An amazing experience camping at Makua Beach on Oahu underneath a blanket of stars before waking up to swim with dolphins.
TEXT BY JACKSON GROVES // IMAGES BY JACKSON GROVES & JOHN SCHELLING
On the far west side of Oahu, Makua Beach lies at the foot of majestic mountains, hiding behind a wall of trees. Crystal clear waters wash upon long stretch of beach with a backdrop of Makua Valley and cliffs that seem to encapsulate the secluded beach.
The beauty of Makua Beach extends beyond its postcard features with overnight camping a common activity on its sands.
Star gazing at Makua Beach is incredible. Far away from the bright lights of Waikiki, countless stars can be marveled at for hours without fear of light pollution. I have never seen so many stars in my life as when I laid next to our bonfire looking up at what seemed like infinite sparkles on the dark night sky.
The secluded location and the lack of visibility from the road give Makua Beach a quiet, isolated atmosphere. Inside your tent at night, you will fall asleep to the rhythmic pounding of waves only steps away.
Waking up early is a must. It isn’t the sunrise that people are after at Makua Beach it is the sea life. Dolphins relax and play in the water early in the morning. Being in the water before seven offers the best chance of spotting a pod of playful Spinner Dolphins.
The water clarity at Makua Beach is phenomenal. There have been instances where I could see 40-50ft deep all the way down to the sea floor to spot a small shell. Granted that is way to far for me to dive and collect it but you can imagine with this sort of clarity it feels as if you are swimming in transparent water. In addition to dolphins, Humpback Whales often cruise off the coast, from November to April.
This is also a great beach to spot some Hawaiian Sea Turtles. We also wrote a guide about all the best places for swimming with Sea Turtles on Oahu.
The four tide pools are perfect for relaxing in a natural bath and a small beach cave that fills up with water, lifting people up and down with the flow of waves.
Makua Beach often has strong swells great for bodyboarding and playing in the waves. Be sure to check the conditions before you go for a swim as it can be quite a dangerous beach on the wrong day.
There is a strong cultural significance of Makua Valley for the Hawaiian community, as they believe it is where man was first created. Makua Valley runs from the beach to the mountains and is believed to be where spirits enter the after world.
Makua means “parent” in Hawaiian and was aptly named due to the beliefs surrounding the area.
Malama-Aina (take care of the land), please remember to take your trash and leave this beautiful location in a better state than when you arrived.