Makaha Beach is not just another beach; it’s an experience that remains unmatched. While other beaches might offer similar landscapes, Makaha’s connection to ancient Hawaiian surfing culture is unique. What sets it apart is its untamed, raw beauty and the authenticity of the Hawaiian traditions that are still practiced here. Known for its breathtaking beauty and thrilling surf, Makaha Beach offers not just a chance to relax and unwind, but also an opportunity to dive into the heart of Hawaiian culture. Let’s explore the allure and charm of this idyllic destination.


  • Located on the west coast of Oahu, Makaha Beach offers a stunning vista of deep blue waters and golden sands, making it a paradise for beach lovers.
  • Recognized for its excellent surf conditions, Makaha Beach hosts numerous surfing competitions, attracting both local and international surfers.
  • Its abundant marine life and clear waters make it a popular spot for snorkeling and diving. Visitors have the chance to spot dolphins, turtles, and a variety of tropical fish.
  • Makaha Beach is also renowned for its spectacular sunsets, offering a breathtaking view as the sun dips below the horizon.


Aerial view of Makaha Beach on Oahu, Hawaii.
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In ancient times, Makaha was a hub for the native Hawaiians due to its abundant natural resources. It was a thriving community known for its fishing, farming, and the famous Makaha Surfing Beach. A few surfers from California discovered a fantastic point break at Makaha Beach Park in the 1930s. The beach gained international attention in the 1950s when big wave surfing was pioneered here, and has since been hosting prestigious surfing competitions. Makaha gained recognition, it was chosen as a top venue for contests like the Makaha International Surfing Championship, which was started by the Waikiki Surf Club in 1952.

Legendary surfer Greg Noll surfed the biggest wave in surfing history at Makaha in December 1969. Big-wave surfers continue to be inspired by the waves that the Makaha long point break still delivers. The beach is lovely and has lifeguards on duty every day, showers, bathrooms, and snorkeling during the quieter summer months. It is one of the most well-liked diving spots on Oahu during the winter months when waves may reach up to 25 feet. Today, Makaha Beach continues to attract surfers from around the world, captivated by its unrivaled waves and the area’s majestic beauty.

Things to Do


Panorama of the surf spot Makaha with the surfer riding the wave. Oahu, Hawaii
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The beach boasts some of the most exhilarating waves on the island, making it a top spot for both local and international surfers. The powerful Pacific swells are perfect for longboard surfing, and every winter, the coast comes alive with waves that challenge even the most experienced surfers. For beginners, the summer months offer calmer conditions, great for learning and improving your surfing skills. But remember, the ocean is a powerful force, so always respect the water and heed local advice when surfing at Makaha Beach.

Surfing Breaks:

The wave at Makaha Beach is renowned for its four distinct breaks, each offering a unique surfing experience. The Point is the furthest out and typically has the biggest and most consistent waves, making it a favorite among experienced surfers. Next is the Bowl, a high-quality wave that forms a well-defined barrel, offering thrilling rides. The Blowhole is known for its unpredictable and exciting nature — a challenge even for seasoned surfers. Last is the Inside Reef, ideal for beginners and intermediate surfers with its gentler waves. Each break at Makaha Beach contributes to its reputation as a world-class surfing destination.

The waves are rideable at any size, adding to its allure as a surfing destination. However, the real challenge kicks in when the waves reach over 10 feet. These towering waves demand skill, courage, and an adventurous spirit from the surfers. Many surfers prefer entering the water near the northern end of the beach, close to the hotel. This is the point where the waves break on the reef, offering an exhilarating ride and an unforgettable surfing experience. Experience the thrill of riding these colossal waves and etch an unforgettable memory in your surfing journey.

Snorkeling and Diving

Sea turtles in Hawaii wildlife
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The clear waters of Makaha Beach are home to a vibrant marine ecosystem. Snorkeling here offers a chance to see a variety of tropical fish, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot a sea turtle or two. The beach is also famous for its diving spots, with several tour operators offering experiences to suit all levels of proficiency, from beginner to advanced. The beach is also famous for its diving spots, with tour operators offering experiences to suit all levels of proficiency, from beginner to advanced.

Paddle Boarding

Young Attractive Mann on Stand Up Paddle Board, SUP, in the Blue Waters off Hawaii
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The calm summer waters of Makaha Beach provide an ideal setting for paddleboarding. This peaceful activity offers an exploratory passage along the coastline, presenting participants with an opportunity to appreciate the picturesque beauty of the area. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or a novice, paddleboarding at Makaha Beach is sure to deliver a delightful and tranquilizing experience

Enjoying the Sunset

Sunset at Makaha Beach, Oahu, Hawaii, U.S.A.
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As the day draws to a close, Makaha Beach offers a captivating spectacle. The sky is painted with hues of orange, purple, and red as the sun dips into the horizon. It’s the perfect way to end a day of adventure, leisurely watching the sunset while the tranquil waves lap at the shoreline.

Nearby Attractions and Sightseeing Opportunities

View of Makaha Valley, Oahu, Hawaii
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Just a stone’s throw away from Makaha Beach is the awe-inspiring Makaha Valley. Known for its lush vegetation and towering cliffs, this verdant paradise promises a nature lover’s delight. History enthusiasts must not miss the nearby Waianae Historical Society, which preserves and promotes the rich cultural heritage of the region. For those seeking a cultural immersion, the Ka’ala Cultural Center organizes workshops and events showcasing the native Hawaiian culture. Lastly, the spectacular Ka’ena Point State Park, located at the westernmost tip of Oahu, offers epic hiking trails with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.

Accommodation Options

Sunny day at Makaha beach on the west side of the island of Oahu in Hawaii amidst beautiful green mountains with volcanic formation in front of the blue sea
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The area surrounding Makaha Beach offers various lodging choices to suit any preference or budget. From luxury resorts to budget-friendly motels and everything in between, you’re sure to find the perfect place to rest after a day of oceanic adventures.

  • Luxury Resorts: For those who desire a more luxurious stay, the Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa offers top-notch amenities and is located only a short drive from the beach.
  • Mid-range Hotels: Makaha Beach Cabanas and Makaha Towers are popular mid-range hotels that provide comfortable accommodations at reasonable prices.
  • Budget Options: Budget-conscious travelers can opt for the Inn at Schofield Barracks or the ‘Plantation Inn’. These establishments offer basic amenities and are a short drive from Makaha Beach.
  • Vacation Homes: If you prefer the comforts of home, consider renting a vacation home. Websites like Airbnb and VRBO have numerous listings in the area, ranging from quaint beachfront cottages to luxurious condos.

Remember to book your accommodation well in advance, especially during peak tourist season, to secure the best options.

Local Cuisine and Dining

Makaha Beach is not just a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, but also for food lovers. The local culinary scene is a gastronomic delight, offering a mix of traditional Hawaiian cuisine and international fare. Seafood, unsurprisingly, takes center stage, with local eateries serving dishes made from the freshest catch of the day. For a truly local experience, visitors should not miss trying poke, a traditional Hawaiian dish of raw, marinated fish. Laid-back beach shacks serve up casual meals perfect for a post-swim lunch, while upscale restaurants provide a more formal dining experience with spectacular ocean views. From food trucks to fine dining, Makaha Beach caters to every palate and every budget.

Safety Tips and Local Regulations

Makaha Beach
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  • Beach Safety: Understanding beach safety is paramount to ensure an enjoyable and secure experience at Makaha Beach. Never swim alone and always keep an eye on children near water. Be mindful of warning signs regarding strong currents or any marine life that could pose a threat. It’s also essential to apply ample sunscreen and stay hydrated in the Hawaiian sun.
  • Lifeguards: Makaha Beach is patrolled by well-trained lifeguards to deal with various emergencies. They are your primary source of help should you encounter any difficulty.
  • Local Regulations: Respect local regulations and restrictions put in place for your safety. These may include specific zones for swimming or surfing, restrictions on alcohol consumption, and rules regarding the preservation of nature.
  • Emergency Services: Familiarize yourself with the location of the nearest hospital, and save emergency contact numbers on your phone. A little preparation can go a long way in preventing any unfortunate incidents.

Beach safety is a shared responsibility. By following these guidelines, we can ensure a secure, enjoyable, and memorable beach experience for all.

Best Time to Visit

the world famous Makaha Beach in Hawaii
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Makaha Beach is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit largely depends on the activities you’re interested in. For surfing, the winter months (November through February) offer the highest waves and best conditions. Snorkeling and diving enthusiasts, on the other hand, might prefer the calmer waters of summer (June through August), when visibility is at its peak. The beach is a popular spot, so expect larger crowds during the summer and around holiday periods.

While Makaha Beach is accessible throughout the day, the time you choose to visit depends on your planned activities and personal preferences. Early morning hours are ideal for those seeking tranquility, as the beach is less crowded, and the calm sea offers perfect conditions for swimming and snorkeling. Surfing enthusiasts often find the mid to late afternoon to be the best time due to optimal wave conditions. The beach also offers breathtaking views of the sunset, making late afternoon to early evening a popular time for beach walks and picnics. Regardless of when you decide to visit, ensure to apply sun protection and stay hydrated throughout the day.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Absolutely! Makaha Beach is famed for its excellent surfing conditions, particularly during the winter months.

Yes, Makaha Beach is family-friendly. However, please note that the surf can be strong, so young children should be closely monitored.

Makaha Beach offers various facilities such as picnic tables, restrooms, and lifeguard services, ensuring a comfortable and safe visit.

Makaha Beach is located on the west coast of Oahu and can be easily reached by car from Honolulu.

While Makaha Beach is beautiful all year round, the best surfing conditions are typically found in the winter months.

Yes, Makaha Beach is a great spot for seeing marine life such as turtles and dolphins, especially when snorkeling or diving.

How To Get There

By Car

If you’re driving from Honolulu, take the I-H-1 W from S Beretania St. and Punchbowl St. Continue on I-H-1 W. Take HI-93 W to Farrington Hwy in Makaha. This journey should take you approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes but allow for extra time as traffic can be heavy during peak hours.

By Bus

TheBus (Honolulu’s public transit system) operates a regular service to Makaha Beach. You can take Route 40 (Honolulu – Makaha) from Ala Moana Center in Honolulu directly to Makaha Beach. The journey usually takes around 2 hours. Do keep in mind that bus schedules might vary over weekends and public holidays, so it’s best to check TheBus’s website for the most accurate timetable.

Plan Your Trip Now!

Stunning azure waters, thrilling water sports, a rich cultural tapestry, and delicious local cuisine – Makaha Beach offers all these and more. There is so much to explore and experience in this Hawaiian paradise. So why wait? Makaha Beach is eagerly waiting to welcome you with its warm Hawaiian charm.