Hidden gems lie just beyond Maui’s swank Wailea
The southwest (“Gold Coast”) of Maui boasts upscale Wailea, home to a string of some of the world’s finest destination resorts—but beyond that is a virtually resort-free coastline. Some of the beaches here are well-known, but to find most, you need to know where to look. Kanahena Cove (above) is accessed via an obscure shoreline access sign near the south end of Makena State Park.
Makena Landing (above) is accessed via a side road and offers excellent snorkeling, at Turtle Town. This is also an excellent spot to voyage via kayak to the Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve, much of which is not reachable by land.
Constructed of coral rocks, Keawalai Church has added charm to Makena since 1832.
Makena State Park’s Big Beach, draws hundreds of visitors, but its large parking lots and long run of sand can handle it. Local activists saved this natural wonderland from development in the 1970s. Inland is a sublime view of green slopes Ulupalakua Ranch, which lies well below the summit of Haleakala.
A short, rugged trail on the north end of Big Beach gets you to Little Beach, where nudists pack the sand on beach towels—though nudity is illegal on all Hawaiian beaches. Curious pods of spinner dolphins take in the scene from just beyond the outer wave break.
Check out Maui Trailblazer for detailed descriptions to access these spots, and many more.