Makua Beach is one of the most spectacular beaches on Oahu with camping activities, amazing snorkeling, turtles, dolphins and often big waves!
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 a 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. The rules are commonly changing because campers often leave trash or disrespect the region. When local authorities get tired of these disrespectful visitors they simply keep the gates locked. If Makua Beach is open for camping respect the region and keep in mind if you don’t do the right thing others after you will never be able to enjoy the same privileges. Pack everything out and act responsibly.
Makua Beach camping can be great fun with lots of little camp spots nestled amongst the bushes. On a weekend there is often lots of small fires and groups hanging out and enjoying the atmosphere and the stars. The sunset and sunrise are both epic at Makua but the sunset, in particular, is outstanding as the coastline faces west where the sun sets.
IN THE WATER AT MAKUA BEACH -DOLPHINS, TURTLES, WAVES
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 too 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.
It’s quite common to swim with dolphins at Makua Beach but they often are out quite deep and unless you are a good swimmer you may just hear them while you are underwater. It is also only allowed for them to approach you so it is prohibited to swim after or chase them.
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 at Makua Beach. I 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.
MAKUA VALLEY CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE
It’s important to respect every site on Oahu in Hawaii but even more so at Makua Beach and Makua Valley. This region holds important cultural significance for the Hawaiian Community. It’s more than just a beautiful beach so keep that in mind with how you behave, how you clean up and the level of respect you show to others and the community.
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 afterworld.
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.
WHERE IS MAKUA BEACH
Makua Beach is in the very west side of Oahu and takes about 1.5 hours to reach from Honolulu. I’ve pinned the location on the map below. It’s pretty much the second last beach before the road runs out with Yokohama being the very last beach.
Where to stay on Oahu
Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort (Overall Favorite): In the heart of Waikiki, this high-end resort is right on the beach. Luxury rooms overlooking the beach, a private lagoon and a free fireworks and dance performance show.
Sheraton Waikiki (Luxury): A luxury resort with the most amazing infinity pool on the island, which overlooks the beach. The bar and nightclub at the Sheraton is a great place to relax after a long day of island adventures.
Ewa Hotel Waikiki: (Value): Hotels in Waikiki can be expensive. Deciding where to stay on Oahu can be difficult if you don’t have much cash. Luckily, there is an accommodation option on the edge of Waikiki that is excellent value.
Waikiki Beachside Hostel (Budget Choice): A budget alternative, which is still in an amazing location. Walking distance to Waikiki beach and a central location to base yourself for a week of adventures.
Disney Aulani Resort (Family Choice): This is a resort your kids will never forget. It honestly feels like a theme park at times with just how many pools and activities are available. If you can afford it, this is the #1 place to stay for families on Oahu.
MORE OAHU BLOG POSTS
I lived on Oahu for two years and loved adventuring from the beaches to the mountains to the waterfalls! These are my most popular blog post and guides from the beautiful island of Oahu to help you plan your trip!
What to pack for Hawaii: THE HAWAII PACKING LIST: WHAT TO PACK AND WHY
A helpful guide to choosing accommodation: WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU: WHICH REGION IS BEST FOR YOU?
Most epic hike on Oahu: THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN OAHU, HAWAII: UPDATED 2018
The best Waterfalls: 11 AMAZING WATERFALLS ON OAHU, HAWAII
Ultimate Cliff Jumping Guide: 11 BEST CLIFF JUMPING SPOTS ON OAHU, HAWAII
Guide to Swimming with Sea Turtles: WHERE TO SEE TURTLES ON OAHU, HAWAII
The Best Hikes on Oahu: 10 BEST HIKES ON OAHU, HAWAII
My favorite experience on Oahu: AMAZING DOORS OFF HELICOPTER TOUR OF OAHU, HAWAII
The Ultimate Guide to Oahu: 80 THINGS TO DO ON OAHU – THE BUCKET LIST