The small beach at Makena Landing Park is a popular destination with both tourists and locals, although it’s not the sand that draws the crowd.
Makena Landing Park is known for its accessible and enjoyable snorkeling, plus the kayak tours that launch from the area.
Want to visit one of Maui’s best destinations for turtle spotting? Check out our guide, and plan your trip to Makena Landing Park.
Getting To Makena Landing Park
Makena Landing Park is a small section of sandy beach in Makena national park that opens up into a shallow and wide bay.
To access from Kihei or Wailea, follow Makena Alanui Road south, past Po’olenalena Beach.
Continue south until you reach the turning for Makena Road on the right, towards the sea.
Turn on to Makena Road, and follow until you reach the Makena Landing parking lot.
The beach is close to the lot, and you should be able to see it from the road.
There are a reasonable number of parking spaces, and abundant street parking.
Things To Enjoy At Makena Landing Park
A visit to Makena Landing Park is all about the water activities. It’s home to one of Maui’s most accessible coral reefs, making it a must-see destination for snorkelers and divers.
The beach itself may be small, but the bay is large, opening up to an underwater paradise that begs to be explored.
The small beach and shallow bay also makes Makena Landing a popular spot for kayaking and stand up paddleboarding.
Tours and lessons often run from the area, as the shallow launch is forgiving for beginners.
With coral so close to the shore, and an exciting coastline to follow in either direction, water-based tours are common at Makena Landing Park.
For sunbathers and swimmers, Makena Landing has slightly less to offer. As mentioned, the sandy beach itself is tiny, and can get crowded with snorkelers and kayakers.
The swimming is better, as the sea is typically calm and the gentle sandy slope makes entrance easy. During still mornings, this is a great spot to bring keiki for a paddle and a swim.
Put on your beach shoes and take a look at the rocky edges of Makena Landing, and you might find some tide pools to explore.
Can You Snorkel At Makena Landing Park?
The snorkeling at Makena Landing Park is exceptional, and this is one of your best chances to see the Hawaiian sea turtle in its natural habitat.
A turtle, or honu, encounter isn’t guaranteed, but your chances are really good.
The best snorkeling is further out, and heading to the north. This coast curves round and eventually leads you to Nahuna Point, and the popular dive destination 5 Graves.
Sea turtles are typically seen swimming and relaxing in the area, and the lava arches create a fascinating underwater landscape. Divers should bring their certification and head around this way.
Dive tours often operate at Makena Landing Park.
But it isn’t just experienced divers who can catch a glimpse of marine magic. Beginner snorkelers will also appreciate Makena Landing Park.
Thanks to the sloping and sandy entrance to the water, first timers can start exploring quickly.
And within the protection of the large bay you can spot the shallow reef that brings with it an abundance of marine life.
Can You Kayak At Makena Landing Park?
Yes, Makena Landing Park is a popular launch site for both kayaking and stand up paddleboarding.
Close to the road and with a gently sloping entry, many tour groups choose Makena Landing as their starting point for discovering the coast.
You can often find kayak rental in the area, operating from the paved park behind the beach itself.
As well as kayak tours, you’ll often see boats parked further out. These are typically diving tours, taking a look at 5 Graves and nearby Turtle Town.
Facilities At Makena Landing Park
In terms of facilities, Makena Landing Park has enough to keep you comfortable. There are both restrooms and showers set back from the beach, plus a barbecue area and picnic benches.
Although the proximity of the road means many visitors avoid lingering too long in the park itself, Makena Landing is an attractive place for a picnic.
Just keep out of the way of kayaks passing through.
Makena Landing Park is a good spot for beginner snorkelers, but please be aware that there are no lifeguards.
Only enter the water if you’re sure of the conditions, and keep an eye on the changing swells. Makena is pretty isolated, and when accidents occur, it’s hard to get help.
Anything Else To Know?
Mornings at Makena Landing Park tend to be calm, with still seas improving both visibility and safety. However, as with much of Maui, the winds pick up as the day goes on.
Afternoons tend to have choppier seas, swirling up the sands and significantly reducing visibility. Get there early to see Makena Landing at its finest.
The summer swells can also cause problems for snorkelers. Over the summer months, the waves increase and Makena Landing can suffer from rough seas.
Kayaking, diving, and snorkeling is best avoided during these conditions.
The wildlife at Makena Landing Park is fascinating, not only because there’s so much of it, but because it’s so close to the shore.
But to quote many parents: look with your eyes, not with your hands. To preserve the diversity of the ocean, we all have to do our part and avoid interacting with wildlife in potentially harmful ways.
That means staying hands off!
The Best Snorkeling In Makena?
The real beauty of Makena Landing Park is its ease. Entrance is quick on the gently sloping sands, and the wildlife surrounds you almost as soon as you step in the water.
Beginners will be happy hugging the shoreline, while experienced divers can head to the landscapes further out. And kayakers and paddleboarders will love the roadside access.
Plus, there are facilities waiting when you leave the water. Not bad, for a beach this small!