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Makalawena Beach, Hawaii

Location Hawaii, Big Island
Sea Temperature (C) Spring / Summer / Fall / Winter 24 / 26 / 24 / 24
Makalawena Beach, Hawaii

Makalawena Beach, Hawaii

Makalawena Beach, Hawaii


Drving north from Kailua-Kona along Route 19, make a left onto the unpaved access road to Kekaha Kai State Park (midway between mile markers 88 and 89). Drive for about 10 minutes along the bumpy road, and you’ll come to a parking lot at a 4-way intersection. Straight ahead lies Mahaiula beach, left lies Makolea beach, but you need to hike along the path heading right (northwards).

Make sure you pack plenty of provisions and water (there are no concessions at the beach). After about 10 minutes along the path, you’ll arrive at the coast (near an old water tower), and you can pick up the coastal trail. Turn right, heading north. The path now leaves the coast, to cross a lava field. Carry on for about 15 minutes, to reach the sand dunes that make up the southern end of Makalawena beach. You’ve arrived! The hike-in provides a big deterrent to many, so when you do get there, you’re rewarded with the sight of a picture-perfect tropical beach - irridescent turquoise waters lapping against pristine white sand.

The beach consists of 3 crescents of sand, divided from each other by rocky outcrops into the sea. The beaches are all backed by beautiful trees, which provide welcome shade on a hot day. There's lots to do. The snorkeling is absolutely brilliant, with a multitude of brilliantly colored fish. Boogey board enthusiasts will find the waves are often best on the furthest beach.

Some people just can’t sit still, and if you fit into this category, you might like to try the 1 ½ mile walk (from the northern end of the beach, continue north along the coastal trail for about a mile, then turn right) to the atmospheric summit of Pu‘u Ku‘ili, a 342-ft high cinder cone, which gives terrific views, both seawards and inland. (If you found the walk-in hot and bothersome, leave this one well alone!)

At the end of your day at the beach, nature has conveniently provided several freshwater ponds in the trees, perfect for washing off all the sea-salt.

Why in 100 Best?

The beach is stunningly beautiful. It lies in the Kekaha-Kai state park, so remains protected from development. (Contributor’s note – thankfully so, I can remember arriving at the ‘most beautiful beach in Maui’ to find hundreds of bulldozers had just moved in).

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Listing contributed by Josh

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Makalawena Beach, Hawaii


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Best Beaches - Makalawena Beach, Hawaii - Info, Pictures, Wallpapers 1280x1024,1024x768,1280x800, Videos - 15 votes