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Makua Beach On Oahu, Hawaii: Complete Guide


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Elladine Nicholson



Welcome to Makua Beach on the stunning island of Oahu, Hawaii. Nestled along the breathtaking coastline, Makua Beach is a true paradise for beach lovers and nature enthusiasts. With its golden sandy shores, crystal clear turquoise waters, and lush tropical surroundings, this beach offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.


Makua Beach, also known as Tunnels Beach, is located on the northwest coast of Oahu. Famous for its stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around the world. Whether you are seeking a peaceful spot to relax or yearn for exciting water activities, Makua Beach has something for everyone.


As you step onto the soft sand, you will be greeted by the gentle sound of waves crashing onto the shore. The picturesque backdrop of towering cliffs and verdant vegetation creates a serene atmosphere that is perfect for unwinding and taking in the natural beauty that surrounds you.


With its secluded location away from the major tourist areas, Makua Beach offers a more peaceful and intimate beach experience. You can truly immerse yourself in nature and enjoy a sense of tranquility that is hard to find elsewhere.


Whether you are a sunbather, a swimmer, a snorkeler, or an outdoor adventurer, Makua Beach has something for you. The calm and clear waters provide excellent conditions for swimming and snorkeling, allowing you to explore the vibrant underwater world teeming with colorful fish and vibrant coral reefs.


For those seeking an adrenaline rush, Makua Beach is also a popular destination for surfing and bodyboarding. The consistent waves and favorable weather conditions make it an ideal spot for riders of all skill levels.


As you stroll along the shoreline, you may be lucky enough to spot a Hawaiian green sea turtle or even a pod of dolphins frolicking in the distance. The diverse marine life and the natural wonders of Makua Beach make it an incredible destination for wildlife enthusiasts.


In the following sections, we will guide you through the various aspects of visiting Makua Beach, including how to get there, facilities available, activities to enjoy, safety tips, and nearby attractions. So, pack your bags, put on your sun hat, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure at Makua Beach on Oahu, Hawaii.


Location of Makua Beach

Makua Beach is located on the northwest coast of the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Situated in the serene Waianae region, it boasts stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding natural beauty.


The beach is nestled between the towering Waianae Mountains and the azure blue waters of the Pacific. Its geographical location offers a picturesque setting and a sense of seclusion from the more popular tourist areas on the island.


To access Makua Beach, you will need to travel along Farrington Highway, also known as Route 93. The highway winds through the Waianae Coast, providing breathtaking views of the coastline and the lush green mountains along the way.


As you approach Makua Beach, you will see a marked entrance with signs indicating the beach access point. The entrance is easy to spot and provides clear directions to the parking area.


Makua Beach is situated approximately 33 miles northwest of the bustling city of Honolulu, which is the capital of Hawaii. The drive from Honolulu to Makua Beach takes approximately one hour, depending on traffic conditions.


While Makua Beach is relatively remote and less crowded compared to other beaches on Oahu, its secluded location offers a sense of tranquility and natural beauty that is worth the drive.


It is important to note that Makua Beach is located within the jurisdiction of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, so it is essential to respect the rules and regulations in place to preserve and protect this pristine environment.


Now that you know where Makua Beach is located, let’s explore how to get there and the options available for parking.


Getting to Makua Beach

Getting to Makua Beach is an adventure in itself, as it requires a scenic drive along the coast of Oahu. Whether you are driving from the airport or from the center of Honolulu, there are several routes you can take to reach this beautiful beach.


If you are coming from the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, the most direct route to Makua Beach is via the H-1 and Farrington Highway (Route 93). From the airport, take the H-1 West towards Waianae. Continue on the H-1 until you reach the Farrington Highway exit. Take the exit and follow the signs for Farrington Highway (Route 93) towards Waianae. Follow the scenic coastline until you arrive at Makua Beach.


If you are staying in downtown Honolulu, you can also take the H-1 West towards Waianae. Follow the same directions as above to reach Makua Beach. The drive from downtown Honolulu to Makua Beach takes approximately one hour, depending on traffic conditions.


As you drive along Farrington Highway, you will be treated to breathtaking views of the coastline and the majestic Waianae Mountains. The scenic drive adds to the overall experience and sets the tone for a relaxing day at the beach.


It is important to note that there are no public transportation options that directly go to Makua Beach. Therefore, it is recommended to have your own vehicle or arrange for a rental car to ensure easy and convenient access to the beach.


Once you arrive at the entrance marked for Makua Beach, you will find a parking area available. It is important to follow any parking regulations and instructions to ensure a smooth and hassle-free visit. Note that parking spaces may be limited, especially during peak hours and weekends, so it is advisable to arrive early.


