Oneloa or Makena Beach
Big Beach — aka Oneloa or Makena Beach— stand as a destination hotspot for its beauty, located in south Maui, only minutes from Wailea and Kihei. This pristine but raw beach is decorated at the back by sinewy Kiawe trees flourishing in sandy dunes. It's bordered on either end by lava rocks, the largest of which divides it from Little Beach in the North.
Overview of Big Beach (Oneloa and Makena Beach)
Visit Makena Beach, Oneloa (Big Beach), for the many natural wonders. Miles of pristine white sand sprawls across this coastline. It is nearly 2/3 miles long and over 100 feet wide. The gorgeous sand and clean waters attract snorkelers, swimmers, and sunbathers. As with most beaches on Maui, pay attention to the rip tides. Enter the water based on the locals' actions; they know what they are doing.
Discover a sizeable volcanic cinder cone at the north end called Pu'u Ola'i. Next, trek to the opposite end over a rocky path that takes you over a wall of volcanic rock. If you continue on this rocky path, you will soon encounter Little Beach. Many nude sunbathers flock here as one of Maui’s most beautiful and secluded beaches. Although public nudity is against the law in Hawaii, Little Beach has avoided detection for its remote location and difficult access.
Getting There- Big Beach (Oneloa and Makena Beach)
From the town of Lahaina, drive south on the Honoapiilani Highway. Go past Maalaea Harbor, and turn right at North Kihei Road. Drive south on Piilani Highway as you pass Kihei and drive downhill toward Wailea Ike Drive and Wailea Alanui Drive. Turn left onto Wailea Alanui Drive and continue past the Makena Beach Golf Resort. Turn right when you see the entrance sign "Makena Beach (Big Beach.)."
Makena Beach is accessible via a short road at mile marker four on Makena Alanui Road and another access just past mile marker 4 in South Maui.
Essential Tips for a Great Big Beach (Oneloa and Makena Beach) Visit
You’ve found the perfect getaway with Oneloa, but be careful of the dangerous shore break. Oneloa Beach has a steep slope into the ocean. The strong waves here have injured people's necks and backs. Be careful! Kids and people who can't swim should take significant precautions around the shore break. Parents should observe their children. Don't let the warning above- stop you from enjoying sightseeing on this spectacular beach. The park closes in the evening.
Big Beach (Oneloa and Makena Beach) Amenities
This beach lack some amenities like freshwater for drinking or showering. So bring a bottle with you. Yet, you can find:
- Lifeguards on duty
- Portable toilets
- Picnic tables
- Paved parking
- Food trucks within the vicinity
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Having Fun at Big Beach (Oneloa/Makena Beach)
Family Activities at Big Beach (Oneloa and Makena Beach)
Again, we warn families to take precautions because of the high tides here. Yet, you and your family can still enjoy swimming and advanced bodyboarding. Before heading into the water, check out the shore’s conditions with the lifeguard on duty.
Big Beach (Oneloa and Makena Beach) Activities
Surfing: The waves along this beach are a magnet for surfers. But make sure to watch out since the shore break crashes right at the water’s edge, creating dangerous and unpredictable rips.
Kayaking: During the calm tides, keep an eye out for people having fun with Maui Kayak Adventures - they offer kayak tours to Turtle Town, Olowalu, Honolua, and even a Molokini kayak challenge!
Snorkeling: We recommend snorkeling only when the waters are calm.
Bodyboarding: The most extreme boogie boarders love this beach for the high surfs. Take a moment to watch this incredible feat in action,
Spectacular views: Enjoy the incredible views of Molokini and Kaho'olawe as you lounge on these white sands. On the right, bask in the legendary 360-foot Pu'u Ola'i Cinder Cone. Thankfully, the violent eruptions ceased in 1790.
Nearby Attractions and Sights
Trek Pu'u Ola' Cinder Cone Trail: To get to Pu'u Olai, start at the west shore of Makena Beach. Then, hike through the lava rock formations, up and around the crater, past a series of tide pools to the other side of the hill. Before reaching the top, look for a well-defined pathway leading around the summit crater. Walk around the crater loop for spectacular views of Maui’s cascading terrain, neighboring islands, and the ocean. Plan to start the hike early for lovely sunrise views and cooler temperatures.
Sunbathe Nude at Little Beach: Take the small path over the hill and lava to Little Beach. Naturists enjoy nude sunbathing and swimming because of the beach’s seclusion. Though Hawaii prohibits public nudity, Little Beach is one of few beaches where people feel they can sunbathe au-natural.
Our Other Maui Suggestions
The Valley Isle is brimming with beautiful beaches, places to visit, and activities for the entire family. Check out just a few of the highlights here.