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Makena
Makena

Makena

The Basics

Although Makena is only a 10-minute drive from the mega-resorts of nearby Wailea, it retains a rural charm. Big Beach, located within Makena Beach State Park, is one of the few undeveloped stretches of Maui coastline, while nearby Little Beach serves as the island’s clothing-optional hangout.

Head to the waters of Keone’o’io off the coast of Makena for excellent snorkeling and the chance to spot spinner dolphins, or join a kayaking tour on Makena Bay where you’ll see green sea turtles swimming through a protected volcanic cove beneath the shadow of the West Maui Mountains. Most kayaking excursions include time for snorkeling as well.

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Turtle Reef Kayak Tour of Makena
Turtle Reef Kayak Tour of Makena
star-4.5
$91.40 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Couple kayak adventure
The price was right and for sure the best part was our guide John! Dang if I can remember his last name, sorry John. He was very knowledgeable and was genuinely happy to be there teaching and guiding us tourist. He was fantastic! If your a couple or even just single, book a tour, you won’t regret it.
Trisha_N, Oct 2021

Recent reviews from experiences in Maui

star-5
Excellent kayak/turtle tour
John, Sep 2021
Turtle Reef Kayak Tour of Makena
Scuba Steve made it fun and very enjoyable he’s an excellent guide we saw plenty of turtles at the cleaning site
star-5
Amazing Experience
Bernard_O, Aug 2021
Turtle Reef Kayak Tour of Makena
John Hess, our instructor/guide was simply awesome! He took the time to clearly explain the importance of paying attention to his safety instructions and to respect the ocean. This allowed us to have a much more enjoyable and relaxed experience kayaking and snorkeling amongst the turtles, fishes, and abundant sea life. My wife and I now want to continue with this type of activity when we return home to San Diego CA. Thank you John for this amazing experience.
star-5
Beautiful experience for...
Debra_O, Oct 2021
Maui South Shore Premier Kayak and Snorkel Tour from Makena Beach
Beautiful experience for our 50th anniversary trip to Maui. Jake was wonderful, informative, kind, and helpful ensuring a wonderful experience.
star-5
Turtles, kayaking and snorting oh my!
Patrick_C, Sep 2021
Turtle Reef Kayak Tour of Makena
Jake is fun and his knowledge and experience was perfect! We kayaked out from Makena Landing and snorkeled with turtles. We felt safe and completely enjoyed our excursion.
star-5
Couple kayak adventure
Trisha_N, Oct 2021
Turtle Reef Kayak Tour of Makena
The price was right and for sure the best part was our guide John! Dang if I can remember his last name, sorry John. He was very knowledgeable and was genuinely happy to be there teaching and guiding us tourist. He was fantastic! If your a couple or even just single, book a tour, you won’t regret it.
star-5
Great experience :)
Gwynne_S, Oct 2021
Turtle Reef Kayak Tour of Makena
Steve was a great guide who did a good job juggling various needs of the overall group. We all enjoyed swimming with turtles and seeing lots of other neat fish (and even an octopus too). He got some great pics and videos that we look forward to seeing.
star-5
Fun!
Windi_S, Aug 2021
Maui South Shore Premier Kayak and Snorkel Tour from Makena Beach
Jake was a great tour guide. Good local facts and very personable. He was professional And knowledgeable. Felt safe.
star-4
Guide was very...
Marius_P, Sep 2021
Turtle Reef Kayak Tour of Makena
Guide was very informative and provided excellent assistance to first timers so that they were able to enjoy the full experience.
star-5
Laid back, and really fun experience!
Kellie_S, Sep 2021
Turtle Reef Kayak Tour of Makena
Really great experience, very knowledgeable guide! We were able to see sea turtles and different kinds of fish that he was able to tell us about each, in one of the caves a small shark was hiding so if we wanted we could dive down and see the shark- the guide explained exactly what to do and he shared a little in on free diving. very fun, would definitely recommend!
star-5
Kayak with Dolphins
Amanda_T, Sep 2021
Turtle Reef Kayak Tour of Makena
Had the most amazing trip with my husband and 2 other couples. Our tour guide John was AMAZING! We got to kayak with dolphins, snorkel with a turtle. John told us so many great stories and taught us so much. Loved everything about the experience.
star-5
We enjoyed the snorkeling portion the...
Stephen L T, Apr 2016
4 Hour Makena Whale Watch Tour
We enjoyed the snorkeling portion the best with close encounters with a number of sea turtles allowing us to share their part of paradise.
star-5
Swimming with turtles
dhara, Sep 2021
Turtle Reef Kayak Tour of Makena
Great experience. Saw 3 turtles, fishes and coral reef. Jack made the trip really fun, with good stories, jokes and snacks on the way back. Would certainly do it again! Mahalo

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Makena makes an excellent base for adventure travelers and those who prefer a more rural setting.

  • Don’t forget to bring sunscreen and a change of clothes on snorkeling and kayaking tours.

  • Consider bringing a waterproof camera to document your Makena adventures.

  • Nudity is prohibited within the state park, even though Little Beach is frequently used for this purpose.

  • Be careful when swimming at Big Beach, as the current can be deceptively strong.

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How to Get There

Makena is located off the Piilani Highway, south of Lahaina. The easiest way to get there is to drive; there’s almost always plenty of free parking.

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Trip ideas


When to Get There

There isn’t really a bad time to visit Makena, as the weather tends to be sunny throughout the year. Head out early if you plan to snorkel in popular spots like Turtle Town, and spend the hotter afternoon hours cooling off at an area beach.

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Maui’s Only Black Sand Beach

Though Big Beach gets the lion’s share of attention in Makena, the area is also home to Maui’s only black sand beach, Oneuli Beach. An offshore reef and lava rocks create an ideal habitat for fish, sea turtles, eels, and even the occasional shark, so don’t forget to bring snorkeling gear.

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