Makena Beach, Maui: A Hawaiian Paradise

Nicknamed “Big Beach,” Makena Beach is popular with skilled skimboarders and bodysurfers.

Maui's Makena Beach.

Design Pics Inc. / Alamy

Dreaming about your own piece of Hawaiian real estate? On Maui’s south shore, four miles from the flashy Wailea resorts, lies Makena Beach—a roughly half-mile swath of soft white sand where you can spread out a blanket and stake a day's claim.

Aptly nicknamed “Big Beach,” Makena stretches between a forest of spiny kiawe trees and a beautiful but treacherous shore break beloved by skimboarders and bodysurfers. Swim or skim with caution, or take a short stroll to Pu’u Ola’i, a rust-colored volcanic summit sheltering Makena’s north end. At 360 feet, the dormant cinder cone offers views of Kahoolawe and Molokini Islands, and makes a perfect perch for spotting sooty terns, red-tailed tropicbirds, and the occasional migrating whale. From here, a rocky path leads to “Little Beach,” a secluded crescent popular with nude sunbathers and other free spirits, all here to live the dream.

This article was first published in Spring 2018. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.