Dreaming about your own piece of Hawaiian real estate? On Maui's south shore, four miles from the flashy Wailea resorts, lies Makena Beach—a roughly half-mile swath of soft white sand where you can spread out a blanket and stake a day's claim. Aptly nicknamed "Big Beach," Makena stretches between a forest of spiny kiawe trees and a beautiful but treacherous shore break beloved by skimboarders and bodysurfers. Swim or skim with caution, or take a short stroll to Pu'u Ola'i, a rust-colored volcanic summit sheltering Makena's north end. At 360 feet, the dormant cinder cone offers views of Kahoolawe and Molokini Islands, and makes a perfect perch for spotting sooty terns, red-tailed tropicbirds, and the occasional migrating whale. From here, a rocky path leads to "Little Beach," a secluded crescent popular with nude sunbathers and other free spirits, all here to live the dream.
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This article was first published in Spring 2018. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.