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Makena
Makena

Makena

star-5
691 Reviews

The Basics

Although Makena is only a 10-minute drive from the mega-resorts of nearby Wailea, it retains a rural charm. Big Beach, located within Makena Beach State Park, is one of the few undeveloped stretches of Maui coastline, while nearby Little Beach serves as the island’s clothing-optional hangout.

Head to the waters of Keone’o’io off the coast of Makena for excellent snorkeling and the chance to spot spinner dolphins, or join a kayaking tour on Makena Bay where you’ll see green sea turtles swimming through a protected volcanic cove beneath the shadow of the West Maui Mountains. Most kayaking excursions include time for snorkeling as well.

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Recent reviews from experiences in Maui

star-5
Turtles galore!
CaseyB, Jun 2021
Turtle Reef Kayak Tour of Makena
Overall would recommend this experience. Beautiful scenery and knowledgeable guide. We saw four turtles up close during snorkel session! My only critique is the kayak launching point at the park is pretty congested as it is a public beach as well. Lots of traffic and pedestrians to be mindful of.
star-5
Two thumbs, way the F up!
Ericka_M, Jun 2021
Turtle Reef Kayak Tour of Makena
Jake was awesome!! He was cool and gave us some facts about the island. He took us to a spot where we got to see a bunch of turtles. At one point, my daughter and I had about 5 turtles around us. It was an awesome experience!
star-4
Fun
Dennis_T, Jun 2021
Turtle Reef Kayak Tour of Makena
Our instructor had a few issues with equipment but overall it was a blast, Branden was a great guide and very engaging with the group! A+
star-5
A must!!!
Craig_S, Jun 2021
Turtle Reef Kayak Tour of Makena
Such an amazing experience! Kalem (sorry for the spelling) He was fun and chill! Loved first experience with kayak in the ocean and we definitely nailed it! I'm not a bit swimmer usually agree out in the snorkeling area. Not this time!
star-5
Great time!
Heather_D, May 2021
Turtle Reef Kayak Tour of Makena
Our guide was very knowledgeable and made our day so fun! We saw quite a few turtles and other sea creatures and even learned some history!
star-5
Beautiful, informative, exciting
Samantha_E, May 2021
Turtle Reef Kayak Tour of Makena
Kyle was awesome! He gave us some great historical Info of the area and took us to a reef where we saw all sorts of underwater animals !! We had a great time
star-5
Excellent!!
Tawnya, May 2021
Turtle Reef Kayak Tour of Makena
Excellent experience!! Definitely a must do when you’re on the island!! The guide was great and knew so much local lore!! Apparently I got sea sick and vomited in front of Billy Idols home!!
star-5
So many turtles!
Shannon_M, May 2021
Turtle Reef Kayak Tour of Makena
So many turtles! Kayaking was a delight and Jake was the best guide - so full of local anecdotes and tips. Would highly recommend.
star-5
Makena
Gary_W, May 2021
Turtle Reef Kayak Tour of Makena
Everything went smoothly although the sun could have cooperated a bit more. Brandon did a great job and was full of new information. It was clear that he wanted everyone to have the best experience possible.
star-5
Great guide, fun time
Meri_Rose, May 2021
Turtle Reef Kayak Tour of Makena
Jakeb was a great guide and very funny. Everyone in our group had seemed to have a great time. All in all there were 4 groups of 2 people. They were easy to find at the launch site with South Pacific Kayaks advertised on the side of their trailer. We saw a lot of different fish, an eel and a turtle.
star-5
Fantastic
Ally_Moisse, May 2021
Turtle Reef Kayak Tour of Makena
Kyle, the guide. He was super cool down to earth and very informative. Highly recommended this company! Went on may 6th 2021. Swam with a turtle and held a sea urchin My name is ally, have any other questions text me 3035231493
star-4
Fun family outing
Michael_C, Apr 2021
Turtle Reef Kayak Tour of Makena
Roger made sure we had a good experience. Weather looked rough for the later tour (for which we were booked) so he texted me and let us take advantage of the earlier one. Snorkeling equipment was top notch...fit well, no leaking or fogging. The guys were chatty and kept us engaged while we kayaked. The actual snorkeling was just ho-hum. Nothing to write home about. But the overall experience was great. Even my two teenagers who had to get up at 6 AM were happy that they did!

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Makena makes an excellent base for adventure travelers and those who prefer a more rural setting.

  • Don’t forget to bring sunscreen and a change of clothes on snorkeling and kayaking tours.

  • Consider bringing a waterproof camera to document your Makena adventures.

  • Nudity is prohibited within the state park, even though Little Beach is frequently used for this purpose.

  • Be careful when swimming at Big Beach, as the current can be deceptively strong.

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How to Get There

Makena is located off the Piilani Highway, south of Lahaina. The easiest way to get there is to drive; there’s almost always plenty of free parking.

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When to Get There

There isn’t really a bad time to visit Makena, as the weather tends to be sunny throughout the year. Head out early if you plan to snorkel in popular spots like Turtle Town, and spend the hotter afternoon hours cooling off at an area beach.

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Maui’s Only Black Sand Beach

Though Big Beach gets the lion’s share of attention in Makena, the area is also home to Maui’s only black sand beach, Oneuli Beach. An offshore reef and lava rocks create an ideal habitat for fish, sea turtles, eels, and even the occasional shark, so don’t forget to bring snorkeling gear.

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