Majestic Makena’s Big Beach and the lava fields

Surfers checking out the waves at Makena's Big Beach in Maui, Hawaii |
Whenever the trade winds start to really howl, you can hear the lifeguards warning from their bullhorns to stay out of the water. The shore breaks can turn dangerous at the drop of a hat.

I swear, one warning was for me the other day. I was standing on the edge of the lava rock at our local beach, in search of sea turtles, when suddenly I was drenched. The waves took a swift turn for the worst with no warning, and suddenly, I heard the lifeguard yet again, warn the tacky tourists in their kind way to GET THE CRAP OUT.

I ran. 🙂

And every single time I hear the bullhorn broadcasts all the way to our condo, I wish I was at Makena’s Big Beach.

But not to swim!

Makena's Big Beach in Maui, Hawaii | funkyjunkinteriors
Makena Beach, or Big Beach, is notorious for its wild, dangerous waves. But you’d never know it by these pictures alone.

This beach is MASSIVE. It actually runs along the coast, connecting to other various beaches. But this guy is the biggest.

Big Beach is located about 25 minutes from Kihei, past Wailea. 

The first time we dropped in, we anticipated to swim. But we soon found that sitting on the sand was the only safe way to take this one in. So… best to go here if it isn’t so hot a swim is absolutely necessary. This is a spectator beach for those that aren’t knowledgeable.

Makena's Big Beach in Maui, Hawaii | funkyjunkinteriors
Makena's Big Beach in Maui, Hawaii | funkyjunkinteriors
It’s the craziest thing. First there’s all this sand, then the next moment it’s flooded. The tide is so vast here. Makes for some pretty impressive pictures.

The mountain range behind Makena's Big Beach in Maui, Hawaii | funkyjunkinteriors
Other than the miles and miles of the cleanest sand I’ve ever seen, the beach is backed by this volcanic mountain with shrubs and huge trees. Just imagine this running the entire length of the beach behind you.

Makena's Big Beach in Maui, Hawaii |
So if you’re facing this lava rock, to your right, the lava cliffs are really tall.

Lava formations behind Makena's Big Beach in Maui, Hawaii |
Like this. But taller.

Lava formations behind Makena's Big Beach in Maui, Hawaii |
Lava formations behind Makena's Big Beach in Maui, Hawaii |
Lava formations behind Makena's Big Beach in Maui, Hawaii |
And the growing vegetation on it is icing on the cake. It’s really gorgeous! And naturally, these pictures do not do this justice.

Lava formations behind Makena's Big Beach in Maui, Hawaii |
Just trust me when I say, this is a spectator beach you don’t want to miss.

I did take some videos of it, but with wifi sooooo sluggish here, they take forever to make. So I may add some once I return home. I’ll be sure and alert you if I do!

But here’s how dangerous it is. Last year, a local started screaming from the shore… it appears a wave caught her wrong. She made it to shore, but couldn’t pull herself completely out of the water. Beach goers ran to pull her out. Then I held an umbrella as a few other folks stood like a wall, protecting her from the sun and high winds until help could arrive. The lifeguard was off duty at the time.

This local that knew what she was doing broke her leg. Earlier that day, someone had fractured their spine.

The problem isn’t generally that you can’t pull yourself on shore though. The bigger issue is when the wave catches you, then pulls you out and under, then as you finally surface for air, it pounds you again before you have a chance to catch your breath, while pulling you out even more.

Scary stuff for newbies. Just gotta listen to the lifeguards. Unfortunately, many don’t.

The waves at Makena's Big Beach in Maui, Hawaii | funkyjunkinteriors
I wasn’t all that successful in capturing huge waves this given day. They came, but I by the time I ran out there, they were of course gone.

The waves at Makena's Big Beach in Maui, Hawaii | funkyjunkinteriors
It isn’t abnormal to see them 12 feet high… on a non stormy day. The above pic is about half that. Even so, those are too big for me!

Regardless, this beach is a great stop that is totally worthwhile to take in.

After the beach, if you keep following the road, it eventually ends. But what you see on the sides of the road near the end will startle you. You go from extreme, lush tropical growth to suddenly… just lava.

Lava fields beyond Kikei in Maui | funkyjunkinteriors
Lava fields beyond Kikei in Maui | funkyjunkinteriors
Our Jeep Cherokee rental driving through the lava fields beyond Kikei in Maui | funkyjunkinteriors
I love this drive for a couple of reasons…

It helps you better understand what Hawaii really is. It’s miraculous to realize, all the lush, tropical growth is growing on top of a lava base.

I also love the curvy, tight drive over here. Right before you hit the lava fields, you go through this impossibly beautiful roadway (where you can’t pull over to take pics!) that is one car wide, but curves around the most beautiful growth, and private beaches many locals frequent, edged with homes along the ocean.

Driving through the lava fields beyond Kikei in Maui | funkyjunkinteriors
Driving through the lava fields beyond Kikei in Maui | funkyjunkinteriors
Driving through the lava fields beyond Kikei in Maui | funkyjunkinteriors
Driving through the lava fields beyond Kikei in Maui | funkyjunkinteriors
Driving through the lava fields beyond Kikei in Maui | funkyjunkinteriors
For the brave, you can keep going until you reach a parking lot, but you’ll be wondering the whole pot holed road way there, ‘where can I turn around?!’ 

So here’s a few tips if you plan to make this Makena – lava field drive…

Choose a nice day if possible. 

You won’t know how deep the pot holes are if they are filled with water. Not a good plan for a low rider rental. (a reason we upgraded!)

