One of the most popular beaches on Maui, Makena is so vast it never feels crowded. Locals call it “Big Beach”—it’s more than 100 feet wide and stretches out 3,300 feet from Puu Olai, the 360-foot cinder cone on its north end to its southern rocky point. The golden sand is luxuriant, deep, and soft, but the shorebreak is steep and powerful. Many a visitor has broken an arm in the surf here. If you’re an inexperienced swimmer, it’s better to watch the pros shred waves on skimboards. Facilities are limited to portable toilets, but there’s plenty of parking and lifeguards at the first two entrances. Dolphins often frequent these waters, and nearly every afternoon a heavy cloud rolls in, providing welcome relief from the sun. If you clamber up the Puu Olai, you’ll find Little Beach on the other side, a small crescent of sand where assorted nudists work on their all-over tans in defiance of the law. The shoreline doesn’t drop off quite so steeply here, and bodysurfing is terrific—no pun intended.
End of Wailea Alanui Road, Makena Rd, Wailea-Makena