Now that you know how to get to Makua Beach, let’s explore the parking facilities available at the beach.


Parking at Makua Beach

Parking at Makua Beach is available for visitors, providing convenient access to this beautiful coastal destination. As you arrive at the beach entrance, you will find a designated parking area where you can safely park your vehicle.


It is important to note that the parking area at Makua Beach is limited, especially during peak hours and weekends. Therefore, it is advisable to arrive early to secure a parking space. If the parking lot is full, you may need to find alternative parking options nearby or consider visiting during off-peak hours to increase your chances of finding a spot.


The parking regulations at Makua Beach are enforced, and it is essential to abide by them to ensure a smooth and enjoyable visit. Be sure to park within the designated areas and avoid blocking any access points or emergency routes. Pay attention to any signage or instructions provided to avoid any inconveniences or potential fines.


It is also recommended to take any valuables with you or store them out of sight within your vehicle to ensure their safety. While Makua Beach is generally a safe destination, it is always wise to take precautions and not leave any items of value visible in your car.


As an alternative to driving, some visitors opt to hire a taxi or rideshare service to reach Makua Beach. However, it is important to note that transportation services may be limited in the area, so it is always best to plan ahead and ensure you have a reliable means of getting back to your accommodation.


Now that you know about the parking facilities at Makua Beach, let’s explore the beach facilities and amenities available for visitors.


Beach Facilities

Makua Beach offers a range of facilities to enhance your visit and ensure a comfortable and enjoyable beach experience. While the beach retains its natural beauty and serenity, it provides essential amenities to cater to the needs of visitors.


One of the notable features of Makua Beach is its clean and well-maintained restroom facilities. These facilities are conveniently located near the parking area and provide a hygienic option for visitors to freshen up or use the facilities during their time at the beach.


In addition to restrooms, Makua Beach also offers picnic tables and shaded areas where you can relax and enjoy a meal or snacks with friends and family. These picnic areas provide a great spot to take a break from the sun and enjoy a leisurely lunch while taking in the stunning views of the beach.


It is important to note that while Makua Beach does have some picnic facilities, it is always a good idea to come prepared with your own food and beverages. There might not be any food vendors or restaurants on-site, so bringing your own provisions ensures that you have everything you need for a day at the beach.


When it comes to water activities, Makua Beach provides outdoor showers where you can rinse off the sand and saltwater after a swim or snorkeling session. These showers are a convenient way to freshen up before heading back to your car or continuing your beach activities.


It is worth mentioning that Makua Beach is a remote and secluded location, and there are no lifeguards on duty. Therefore, it is important to exercise caution and be aware of your swimming abilities. It is advisable to swim in designated areas, especially if you are not an experienced swimmer.


Now that you know about the facilities available at Makua Beach, let’s dive into the exciting water activities you can enjoy during your visit.


Swimming and Snorkeling at Makua Beach

Makua Beach offers a stunning underwater world, making it an ideal destination for swimming and snorkeling enthusiasts. The crystal-clear turquoise waters provide excellent visibility, allowing you to explore the vibrant marine life and beautiful coral reefs that thrive in the area.


Whether you are a beginner or an experienced swimmer, Makua Beach offers a variety of swimming options. The calm and relatively gentle waves make it a great spot for leisurely swims and wading in the shallows. The water is refreshing and inviting, perfect for cooling off on a warm day.


For those looking to venture further, Makua Beach also has areas that are suitable for more experienced swimmers. However, it is important to be aware of any currents or changing conditions and to exercise caution while swimming in deeper waters. It is always a good idea to swim with a buddy and stay within your comfort zone.


Snorkeling is a popular activity at Makua Beach, thanks to its diverse marine ecosystem. Grab your snorkel gear and venture beneath the surface to discover a vibrant world of colorful fish, coral formations, and other underwater species. The calm and clear waters make it easy to observe the marine life in their natural habitat.


If you do not have your snorkeling gear, don’t worry! There are several rental shops available in nearby towns where you can rent snorkels, masks, and fins. Just make sure to bring along a towel and some sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun’s rays.


While snorkeling, be mindful of the reef and other underwater organisms. Avoid standing or touching the coral to prevent damage and preserve the delicate ecosystem. Snorkeling in a responsible and respectful manner ensures that future visitors can also enjoy the incredible beauty of Makua Beach’s underwater world.


Whether you choose to swim or snorkel at Makua Beach, always prioritize safety. Keep an eye on the weather conditions and be aware of your own swimming capabilities. If in doubt, it is best to stick to shallow waters or seek advice from local experts.


