Makena Beach

Hawaii, U.S.A.

Starfish Rating of 5

Claim to Fame

One of the top spots in the world for beach weddings due to its ultimate picturesque backdrop. Makena Beach is a fairly long stretch of sand, but it’s one small area, a neat little cove, that is the beach’s claim to fame. Sometimes called “The Cove” or “Secret Beach” or “Makena Cove”, it is relatively sheltered; you’ll feel like you’re right in a picture postcard.

(click image to enlarge)
image courtesy of Mr. Tavis
  • Where is it?southeast sector of the island of Maui in the Hawaiian Islands, at the confluence of the Kealaikahiki Channel, Kanapou Bay and the Au’au Channel, part of the Pacific Ocean
  • Coordinates: latitude» 20.6311°
    longitude» -156.446°
  • Water Type: saltwater
  • Climate: tropical
  • Development: rural or natural area with minor development
  • Length of Beach: .6m/.9km
  • Type: white and orange sand, sometimes combining to appear beige
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Sometimes referred to as “Big Beach”, this is a pristine stretch of beach with an inclined shoreline and substantial shore break with large swells, a caution to swimmers and surfers; it’s not a great place to snorkel. It is possible to swim here, but morning is best. When at any ocean beach location, never turn your back to the surf because you simply never know when a large wave might scoop you up and dump you hard on the sand!

Located near the upscale resort town of Wailea, Makena Beach and The Cove are more of a place to enjoy the view than get active in water sports due to the often dangerous surf. Still, the fishing here is reportedly excellent, and the spinner dolphins frequently drop by for an impromptu show. Picnic tables and shade trees on the main beach make it a great rest spot for lunch, and perhaps a nap on the beach afterward.

The big feature here is the landscape, varied and colorful, with volcanic rock fields and offshore reefs (local authorities recommend you never touch or stand on coral reefs because they are living organisms). Its beauty is what makes it such a top beach wedding destination.

The dramatic scenery is filled with contrasts: orange sand, bright blue “big sky”, lush green trees and vegetation, starkly dark cliffs, and deposits of black lava against which waves break and shoot upward. Here the ocean is sometimes green and sometimes blue, or a turquoise blend.

One of the benefits of Makena Beach nuptials is the array of local flowers that can be plucked and placed in a bouquet, buttonhole, or sweep of hair. This beach might, given the waves and rocks, be a little noisy, but its beauty will frame the scene. And The Cove is not such a secret cove anymore, but still an idyllic spot to sunbathe or take your vows!

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