Share:

Makalawena Beach

Kekaha Kai State Park

Big Island, Hawai'i

Start Exploring
Makalawena Beach

Share:

Advertisement
  • Entering the Mahai'ula Section of Kekaha Kai State Park.- Makalawena Beach
  • The road servicing Mahai'ula and Ka'elehuluhulu beaches is really rough, but it is doable in a normal two-wheel drive car if you drive slowly.- Makalawena Beach
  • The road servicing Mahai'ula and Ka'elehuluhulu beaches is really rough, but it is doable in a normal two-wheel drive car if you drive slowly.- Makalawena Beach
  • The parking area for Mahai'ula and Ka'elehuluhulu beaches.- Makalawena Beach
  • These folks chose to ignore the fact that dogs are prohibited in Kekaha Kai State Park.- Makalawena Beach
  • The path to Makalawena Beach leaves from the north end of Mahai'ula Beach.- Makalawena Beach
  • The path to Makalawena Beach leaves from the north end of Mahai'ula Beach.- Makalawena Beach
  • To reach Makalawena Beach you have to cross this enormous lava field.- Makalawena Beach
  • The path to Makalawena Beach; nudity may be a factor, but plenty of visitors wear suits as well.- Makalawena Beach
  • Looking across the lava field toward Mahai'ula Beach. - Makalawena Beach
  • The path to Makalawena Beach.- Makalawena Beach
  • After leaving the lava field the path turns to sand.- Makalawena Beach
  • Signs on a tree warn visitors away, but this is public land and a state park.- Makalawena Beach
  • Camping is prohibited in the park, but perhaps these folks were just passing through.- Makalawena Beach
  • The path to Makalawena Beach.- Makalawena Beach
  • Makalawena Beach.- Makalawena Beach
  • Makalawena Beach.- Makalawena Beach
  • The fine sand at Makalawena Beach.- Makalawena Beach
  • Makalawena Beach.- Makalawena Beach
  • Makalawena Beach.- Makalawena Beach
  • Makalawena Beach.- Makalawena Beach
  • Some swell at Makalawena Beach.- Makalawena Beach
  • The path to Makalawena Beach.- Makalawena Beach
  • The surf is a little more consistent at the north end of the beach.- Makalawena Beach
  • The waves at Makalawena Beach can be great for boogie boarding.- Makalawena Beach
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Beautiful sand and water. Lots of space.
Cons: 
Remote access. No amenities.
Advertisement
Region:
Big Island, HI
Congestion: 
Moderate
Location type: 
Sandy beach
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Current Local Weather:
Advertisement
Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Team

With Mahai'ula Beach, Ka'elehuluhulu Beach, and Manini'ōwali Beach along its shores, Kekaha Kai State Park has more than its fair share of beautiful sand. Even among these spots, however, Makalawena Beach stands out for its sheer size and aesthetic appeal. Waves here can be great for boogie boarding, and the gentle slope of the beach makes swimming a breeze when the conditions are right. Take a stroll along the waterline and enjoy the silky texture of the fine white sand, and you'll agree that this is a special spot. 

At just shy of a half mile long, Makalawena Beach has a few sections. The southern crescent has the longest portion of continuous sand and slightly mellower waves; beyond the point to the north you'll find some bigger surf, a freshwater pool, and on weekends, more of a local vibe. This is a large beach that requires some work to access, however, so visitors are likely to find it less crowded than other beaches in the park.

Most people reach Makalawena using a trail that leaves from the north end of Mahai'ula Beach, which itself requires a short walk from the parking area. From Mahai'ula Beach you'll continue north beyond the Magoon house, through a grove of palm trees, and onto a trail that leads straight through the lava flow that Hualālai pushed out in 1801. The half-mile walk is over lava rubble, so sandals may not be the best choice here. Add to this distance the walk from the car to the north end of Mahai'ula Beach and you're looking at a mile to hike in. Ditch the beach chairs and opt for lighter belongings, but be sure to bring all of the sun protection and water you'll need for the day; there are no amenities at Makalawena Beach.

Those with rugged four-wheel drive vehicles and fortitude may find the access road coming in form the north an option, but this only gets you closer to the beach...you'll still have to walk. And because the road is so rough, you'll be spending just as much time getting there. 

While this area is remote, all of the the protections of Kekaha Kai State Park still hold: Pets, alcohol, smoking, and yes, even camping and beach fires are prohibited here. The park hours are officially 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. There are no trash receptacles, so plan to carry out what you carry in, grab any litter you see, and leave no trace. This is an absolutely beautiful spot, and it won't stay that way unless we all take steps to protect it. Also, be aware that some visitors may opt to go nude at Makalawena, though there are plenty that wear bathing suits as well.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

Download
Advertisement
Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(2 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(28 within a 30 mile radius)

Advertisement
Related Content

Related Content

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
6 Members
Who's Done It
5 Members
Submission by
Team
368 Adventures Explored
344 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info