Big Beach, part of the three beaches that make up Makena State Park, gets it’s name for a reason … it’s big!. How big? Well, about 2/3 mile long from one end to the other. In fact, the Hawaiian name for this beach is Oneloa, which means long sands.
Located in South Maui at one of the southern most tips of the island, it is a gorgeous golden sand beach with a lot of room to stretch out and find our personal spot in the sand. You’ll see a lot of families spread out together and activities happening right on the sand like people tossing a frisbee, playing volleyball, stuff like that. The waves here on this part of the island can get fairly rough, so it’s not the ideal "learn to swim" beach, as evident by the mini sand cliffs where the waves crash up to and shape the sand. It’s a nice little walk from one end to the other if you have about an hour to spend.
As mentioned, Big Beach is a very big beach, so finding your spot in the sand or even isolating yourself from other people is a breeze. The walk from the first parking lot (there are two) was a little deceiving at first. The lot had quite a few cars in it, and since we arrived in the afternoon (around 3pm), we thought it would be a tight fit to find some of our own sand. Once you walk down the shaded path to the beach, however, you realize this beach is just as big as you see in the guidebooks, and all is well.
As with many of the beaches on South Maui, you get a nice view of Molokini from Big Beach. There is also a pretty large cliff on the northwest end of the beach, known as Pu’u Oal’i, and a number of trees and shaded areas nearby to escape the hot sun if you need to cool off.
One of the things that caught our attention in both the guidebooks and signs posted in the parking lot, there are numerous warnings about break-ins and thefts to cars parked while their owners/renters are enjoying the sandy beach. Sad, I know, but I guess it’s not as prevelant as it was in the past. Still, you’re advised to use caution and not leave any valuables in your automobile, whether in plain sight or not. We did see a little blue Prius with signs on the side saying "South Maui Volunteer Watch" or something like that driving through the parking lot, so there seem to be some measures being taken to help.