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Why You Need to Visit Makena Beach, Hawaii


With its dramatic cliff landscape and brilliant blue/green water, Makena Beach is one of the most popular shorelines in Maui, Hawaii. It’s often referred to as Maui’s “Big Beach” and is one of the largest beaches on the island, with golden sands extending nearly 1.5 miles long and 100 yards wide. Visitors can swim or snorkel in the water, enjoy a picnic in the shade, or simply sunbathe on the seemingly endless expanse of sand. Whatever you choose, we promise a trip to Makena Beach, Hawaii will be one you’ll never forget! Here are some things you should know before your visit.

Learn more about Makena Beach, Hawaii when you download our free vacation guide. It’s full of information on great places to dine during your stay at The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono!

Things to Do on Makena Beach, Hawaii

Big Beach is located south of Wailea and provides a secluded alternative to more crowded beaches in Kaanapali and Lahaina. Nestled between two black lava outcroppings, Makena offers protection from the trade winds and provides great views of the islands of Molokini and Kahoolawe. It’s famous for its inclined shoreline and large shore break and is ideal for skimboarding, bodyboarding, and body surfing. There are also plenty of lifeguards on duty.

Though there are no showers, port-a-potties are located at both the first and second entrance to Big Beach. You’ll even find picnic tables, trash bins, and food trucks nearby. It’s the perfect place to go for some fun in the sun!

1. Fascinating History

Duke Paoa Kahanamoku was born on August 24, 1890 in Honolulu, Hawaii. He grew up in Waikiki with the ocean as his playground, spending most of his time swimming, surfing, and canoeing. At the age of 21, Duke won his first Olympic gold medal and went on to represent the United States for 20 years. He won the hearts of people all over the world and is remembered for his sportsmanship, kindness, and good humor.

Tips for Your Visit to Makena Beach, Hawaii

  • Be careful when walking out on the sand. The trees on Big Beach have large thorns that can be found on the ground nearby. Going barefoot can be dangerous near the trees, so wait to take off your sandals or shoes until you walk past them.
  • The ocean is deceptively powerful here. Never turn your back to the waves.
  • There’s often a line of clouds running over a portion of the beach. This comes and goes, so be patient!

Check Out Little Beach

Puʻu Olai Beach, also known as “Little Beach”, is a small 660-foot stretch of sand just north of Big Beach. It’s separated by a steep lava outcropping and a five-minute hike. On Sunday afternoons, Little Beach is host to celebratory drumming and fire dancing. It’s also one of the few Hawaiian beaches where you can enjoy nude sunbathing. Feel free to trade a swimsuit for your birthday suit if that’s what you’re into!

Book Your Stay at The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono

After a wonderful afternoon at Makena Beach, take a short 30-minute drive back to our historic B&B and relax! Surrounded by lush rainforest and gardens, our beautiful rooms and suites have everything you need for an unforgettable getaway. We even offer a variety of vacation specials to help you save on your trip! Visit our accommodations page to see what’s available and contact us today to make your reservations. We look forward to hearing from you!

The Old Wailuku Inn

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  • 808-244-5897
  • 2199 Kaho'okele Street Wailuku
    Maui, Hawaii 96793