Bring beach gear.

Actually, you should always bring beach gear wherever you go so you can spontaneously stop and enjoy! At the very least, always leave chairs in your trunk. But try out some of these beaches. They are so small and unique!

Go to the very end. At least once. 🙂

There are some stops along the way that are worth checking out, but if you go right to the end, you’ll come to a surfer beach with plenty of turn around room.

Consider upgrading your cheap rental

Just putting this out there, because if you rent the low riders, you really shouldn’t be driving underdeveloped roads.

Be SUPER curious when you drive through the Makena area

And by curious, I mean, take every road that leads toward the ocean to check things out. It’s the BEST way to find un-signed beaches and areas you hear about (many don’t have signs posted), quaint little churches (gonna show you my fav soon!), or basically just discover things on your own.

– – – – – 

In other news, the vacation must be working to a point. I walked in to get an impromptu pedicure, and was questioned like a local, because I apparently ‘looked so relaxed’. Who knew!

My son is on a health kick, so we aren’t indulging in all the things we did last year. At least we aren’t gaining weight this round… I hope! There sure is a LOT of romaine lettuce and chicken in our fridge…

I haven’t touched a thing DIY related. Honestly, it’s hard walking into thrift stores that won’t allow you to take pictures, or walking out with things that need paint when you aren’t stocked where you’re at. So I think I’m going to bring my treasures home, and make things with them there. Unless some brainstorm magically happens of course!

If nothing else, this trip has really encouraged me to take better care of myself once home. The dramatic scenery changes have triggered a need for change, which you’ll pick up on in some of my Instagram posts HERE. I’m not feeling as strong as I could be, and things hurt more (as we… age?), and with my son’s health kick, this is the time to roll with it. Just gotta say NO to what’s hurting me, and start living to our fullest potential. I’ve allowed tough circumstances to sway me away from… me. I’m putting ‘me’ back on the day planner… because feeling good feels so good!

(Ok, moving here to magic land would feel good too, but… yeah.)

And if that realization is all I come home with, I will have achieved what I came for.

Ever have a vacation trigger change in you?

Visit all posts of Hawaii 2016 HERE

And if curious for more, find ALL MAUI POSTS HERE over the last 3 years

Facebook Pinterest Twitter Instagram RSS

Subscribe to projects!

Categories: Travel
Tags: , , ,

10 thoughts on “Majestic Makena’s Big Beach and the lava fields

  1. I can’t fly anywhere due to altitude issues, so I’m living vicariously through your posts. Lot’s of helpful info. and beautiful pics. It’s so nice your son wants to be along and I hope the two of you have a great time…he’ll be gone soon enough and you’ll always have these memories. Aloha and be safe!

    • Aww, sorry to hear that Paula! I hope you are able to travel by land? One doesn’t need to go too far to have a whole new outlook on your surroundings!

      I am also hoping he will remember these trips for the rest of his life. I know I will!

  2. Love your sharing the terrain, truly beautiful picture taking. I thank you. One note: diets turn on starvation button so don’t work but healthily changes do work. Have your son check out John Gabriel on utube. I think he will dig the guy. Johns own weight issues & how he finally won the battle will be a priceless guide for him. The fall out will change you for the best too. Understanding our bodies is empowering. He is on FMTV lots (free for first month) (from Australia). Hugs, Ruth PS I am a senior so you are hug material-like a grand daughter to me.

  3. Oh how beautiful, some of the pictures of the beach don’t look real, they look more like paintings. IT really is paradise!
    So glad you are having such a wonderful vacation.

  4. Donna, I so love these posts. You show us a different world and take us to obscure places that not only bring information, but inspiration. And this is a time when we all need to be inspired.
    Blessings. Be well and be open to the guidance that is being sent your way.

  5. Sometimes a break (a long break) from the regular routine is needed to “refresh” one’s soul. I think God agrees with that because we feel so good after a short (or longer) change of venue. Your pictures are wonderful eye candy (lol). I can’t wait to see what your thrift shop purchases were and what you will do with them. Hopefully you will bring lots home with you to showcase later! Enjoy your time away from home – you will always have the memories of being in Hawaii with your son!

  6. I love sensing the awareness that you are being regenerated and refreshed, Donna! I can tell in your posts that there’s healing and strength building inside you! Thank you for sharing yourself with us! We (your readers) love you! <3

  7. Maui is my heaven, too. We moved over there for a year in 2013-14. I swam Makena but my son and his friend couldn’t manage it. My favorite beach is Makena Black Beach. I accidentally swam with sea turtles there when I was snorkeling and a group came in. I tried to get the heck outa there but when I reached the surf line, one turtle about landed in my lap. One drawback to this beach is the slobs who break glass all over. Each visit I got at least 1/2 a gallon picked up just by the parking lot. No bathrooms, no running water, no lifeguards but gorgeous snorkeling! I’d like to move back but won’t do condo or HOA again. Want to build a container home if I can find the right land and zoning. LOVE your pictures…….

  8. Sometimes the vastness of the beauty I see makes me stop and take inventory. The Smokey Mountains in Tennessee were one of those sites that took my breath away. Another was sitting on the side of the road with an overheated car looking into the vastness of forests down in a valley of Maryland…or was it Pennsylvania? {BTW…I made it to the next “oasis” where I could get water quite easily, so no worries…}

    We are lucky to be able to experience our smallness, tuck our troubles away momentarily, and feel what we are to the world and ourselves. Even though we are but a minute piece of dust in the scheme of things, we are still important, and we matter.

    Enjoy your stay!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *