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Makena State Park is the site of the famous Makena Beach. Many people don't even realize that they're in a state park, as there is no sign or fee area.
The park is home to 3 beaches. Big Makena and Little Makena, are the most famous. There is also a Black Sand Beach located past Red Hill. This one is rarely visited by tourists, as access is really difficult. The park's other attraction is Pu'u Olai, or Red Hill. A 360 ft. high cinder cone overlooking Makena Beach and the surrounding areas. It is advised that you not clmib the cinder cone, as it can be dangarous, but some adventurous tourists like us, ignore the signs and climb it anyways. If you do decide to climb it, stay away from the edge, and wear sturdy shoes. Hiking shoes are the best, but tennis shoes will also work. Do not attempt the climb in flip flops, water shoes, or sandles. Bring water! It may not look very high, but the climb can take an average hiker around 20 minutes.
Big Makena Beach is the most popular area in the park. The offshore reefs provide for some good snorkeling, and it's possible to spot a Sea Turtle. Be aware of the tides. If the waves are big do not attempt to snorkel.
Little Makena is a clothing optional beach. Even though it's not legal in Hawaii, a lot of people, of all ages still get naked on it. The beach is most popular on weekends, especially on Sundays, when the evening fire dances take place. If you come during the weekday, you can have the place to yourself. There is still a risk of getting a ticket for indescent exposure. If the beach isn't crowded, don't take your clothes off. It's not worth getting a ticket. Most nudists visit the beach on weekends.
Aside from the nudism, Little Makena also has some nice tide pools, where you can find small fish, baby eels,sea urchins, and shingle urchins. Watch out for Potuguese Man of War and Cone Shells! This is not a joke! Cone Shells have a poisonous spine, which can kill you! There is no known antidote. http://theora.com/images/Cone%20Shell.jpg If you're not sure, don't touch it!
Portuguese Man of War are also extremely poisonous.http://www.jaxshells.org/321a.jpg
The waves here are a little rougher then Big Makena, so snorkeling isn't very good, but it is a good place for swimming.
Updated Feb 20, 2011
'Ahihi-Kina'u Natural Area Reserve starts out where you can hike over the lava rocks along the ocean to get to the main hiking/walking trail that winds through trees and you can find little beaches or coves to stop and rest. This part of the trail is about 1/2 mile long maybe a little longer. Once that main trail ends you will enter into the lava field. We walked straight for quite aways and up a hill and kept walking, I began to get overheated as it was hot out and the rocks of course permeate with heat. I was ready to turn around and being quite whiney about it when my husband said "let's just hike up over here", as he head up a trail (vaguely marked with grey rock over the red rock so you could find your way back) he hiked towards the ocean and at the edge found about a 6 foot kind of like hole in the ground with a large tidepool with clear water. We decided to hike down in the hole to take a dip in the tide pool to cool off. What a wonderful experience! In the tidepool there was an opening, what I call natures window and since we were very high up on the cliff we had a view of the ocean below.....see my pictures! I am also going to add a travelogue to my Makena site with additional photos of this area.
Written Jan 15, 2006
The beautiful La Perouse Bay is located about 2 and a half miles south of Makena Beach. It's named after French explorer La Perouse, who sailed into the bay 1786. The bay is located right on the edge of the Kina'u Lava Field, within the Ahihi Kina'u Natural Area Reserve. Don't be expecting a day at the beach, as there is no beach here. The lava just runs straight into the ocean. The black lava rocks combined with the turquoise blue water, makes this one of the most beautiful spots on the island. The calm water makes this a perfect swimming spot for people of all ages. The bay is said to be one of the best diving and snorkeling spots on the island. Sometimes, the water is too murky to see anything, but when it does clear up, it's the perfect snorkeling spot for a first timer.
There are a few private beaches located on the bay, but as long as you stay in the water, it's not trespassing.
Don't go in the water barefoot, as there are sharp lava rocks and sea urchins.
This isn't the kind of place you spend the whole day, but if you're visiting Makena Beach, it's deffinately worth stopping for even a few minutes. There usually aren't that many people, so it's nice and quiet.
Updated Feb 20, 2011