The cinder cone marking the end of South Maui creates a series of coves that shelter some great swimming and snorkeling at Makena Beaches. Most of them slope gently, which calms the shore surge. Locals have a tendency to call all of these beaches “Makena,” but they have one or two additional names. Starting from the north, Black Sand has coral and a lava shelf, making for great snorkeling but marginal swimming. Access is the dirt track from the main Makena Beach Park entrance.
Makena or Big Beach stretches nearly two-thirds of a mile, and is Maui’s largest undeveloped beach. Most days the water just shimmers in the sun and it’s kind to youngsters and timid swimmers. Other days the surge thumps the shore. Port-a-potties, parking, picnic tables and shade add to comfort.
For a different scene, climb the edge of the cinder cone at edge of Big Beach and you’ll come to Little Beach. You may find bathers sans bikinis or trunks on the nude beach. Come evening, there’s even entertainment, including flaming hula hoops, though locals like to keep it to themselves. Swimming and snorkeling are tops.
Access to Makena is at the north and south ends. If hunger strikes, the Jawz taco truck is usually nearby. The beach has restrooms, but no drinking water.