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Makena Beaches

Just as Kihei and Wailea beaches have their own tone and vibe, so do the Makena beaches. Drive south past the Wailea resorts, and the landscape changes dramatically. The further south you drive (the road ends seven miles past the Grand Wailea, at La Perouse Bay), the stronger sense you’ll have of old Maui beach life. The timeless shoreline geography contrasts explosive development on both sides of the narrow two-lane asphalt road that meanders past some of the world’s highest-dollar real estate.

You can find every beach indulgence here, from secluded, hidden stretches, to mass expanses of sea-lapping sand, to a weekly Sunday drum party that would be a strong “R” if it were a movie. Makena is magical, and even more so on the weekdays than weekends. Snorkel Ahihi Preserve if you get the chance (bring rubber footwear).

Polo Beach

Formed by a pair of sandy crescents in from of Polo Beach Club and the Fairmont Kea Lani hotel. The original name, Ke One o Polo” means “The sand is not thick” as you will find many rocks poking through the sandy beach. This does not take away from it being a beautiful beach for walking, sunbathing or snorkeling around the rocky point on the north side of the cove. This beach features picnic tables, BBQ area, and showers.

Palauea Beach

Commonly known as White Rock, near the Fairmont/Kea Lani, this is a lesser-used beach with a wilder, more natural and local feel than the other Wailea beaches. It’s been a popular wind-down spot for locals for generations. Development has changed this once sleepy beach enclave, and homes in this neighborhood start in the ten million range. No bathrooms, no lifeguards.

Po'olenalena Beach

Also known as Paipu Beach, stretches over 700 feet of picture perfect beach with great snorkeling spots on either end of the beach. This spot can also be a great boogie board spot if the winds are right. A favorite spot of locals, this beach is less crowded during the week and offers spectacular sunset views. Po'olenalena means "Yellow Head" referring to a yellow streaked rock on the Mauka (Mountain) side of the road.

Makena Landing

A little drive from most hotels, Makena Landing Park is the one stop shop for all your water activities. Hang out on the beach, snorkel, scuba or even stand up paddle board – you can do it all from this roadside beach. You will likely share the space with kayakers as many companies put in here as well.

Maluaka Beach

A long and flat white sand beach offers it all. This is a favorite spot of many due to the trade winds tend to fill this spot last, so if you are looking for calm and tranquil water – this is the spot. But get there early as parking is limited.

Little Beach

Hike around and over the point to the right from Big Beach, and down below you’ll find Little Beach, a hideaway for nude sunbathers and host to Sunday’s drum party, a time tunnel into the 1960s. The beach and surf are pleasant, the swimming mostly calm, and the boogie boarding is good when conditions cooperate.

Makena Beach - a.k.a. Big Beach

Before the endless accolades so deserved by one of Maui’s landmark beaches, observe one rule above all others when you’re at Big Beach: if the waves are breaking, do not enter. Even if you see the locals threading the curls on their boogie boards, even if you’re a great swimmer, don’t go in. There’s a reason that Big Beach is the perennial “least favorite” among ER personnel. Aside from the brutal shore break when the south swells are in, this is a “must see” beach, with more than a half mile of sandy expanse. AKA Makena State Park, Big Beach is an optimal “all day” destination. Lots of parking, food trucks on most days, portable toilets, lifeguards.

Ahihi Bay

The Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve's Ahihi Bay is not really what you might think of when you think sandy beach - but that is what makes it som eof the best snorkeling in Maui. The ground is rocky at nearly every point of entrance, so bring your water shoes - but this area is not to be missed!
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