Makena Beach State Park includes two of Maui’s nicest beaches–Big Beach and Little Beach. The wide, golden-sand Big Beach is edged with palm trees and bordered by grass-topped sand dunes between two black lava points on the south side of Maui’s resort coastline of Wailea. This white and orange sand beach is nearly one mile long and 100 yards wide with plenty of room for everyone. When the surf is calm the pristine blue-green waters of Makena are terrific for swimming, and during times of moderate surf, this is a great bodysurfing beach. A path to the north (right) leads to Little Beach which is well known as a clothing-optional beach (parents beware) even though this is illegal. Big Beach and Little Beach are divided by a hill called Puu Olai (Earthquake Hill) which was formed by a 1790 lava flow and earthquake.
Sunbathing, picnics. Swimming, surfing, bodysurfing, bodyboarding, and skimboarding can be excellent but beginners should stay out of the water during times of high surf.
Makena Beach provides great views of the offshore half-sunken crater of Molokini as well as the island of Kahoolawe making this a nice place for picnics in the shady areas. The lava outcroppings provide some protection from the tradewinds and the sandy ocean floor and lack of coral reef make the sea shimmer in true Hawaiian style. There are also some nice hiking trails in this area.
Need to Know
Makena is a great beach to visit to get away from the hustle and bustle of Lahaina and Kaanapali just to the north. Big Beach is popular with bodyboarders, bodysurfers, and skimboarders who appreciate the inclined shore and the sometimes large shore break waves. Beginners should stay out of the water during times of high surf and rough ocean waters. Snorkelers should visit a more protected beach.
Restrooms, picnic tables, shady areas under trees, paved parking, hiking trails.
Makena Beach is located near the Makena Beach and Golf resort in southern Maui off Makena Alanui Road where there are three entrances to the beach, the first being closest to Little Beach.