Sandy beach
Hike-in Required
Snorkeling / SCUBA
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Makapu'u Beach is a famous southeast O'ahu spot known for bodyboarding and bodysurfing thanks to its pounding shore break. Along with nearby Sandy's Beach, they make up the premier tandem in the sport.

The iconic cliffs sit above the break and hold a large lighthouse built in 1909. The giant Rabbit Island sits just offshore. The whole area looks right out of a movie scene—and the break couldn't have been scripted any better. A decent-sized beach allows for spectators, but nothing like Sandy's large showcase beach. Locals commonly pull to the shoulder of the road above the beach and check the waves for a few minutes while commuting between Kailua and Hawaii Kai. Makapu'u is very consistent and usually always has at least some small waves. It can get wrapping swells from all but western storms.

There is a lifeguard on duty during normal hours, and there are also showers, and bathrooms. Tide pools are located a bit farther north as well as some rebuilt ancient rock works. Sea Life Park sits just across the street from the beach, and there are nearby hikes and many other beach options just minutes away, such as Waimanalo Beach, which has far fewer waves to worry about. Some people stand-up surf a bit north of Makapu'u, but the break is normally for spongers and the board-less.

Logistics + Planning



Parking Pass

Not Required


Dramatic shoreline. Body-boarding. Tide pools. Historic cemetery.


Somewhat dangerous shore break.


Picnic tables
Tide pools
Bird watching
Tide pools



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