Situated within the serene bounds of Makena State Park on Maui's southwestern coast, Big Beach, also recognized as Oneloa Beach or Makena Beach, epitomizes the island's untouched splendor. Set against the shimmering expanses of the Pacific Ocean and dotted with volcanic landscapes, this beach is an unmissable destination for every Maui traveler.
The sun-kissed sands of Big Beach span almost 1.5 miles, offering a picture-perfect backdrop for relaxation, sunbathing, and family picnics. As you gaze into the horizon where the deep blue of the ocean meets the vast sky, a sense of tranquillity envelops you. But the beach isn't solely about peace and quiet. Its robust waves beckon bodyboarding and bodysurfing aficionados. However, irrespective of one's familiarity with the ocean, safety is paramount. Always prioritize your well-being and make informed choices before delving into water activities.
Just a short adventurous hike over a rocky ridge at the northern end of Big Beach lies its enchanting counterpart, Little Beach. This quaint cove, while smaller, is rich in character and ambiance. Recognized for its more liberal atmosphere, it's a haven for those who prefer a more naturalistic approach to sunbathing. But the allure of Little Beach doesn't end with the setting sun. Every Sunday, as evening engulfs the beach, the atmosphere pulsates with the rhythmic beats of drum circles, and the night comes alive with the mesmerizing performances of fire dancers.
Your safety should always reign supreme. While Big Beach's majestic beauty is enticing, its potent shore breaks can be deceptive. Heed the warning signs, pay attention to flags, and always respect lifeguard advisories. A cautious approach ensures not just your safety, but an enriched beach experience. And for your convenience, Big Beach offers fundamental amenities such as restrooms and picnic areas.
Getting to Big Beach from Wailea is a scenic and straightforward drive. Begin by heading south on Wailea Alanui Drive. This road will seamlessly transition into Makena Road as you venture further south. Continue on Makena Road, passing through the luxurious resorts and scenic viewpoints. In a short span, usually about 10 minutes, you'll reach the entrance to Makena State Park, where Big Beach awaits your arrival. Parking is available, but it's advisable to arrive early during peak times to secure a spot.
Makena, located on the southwestern coast of Maui, is better known for its beaches, luxury resorts, and natural beauty than for ranching. Historically, the larger upcountry regions of Maui, such as Kula and Makawao, have been more associated with ranching activities, particularly cattle ranching. These areas have the right elevation, climate, and ample pastureland suitable for raising livestock.
However, in the broader context of Maui and Hawaii in general, ranching has a rich history. Cattle were introduced to the Hawaiian Islands in the late 18th century by Captain George Vancouver, and they quickly became an essential part of the islands' agriculture and economy. Paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) culture subsequently developed and is still celebrated in various parts of the islands.
In Makena specifically, there might be some small-scale ranching or private estates that engage in limited livestock raising, but it's not the primary or traditional activity for which the area is known. If you're interested in Hawaiian ranching, consider exploring the upcountry Maui areas or visiting places like Parker Ranch on the Big Island to get a better sense of this aspect of Hawaiian culture.
Big Beach offers more than a typical day at the beach. It's an immersive experience, weaving together nature's pristine beauty with the thrill of marine adventures. Whether you're journeying solo, with a loved one, or in a group, Big Beach promises an array of cherished memories, lasting long after the waves have washed your footprints away.