Monday, June 29, 2009

Big & Beautiful

The two large parking lots at Makena State Park's "Big Beach" fill up on most days, but surf-and-sun lovers have plenty of room to spread out along its nearly mile-long, deep swath of sand. A mild shorebreak and enticing offshore view of Kaho'olawe island add to the charm. Inland is a grove of beach trees and the high-rising slopes of Haleakala at Ulupalakua Ranch. Developers have been lusting after this place (a few miles south of ritzy Wailea) but so far locals have slowed down the inevitable.

Next to Big Beach, reachable by a short trail over a point, is Little Beach, which attracts dolphins who apparently like to gawk at the hoard of nude sunbathers carpeting the sands with their beach towels. (Nudity is prohibited on all Hawaiian beaches, but so is speeding on California freeways.)

Next to Little Beach—access is via a dirt road through kiawe trees—is Oneuli (Black Sand) Beach, where snorkelers can easily swim from shore to check out a spot that is the destination for commercial tours. Rising above Oneuli Beach is Pu'u Olai, a 350-foot-high volcanic cone that affords a panorama of Maui's "Gold Coast." The trail is a bit of a scramble, but not dangerous. See page 33 of Maui Trailblazer.