We love to explore shoreline access points in Maui. In Hawaii, the shoreline is open to everyone, but access is frequently impossible. Blue signs posted alongside the road highlight access points. In some cases, the signs direct you to a parking spot; in others, to a path or gap between fences.
South of Makena, there's a beautiful little cove with a sand beach that can't be any more than 25 yards wide. Drive south on Wailea Avenue past the huge hotels - past Grand Wailea, Four Seasons and Maui Price - and soon, on the right, you'll see signs for the state park at Makena Big Beach. While Big Beach is worth a stop in its own right, keep going. Shortly after the second Big Beach parking lot entrance, watch for a 10-foot-high stone wall on your right and a lunch/snack wagon on your left. There's a 5-foot gap in the stone wall and a blue shoreline access sign partially hidden in the brush. Pull to the side and stop here.
The beach is just through the gap. It's a little gem with black lava rock outcrops on both sides of the cove. The sand - soft, golden and warm - extends into the water on both sides of a black rock outcrop in the center of the cove. At the right time of year, the vines along one side are a mass of color.
It's a great place to stop for a bit, either before or after viewing the lava moonscape around LaPeruse Bay.
Don't be put off if there are cars parked here or if there are formally dressed people walking about, because this little beach is being used more and more often for weddings and by wedding photographers. Go ahead in, be respectful, quiet, and above all, stay out of camera range!