One look at Makena and it's easy to see how this beach got its nickname. This is the largest beach in south Maui, with golden sands extending nearly 2/3 of a mile long and 100 yards wide. Visitors can swim or snorkel in these pristine waters, sunbathe on the expansive sand, or have lunch on a picnic table.
Big Beach is located past Wailea -- an area that tends to be less crowded than other parts of the island. Nestled in between two black-lava outcroppings, the beach offers much desired protection from the trade winds and provides great views of the islands of Molokini and Kahoolawe.
From Lahaina, head south on Honoapiilani Highway (HI-30). Continue south on North Kihei Road (HI-310), which becomes Piilani Highway (HI-31). Follow this to the end of the highway and turn left on Wailea Alanui Drive. Turn right on Makena Road and follow it to the parking lot. It's roughly a 50-minute drive from Lahaina.
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