting complete with picnic tables and barbecue stations but it also has a small beach to enter for a short swim and water activities.

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Mai'Poin'a 'oe Ia'u Beach Park is located at the 5 mile marker in North Kihei. The beach stretches perhaps a mile from sands-end at its southern boundary to Sugar Beach whose boundary is the old sugar pier at the beginning of North Kihei.

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Makule'ia Bay is the bay immediately to the south of Honolua Bay and is located on the forty-five acre Honolua-Mokule'ia Marine Conservation District.

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There are simply so many beautiful beaches in South Maui that it is hard to pick a favorite. Many people choose Maluaka Beach as their favorite however for a number of reasons.

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The Tom Barefoot's Tours Maui Beach Guide has pictures, tips and maps of Maui's best beaches.The variety of the beaches that you can find on Maui is incredible.

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Napili Bay is a beautiful crescent shaped white sand beach that is located in the area of the island called Napili along the coast of West Maui. Napili Bay is very popular, particularly among people who are staying in Napili and are within walking distance of this seaside jewel of a beach.

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Olowalu Beach is located close to the 14 mile marker on the Honoapiilani Highway which is the ocean road that takes you from the central valley to Lahaina and the West Side.

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Pohaku Beach Park is located in Kahana just south and within easy view of the high-rise portion of town. This small beach park is often referred to as S-Turns because of the curve in the road that used to be there years ago before it was straightened.

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Probably due to the fact that Po'olenalena Beach is not located directly in front of, or not particularly close to a major resort hotel it is remarkably unpopulated by beachgoers with the exception of local residents.

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Puamana Beach Park is located immediately south of Lahaina next to the small resort community of the same name. The beach, and the park area behind it, are small and the beach itself consists of rocks rather than sand.

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Sugar Beach is located at the very north end of Kihei where the island takes a sharp ninety-degree turn toward Maalaea Harbor. Sugar Beach is very long, in fact it travels the entire distance between North Kihei and Maalaea and thus makes a fantastic morning walk area for people traveling in either location.

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Ukumehame Beach Park is located near the 12 mile marker along the Honoapiilani Highway (Hwy 30) in West Maui just a couple of miles north of the tunnel which separates the west side from Maalaea Harbor and the central valley.

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Ulua Beach is a charming beach that is located in the heart of Wailea. Access to the beach from outside the resort can be found on the Ulua Beach turnoff from Wailea Alanui Drive just north of the Shops at Wailea.

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Wailea Beach is the jewel of the Wailea Beaches. This is the largest beach in Wailea and a case could easily made that it is the most beautiful. It certainly was beautiful enough for the Grand Wailea Resort and the Wailea Four Seasons Resort to make the decision to construct their properties here and each of these hotels have been listed as the best hotel in the world on numerous occasions.

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When black lava rock breaks down over time it creates black sand, and this has been the case at the beautiful Hana beach of Wainapanapa. Wainapanapa is also a park as well as a beach and there are miles of trails to wander.

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Jake

This is my favorite place on the planet, hands down. If camping was still allowed here I don't think I would ever leave.