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Makalawena Beach

big island/kailua kona

HI-19 96740
Kailua-Kona, 96740

White Sand, Laval Pools

Hours of Operation:

    7 AM–7 PM
White Sand, Laval Pools

Makalawena Beach

The Big Island's Crown Jewel

Makalawena Beach, often considered the crown jewel of the island, is a true tropical paradise for those willing to embark on a scenic journey to reach it. Idyllic and pristine, Makalawena is a beach lover's dream. This hidden gem is graced with an expanse of exceptionally fine, clean white sand, ample shaded areas, and the luxury of uncrowded shores during weekdays. The beach's setting is nothing short of spectacular, featuring multiple coves and rocky points interconnected by a long, curving shoreline. The best spot for swimming is nestled within the largest inlet, which is backed by towering sand dunes. For thrill-seekers, boogie boarding at Makalawena can be an exhilarating experience.

Adding to the allure of this beach is a freshwater pond, providing a unique opportunity to cool off in a natural oasis. Keep an eye out for a curious herd of wild goats that frequently visit the area, adding to the beach's charm.

Makalawena Beach can be accessed via a trail that begins from the red houses located behind Mahai‘ula Beach, approximately a 20-minute walk. The trail traverses a rugged 'a‘a field, requiring sturdy footwear to navigate the uneven terrain. Beware of bees along the route. While walking this path, it's worth imagining the challenges ancient Hawaiians faced when traversing these fields barefoot.

As you approach Makalawena from the Kekaha Kai side, the 'a‘a trail gives way to expansive sand dunes. However, an interesting geological feature is revealed when you climb the dunes to the left, where you'll find more 'a‘a, indicating that the beach was once the shoreline until a lava flow of 'a‘a extended the land, separating the dunes from the sea.

For those with a 4WD vehicle and nerves of steel, a rugged road accessible from the highway between mile markers 88 and 89 provides a somewhat intimidating route to the beach. Although locals in their stock pick-up trucks and Jeeps navigate it routinely, some visitors in rental Jeeps may find it impassable. The road will lead you north of the beach until a gate forces you to join the final leg of the journey on foot.

Given its remote location, it's not uncommon for visitors to travel light to Makalawena Beach, occasionally "forgetting" their bathing suits. Regardless of the reason, it's a reminder that this hidden gem remains a pristine and isolated piece of Hawaiian paradise, waiting to be explored.

Makalawena BeachThe Big Island's Crown JewelMakalawena Beach, often considered the crown jewel of th ....

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