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Makena Beach Park – Big Beach Guide

By January 3, 2024 No Comments
Big Beach Beach Guide Overview

A stunning beach that warrants caution for ocean goers.

Makena State Park – Big Beach

Big Beach, also called Makena Beach, is a stunning and popular beach located in the Makena State Park in South Maui. It is known for its vast expanse of soft, golden sand, clear turquoise waters, and a dramatic setting, making it one of Maui’s most iconic and beloved beaches.


Makena State Park MapDirections and Distance from Auntie Snorkel 


Parking and Access

  • Heading south on Makena Alanui Road, you’ll pass Makena Keonoio Road on the right. Next, you’ll pass a private drive on the right, and then a dirt road with a yellow gate also on your right. Then, you’ll likely see a couple of food trucks on the left (so ono!). Makena State Park will be the next right. Turn there to look for parking in the lot. If this one is full, head back out to Makena Alanui, turn right and take the next Makena State Park entrance for the 2nd parking lot.  There is a fee to park that helps maintain the area for its many visitors. Make sure you pay at one of the kiosks before heading to the beach. 
  • The path to Big Beach is at the far end of the parking lot. Take all valuables with you. Keep your slippahs on for walking through the Keawe trees, as their fallen branches have mean thorns!

Facilities and Amenities

  • Big Beach is relatively undeveloped and lacks amenities except for portable toilets and garbage cans. Visitors should plan to bring their own supplies for a beach day.
  • There is a lifeguard station at this beach, and for good reason!

Big Beach Information

Visitors should read all posted information at Big Beach.

What to Bring

  • Bring a kit for having a scenic oceanside picnic! Auntie recommends beach chairs, umbrellas, and games.

Snorkeling and Surf

  • Visitors to Makena State Park can enjoy their time safely by being informed and taking precautions. It’s important to pay attention to posted signs, take heed of any warnings, and be aware of changing ocean conditions. Swimming and other water activities are best enjoyed by those who are confident and experienced in the water and are attentive to their surroundings. Therefore, if you’re not a strong swimmer or experienced in navigating changing ocean conditions, consider sticking to the shoreline and enjoying the beach from a safe distance.
  • Big Beach is known for its powerful shore break, especially when the surf is up, usually with summer south swells. This shore break can create strong and potentially dangerous waves that can catch swimmers by surprise, particularly those not familiar with such conditions. It’s crucial to pay attention to warning signs and lifeguard advice and to exercise caution when enjoying the ocean at Makena.
  • Snorkeling is better at other spots like Maluaka to the north and Ahihi Bay to the south. 

Makena State Park - Big Beach from the north end

Makena State Park – Big Beach from the north end.

Environment and Seasonal Variation

  • Makena State Park is characterized by its vast and wide shoreline of golden sand, which stretches over half a mile in length. The landscape features the iconic Pu’u Olai cinder cone, a prominent volcanic formation.
  • Summer south swells are most likely to bring waves. Winter will have more calm water days. 
  • It’s important for visitors to respect the local rules and regulations, including not touching or damaging the coral, not collecting or harassing marine life, and not disturbing the natural habitat.

Remember to respect the natural beauty and environment of Makena State Park by leaving no trace and following any posted rules and regulations. Big Beach is a favored destination for tourists and locals alike due to its natural beauty, recreational opportunities, and accessibility. Its expansive shoreline and dramatic setting make it a must-visit beach for those seeking a memorable beach experience in Maui. However, it’s essential to be mindful of ocean conditions and safety when enjoying the water at this beach, as conditions can change, and strong waves and currents may occur.

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About Auntie Snorkel

Auntie Snorkel shop has been serving Maui’s fun seekers for over 33 years, established in 1985. We're the original South Maui Snorkel Shop. When I bought the shop 10 years ago from Auntie, we decided to keep the name. The name "Auntie" is a term of respect here in Hawaii. I'm living my dream. I get to meet awesome people from all over the world and share with them my love and knowledge of this magical island that I get to call home. We know all the spots. I have lived here since 2001. We're the true definition of a family owned and operated shop. I answer the phones and work the shop along with my family. When you shop with us you're supporting my ohana and for that I thank you!! Why go anywhere else? We're the friendliest, fastest, cheapest and our location is the most epic! Mahalo and Aloha”. ~Mark Noble (Owner & Maui Fun Expert)

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