Now that you know about the swimming and snorkeling opportunities at Makua Beach, let’s explore the option of camping for those who wish to extend their stay.


Camping at Makua Beach

If you’re looking for an immersive experience and want to spend more time in the stunning surroundings of Makua Beach, camping is a fantastic option. Makua Beach offers camping facilities that allow you to enjoy the natural beauty of the beach while spending the night under the starry Hawaiian sky.


However, it is important to note that camping at Makua Beach requires a permit from the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. These permits can be obtained in advance online or at designated permit offices. It is recommended to secure your permit well in advance, as availability may be limited.


Once you have obtained your permit, you can set up your campsite at one of the designated camping areas. Makua Beach offers both tent camping and RV camping options, so you can choose the accommodation that best suits your preferences.


While camping, it is crucial to follow the rules and regulations set by the Department of Land and Natural Resources to ensure the preservation of the beach and surrounding environment. This includes proper waste disposal, respecting quiet hours, and adhering to any fire regulations in place.


While camping at Makua Beach, you will have the opportunity to wake up to the sound of waves crashing on the shore and the breathtaking views of the ocean. The serene setting and the peaceful atmosphere make it a truly memorable experience.


Keep in mind that camping at Makua Beach is a unique adventure, but it also means being prepared for the elements. Bring along all the necessary camping gear, including a sturdy tent, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, and sufficient food and water supplies. It is also advisable to pack insect repellent and sun protection to ensure your comfort during your stay.


Whether you choose to camp for one night or extend your stay for several days, Makua Beach offers a memorable camping experience surrounded by natural beauty.


Now let’s take a closer look at the fascinating wildlife that can be spotted at Makua Beach.


Wildlife at Makua Beach

Makua Beach is not only a paradise for beachgoers but also home to a diverse range of wildlife. From marine creatures to land-dwelling animals, the beach and its surrounding areas offer a unique opportunity to observe and appreciate Hawaii’s rich biodiversity.


One of the most magnificent sights at Makua Beach is the presence of Hawaiian green sea turtles, also known as honu. These gentle creatures can often be seen basking in the sun on the beach or gracefully swimming in the crystal-clear waters. It is important to observe these turtles from a respectful distance and avoid disturbing them in their natural habitat.


In addition to sea turtles, Makua Beach is also known for its vibrant marine life. Snorkelers and divers will have the chance to encounter a variety of fish species, including colorful parrotfish, unicornfish, and butterflyfish. The coral reefs provide a bustling ecosystem, with the vibrant colors and intricate formations adding to the underwater spectacle.


The surrounding cliffs and mountains are home to various bird species, making Makua Beach a birdwatcher’s paradise. Keep an eye out for the soaring frigatebirds, the diminutive fairy terns, or the graceful red-footed boobies that frequent the area. The sight of these birds flying overhead against the backdrop of the ocean is truly awe-inspiring.


For nature enthusiasts, exploring the shoreline and nearby trails may reveal glimpses of land-dwelling animals. Look out for the Hawaiian monk seals, which occasionally make appearances on the beach. These endangered creatures are a rare sight and should be observed from a safe distance to avoid disturbing them.


It’s important to remember that Makua Beach is a protected area, and it is our responsibility to respect and preserve the natural habitat of these wildlife species. Avoid leaving any trash or food scraps behind, as it can be harmful to the animals and disrupt their natural behaviors.


By appreciating and observing the wildlife at Makua Beach from a respectful distance, we can contribute to the conservation efforts and ensure that future generations can also enjoy the beauty of these incredible creatures.


Now that we’ve explored the wildlife at Makua Beach, let’s move on to important safety tips to keep in mind during your visit.


