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Makalawena Beach




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A hike to paradise

You’ll be greeted with the site of one of the most beautiful beaches on the Island at the end of your hike!

Play in the waves

Calm, clear waters are perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

Bird Sanctuary

The pond behind the beach is an important shoreline bird sanctuary!




Makalawena Beach is one of the beaches in Kekaha Kai Beach Park. It’s one of the most beautiful beaches on the Island that isn’t accessible by road. To reach this beach you will have to drive to Mahai’ula Beach and hike about 30 minutes North over the lava rock field. You’ll want closed-toed shoes, reef-safe sunscreen and water for the hike.

Makalawena is a real-life postcard with green palms, white sand and black lava rock contrasting beautifully with the blue sky and water. The water is typically calm, and perfect for cooling off after the hike in. Remember to always check conditions before entering the water, as the surf can sometimes get rough. This is a popular spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. It’s known for octopus and shells!

There is some shade under the palm trees around the beach’s coves. Behind the North end of the beach you’ll find Opae’ula Pond. This is one of the Big Island’s most important shoreline bird sanctuaries! It’s home to a large population of red shrimp (opae’ula) that many types of birds feed on.



Kekaha Kai State Park is a couple miles North of Kona airport. Access to Mahai’ula Bay is at the Southern end of the park between the 90 and 91 mile markers on Highway 19. The lava road to the shoreline is rough and uneven. Go slowly, especially if in a normal car and not a vehicle with 4 wheel drive. The end of the road is 1.5 miles from the highway. Just before the parking lot you’ll see a metal chain restricting access to a dirt road that leads to the Mahai’ula Beach. Once you’ve parked, grab your gear and head up this road on foot to the North end of Mahai’ula Beach. Continuing from there the trail leads North toward Makalawena. Follow the trail 20 minutes across the lava field and you’ll reach the sand dunes behind Makalawena Beach. There aren’t any garbage cans on the beach so plan to pack any of your garbage for the return hike. The park’s gates are open from 9am-7pm, so make sure you give yourself time to get back to your car at the end of the day.

We recommend contacting organisations directly to get the most up to date information about their operations.