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Beach Trip

By Kevin Wing
Co-Host, Catch a Wave: A Journey to California’s 10 Best Beaches

Kevin Wing(Editor’s Note: This monthly column about America’s best beaches and beach towns is written exclusively for AARisings by Kevin Wing, an Emmy Award-winning San Francisco Bay Area-based television journalist who hosts Catch a Wave: A Journey to California’s 10 Best Beaches, a television pilot for The Travel Channel. Kevin is also a feature reporter for the nationally syndicated LatinEyes, produced at KRON-TV Channel 4 in San Francisco, and performs voiceover work in the Bay Area. Where are we this month? Summer is only three months away, and we’re shifting into high gear with a visit to one of Hawaii’s best beaches: Makena Beach, on the island of Maui!)

Aloha, beachgoers! This month, Beach Trip takes you to Hawaii!!

One of Hawaii’s best-kept secrets is Makena Beach, on the island of Maui. I had an opportunity to visit this pristine, expansive patch of sand on the southern shores of Maui not too long ago (in fact, the photo you see of yours truly was taken on Makena Beach on a gorgeous, hot November day – that’s right, November!).

There are actually two beaches along the Makena coast: Little Beach, or Pu’u Ola’I – known for its clothing-optional status -- is situated in a beautiful bay a short climb over a bluff that separates it from its southerly neighbor, Big Beach.

Big Beach is more commonly known as Makena Beach, although it’s officially called Oneloa Beach. Of all of the beaches on the Hawaiian Islands, Makena Beach is one of the 50th state’s most beautiful strands of sand.

It has been a best-kept secret for a long time, but someone let the cat out of the bag in recent years, making Makena Beach an even more popular hot spot to hang out. Who could doubt anyone’s intention for loving this beach? With transparent waters and not a structure in sight, beachgoers and sunbathers will go out of their way to check this place out. I did. At my first visit to Maui, I stayed in Lahaina, which is nowhere close to Makena Beach. But the sandy gem was well worth the 90-minute drive from Lahaina.

Makena Beach is only two-thirds of a mile long and about 100 feet wide, and there’s plenty of spots in the sand to stake your claim, even on busy days. Sunbathers and beachgoers are not the only ones who love it here. Surfers and body boarders also clamor to this little stretch of paradise.

This is no surprise: recently, loyal readers of Hawaii Magazine named Makena Beach their number-one favorite beach destination.

The climate of Makena Beach is unique. This beach is sheltered from the regular trade winds, its weather tends to be dry and sunny most of the time. It’s also one of the last large beaches that’s undeveloped in Hawaii, making it quite a jewel. There are a few beachfront homes near the northern stretch of Makena Beach, near the bluff, but for the most part, foliage, large trees and vegetation sandwich the sand with the clear ocean waters.

As I mentioned earlier, the water along this beach is beautiful. It’s usually quite clear, with visibility often in excess of 100 feet. And, depending on when you go, the water temperature tends to be warm.

If you make Makena Beach a destination on your next visit to Maui, be sure to bring food and drink. Even though there are restrooms in the area, fresh water for drinking is not available. Several of Maui’s most popular resorts, including the Wailea Resort, are located about 10 minutes away from Makena Beach.

How to get to the beach: Just south of the Wailea Resort, drive south on Makena Alanui. It will end at a spur road, which you will take through the trees. There is a large parking lot near the north end of Makena Beach. A word of caution when you leave your car: don’t leave any valuables behind. You can also park on a stretch of unmarked road that parallels the beach. From there, it’s a short walk through the trees to the beach.

Next month from Beach Trip: From Hawaii and back to California we go. In April, come with us to San Francisco, our home base, for a trip to Baker Beach, where the Gateway to the West – the Golden Gate Bridge – meets the sands of the City by the Bay, undeniably one of the world’s most beautiful cities.

Countdown to summer: Three months and counting, and it will be summer! While we wait for the first opportunity to frolic on the beach in 90-degree heat, we can conjure up images of those nice stretches of sand baking under the sun. In the coming weeks, we’ll take you to Laguna Beach, one of southern California’s most scenic stretches of coastline. We’ll also take you to the tropical Florida Keys and the Sunshine State’s Vero Beach!

To learn more about the Catch a Wave television show and Kevin Wing, go to www.catchawavetv.com. You can email Kevin and the Catch a Wave crew at catchawavetvshow@aol.com.

Beach Trip. Where It’s Summertime Year Round.
Copyright 2006
All Rights Reserved
Kevin Wing / American Travelers Television
Issue 7 / March 2006

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Photo used by permission courtesy of Kevin Wing. Photo copyright by Kevin Wing.