Safety Tips for Visiting Makua Beach

While Makua Beach is a breathtaking destination, it’s important to prioritize safety during your visit. Here are some essential safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Swim with caution: Although the waters at Makua Beach are generally calm, it’s always wise to swim within your abilities. Be mindful of changing tides and currents, especially if you are not a confident swimmer. If in doubt, stick to shallow areas and always swim with a buddy.
  2. Respect the wildlife: Makua Beach is home to a variety of wildlife, including sea turtles and monk seals. When encountering these animals, maintain a respectful distance and avoid any attempts to touch or disturb them. Remember, they are protected species, and it is our responsibility to help preserve their natural habitat.
  3. Wear sunscreen: Protect your skin from the strong Hawaiian sun by applying sunscreen regularly, especially if you plan on spending extended periods on the beach. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF and reapply according to the product instructions.
  4. Stay hydrated: Hawaii’s tropical climate can lead to dehydration, especially during outdoor activities. Carry an adequate supply of water with you and drink regularly to stay hydrated. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption, as it can contribute to dehydration.
  5. Be cautious of rough terrain: The terrain surrounding Makua Beach can be rugged, with rocky areas and uneven surfaces. Use caution when walking or hiking in these areas, wear appropriate footwear, and watch your step to prevent injuries.
  6. Pack essential items: Bring essentials such as a first aid kit, insect repellent, and a hat to protect yourself from potential injuries and sunburn. Additionally, bring along any medications you may require and a beach towel or mat for your comfort.
  7. Check weather conditions: Keep an eye on weather forecasts before heading to Makua Beach. High winds or rough waves can make swimming and other activities dangerous. If unfavorable weather conditions arise, consider postponing your visit to ensure your safety.
  8. Be mindful of leaving valuables unattended: While Makua Beach is generally a safe destination, it’s always wise to take precautions with your belongings. Avoid leaving valuables unattended on the beach and keep them safely stored or hidden within your vehicle.
  9. Follow local guidelines: Respect any signage or instructions provided at Makua Beach. This includes rules related to parking, camping, and the usage of facilities. Adhering to these guidelines ensures a smooth and enjoyable experience for all visitors.

By keeping these safety tips in mind while visiting Makua Beach, you can have a memorable and worry-free experience in this stunning Hawaiian destination.


Next, let’s explore some nearby attractions that you may want to visit during your time on Oahu.


Nearby Attractions

While Makua Beach is a captivating destination in itself, there are also several nearby attractions that you might want to explore during your visit to Oahu. Here are some notable attractions that are within a short distance from Makua Beach:

  1. Ka’ena Point State Park: Located at the westernmost tip of Oahu, Ka’ena Point State Park is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts. The park offers stunning coastal views, hiking trails, and the opportunity to spot seabirds and Hawaiian monk seals.
  2. Makaha Valley: Just a short drive from Makua Beach, Makaha Valley is known for its picturesque beauty and scenic drives. Explore the lush landscapes, admire the rugged mountains, and discover hidden waterfalls along the way.
  3. Hawaiian Railway Society: If you have an interest in history, a visit to the Hawaiian Railway Society is a treat. Take a ride on a historic train and learn about the rich railroad history of Oahu. The railway offers scenic tours, providing a unique perspective on the island’s landscapes.
  4. Pacific Tsunami Museum: For those intrigued by natural disasters and Hawaii’s history, the Pacific Tsunami Museum in Hilo is a worthwhile visit. Learn about the devastating impact of tsunamis on Hawaii and the efforts to educate and prepare communities for future events.
  5. Dole Plantation: Experience the vibrant agricultural heritage of Hawaii at Dole Plantation. Take a tour of the pineapple plantation, explore the garden maze, and indulge in delicious pineapple treats. Don’t forget to take home some freshly harvested pineapples as souvenirs.
  6. Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorial: A visit to Oahu is incomplete without paying homage to the history and sacrifices of Pearl Harbor. Take a tour of the USS Arizona Memorial, learn about the events of December 7, 1941, and pay your respects to the fallen servicemen.

These are just a few of the many attractions that are within reach of Makua Beach. Whether you’re interested in natural beauty, history, or cultural experiences, Oahu offers a wealth of options to explore and discover.


Now that you have information about nearby attractions, it’s time to wrap up our comprehensive guide to Makua Beach on Oahu, Hawaii.



Makua Beach on Oahu, Hawaii, is a true gem that captivates visitors with its stunning beauty and serene ambiance. With its golden sandy shores, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and lush surroundings, it offers an idyllic escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.


Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or the opportunity to connect with nature, Makua Beach has something for everyone. From swimming and snorkeling in the calm waters to camping under the starry Hawaiian sky, the beach provides a wealth of experiences to create lasting memories.


Remember to follow safety guidelines, including swimming within your abilities, respecting wildlife, and staying aware of changing weather conditions. By practicing responsible tourism, we can help preserve the natural beauty and ecosystem of this incredible destination.


While at Makua Beach, don’t miss the chance to explore nearby attractions such as Ka’ena Point State Park, Makaha Valley, and the historic sites of Pearl Harbor. These add depth to your Oahu experience and provide a broader understanding of the island’s culture, history, and natural wonders.


So pack your beach essentials, bring your sense of adventure, and get ready for an unforgettable journey to Makua Beach on Oahu, Hawaii. Immerse yourself in its beauty, soak up the sun, and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Start planning your visit to Makua Beach today and get ready to embark on a magical experience in this slice of paradise.