Guide To Makalawena Beach, Big Island, Hawaii

To reach Makalena Beach requires a bit of a trek, which on hot days can be hard work. Before you set out to visit this magnificent beach, pack a backpack with plenty of food and water – there are no provisions available at this remote beauty spot.

In your car, take Route 19 northwards from Kailua-Kona, then turn left onto the rough access road for Kekaha Kai State Park (after mile 88). After a rough 1 mile, the road reaches a crossroads. Park your car on the small area available next to the intersection. Follow the path that leads right from the crossroads. (Straight on leads you to Mahaiula beach, left goes to Makolea beach – both are also worth a visit).

After a few minutes, you’ll arrive at the coast, where you can pick up the coastal trail. Turn right, to head north. The path now leaves the coast, across a rugged patch of black lava. It takes about 20 minutes to cross the lava, then you arrive at the southern end of Makalawena beach.

Phew! No wonder you’ll often have the beach to yourself. But the hike-in’s well worth it, because you’ve arrived at one of the most beautiful beaches on the Hawaiian islands.

Makalawena beach actually consists of 3 sweeps of sand, separated from each other by lava points. There’s lots of vegetation behind the sand, so if you want it’s easy to find a place out of the sun for your picnic.

The swimming and snorkeling are absolutely super. The water is pleasantly warm and, on calmer days, the underwater visibility excellent. Body and boogie-board surfers head for the last of the beaches – the surf is normally better there.

Best Beach‘s rating : Wilderness feel 5 stars out of 5, Warm water 4 out of 5, Facilities 0 out of 5. Happy times 5 stars out of 5.

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