Makapu'u Beach Park

4.5 stars from 8 reviews
Address 41-202 Kalanianaole Hwy, Waimanalo, HI 96795
Great for advanced body surfing and boogie boarding.

• Facilities: Bathrooms • Facilities: Lifeguard
• Facilities: Picnic Tables • Sand Type: Regular
• Parking: Poor / Few • Good For: Bodysurfing
• Good For: Boogie Boarding • Good For: Sunrises

Full Description
Makapu'u Beach Park is located in the Waimanalo area on the east side of O'ahu, across the street from Sea Life Park Hawaii. When you first pull into the parking lot here you may be wondering if there is any actual sandy beach at all here, because it's hard to see from the lot at first, but it's there!

During the week it should be easy to park, but if this place gets busy there aren't tons of spots to choose from. Once parked, walk towards the southeast tip of the parking lot (on your right, towards the ocean) and you'll see the beach down the path that is in front of you.

It's a nice beach with plenty of sand but unless the ocean is super calm you probably won't want to go in the water here. The shorebreak here can be very intense, much like nearby Sandy Beach (Koko Head Park), when the ocean is anything more than super calm.

If you see the red flags and signs warning you to stay out of the water then do what they say. If you don't see any signs it would be wise to talk with the lifeguards first before going in. The southern end is the best bet here since the northern bits are quite rocky.

If the ocean is really angry stay far back and just enjoy the show. This is a great beach for advanced level body surfing and boogie boarding, but only if you have the skills to survive.

Matt A
Joined: Feb 2013
Reviews: 803
Likes Received: 111
An incredible beach even if you aren't planning to swim. The views are amazing but the waves can be pretty awesome too. When the waves are coming in just sit back and watch the pros do their thing.
Ayzhia W
Joined: Mar 2017
Reviews: 1
Likes Received: 0
This beach was nice and sunny. It had a perfect view, but there was very little parking and to get to the beach from where you parked was dangerous because you had to walk on the side of the road to get there. The beach itself was awesome! Just make sure you read the signs that are posted by the lifeguards instead of overlooking them.
Laura W
Joined: Nov 2016
Reviews: 35
Likes Received: 1
Beautiful spot, awesome place to see surfers playing in the water. Absolutely breathtaking views of the oceans and mountains meeting.
Joined: Apr 2016
Reviews: 237
Likes Received: 33
We visited this Beach on our last trip to Oahu. Very beautiful beach however looking out on the smaller islands, it was a bit hazy. It looked like a nice place to just sit on the beach just relax for the day and not be cramped. We will try to go to this beach the next time we visit.
Tom T
Joined: Sep 2013
Reviews: 579
Likes Received: 33
A nearly perfect Hawaiian beach. Breathtaking views of Rabbit Island, fun surf for boogie boarding or surfing, and majestic Ko'olau Mountains behind you. The beach is large, and it's pretty popular - not exactly a hidden beach. You can see the Makapu'u Point Lighthouse off on the cliff. Restrooms, showers, Lifeguards included for free!! What's not to like? Bring your camera, boogie board, towel, and snacks. Great beach to spend the day. Highly Recommended.
Joined: Mar 2016
Reviews: 9
Likes Received: 1
Beautiful beach! Rabbit Island in the background. Love going there.
Heather M
Joined: Mar 2016
Reviews: 57
Likes Received: 8
We typically stay in Waikiki our first night on Oahu, then drive up the coast to the North Shore to our rental the following day. A quick stop at Makapu'u Beach Park is a must for us! It's not too far outside of Waikiki and is a beautiful area. There are great photo opportunities here. Whenever possible, it's best to go on a weekday -- it's much less crowded. Don't even think about trying to go over a holiday/three day weekend. The beach is crowded, parking is nearly non-existent, and the traffic is horrible!
Stephen F
Joined: Jul 2015
Reviews: 1
Likes Received: 1
Makapu'u Beach is a beautiful place to take your family. It is definitely not a swimming beach and, if you're with family, enjoy the beauty on the dry sand. Lifeguards use a phrase, "stay off the wet sand." For newcomers, the waves and current can be confusing. Waves come in sets, then there is a calm moment before the next set. If someone ventures to the water's edge between the sets, he can assume the surf is calm. Once the first wave of a set comes in, it can literally knock someone down and send water hundreds of feet up on the beach. When the wave recedes, it then takes the person out to sea, only to be hit by the next wave coming in.

Personally, I have seen average tourists get sucked out. They try to fight the surf and get hurt by the continuing waves in that set. I've seen a broken nose, collarbone, a broken neck and a drowning. Enough of the danger. Stay way up on the beach and enjoy! The Makapu'u lighthouse looks like you want a lighthouse to look like. Built in 1909, its view from being perched on a 500 foot cliff, shows Makapu'u Beach, the Molokai Channel and several distant islands. The small island off Makapu'u Beach is called Rabbit Island. No one visits there. I heard, but have not confirmed, it was used for target practice for bombers during WW II.

If you are a bodyboarder, you won't find a better place to surf than Makapu'u in the summer. You have to know what you're doing, but you are in for long rides in deep water. Wiping out and hitting the ocean floor is not in the cards, like it is at Sandy Beach nearby.

What I did with my family was take the kids to Sea Life Park across the road. It is wonderful. It is sort of like Sea World but without the long lines and long walks. Once done there, go to Makapu'u Beach. Your kids will love the sand there and will sleep all the way back to your hotel.
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