Makapu’u Beach Park – a Hidden Gem on Oahu, Hawaii

Makapu’u Beach is one of the best on the island. Not only is there great sand, but fun, exciting waves, amazing water clarity, and enough room for people to spread out and enjoy. On this side of the island, the wind picks up, giving the beach a refreshing breeze. The waves pick up and the shorebreak at times can get a little heavy. If you go swimming, you’ll just want to duck under the water and grab the sand as the waves pass over. 


Makapu’u Beach is located on the east side of Oahu – about 25 minutes driving from Waikiki and 20 minutes from Kailua. It’s directly across from Sea Life Park, which was nominated as one of Hawaii’s best family attractions  – although arguably, Makapu’u is one too. You can find parking inside the public lot to the left of the beach, or along  the highway above the beach (you’ll have to walk down via one of the paths). The lots tend to get full in the afternoon, such that if you can’t find parking but still want to see a beach, you could make your way back to town and visit Sandy Beach or if you don’t mind a walk, then visit Alan Davis Beach. 

I used to go to this beach every Sunday as a kid. So for me, it holds a special place in my heart. We’d bring bodyboards and try to catch waves on the left hand side – trying to make it all the way to the middle shorebreak. Waves are here year-round and only rarely will you get a completely flat day. On any day, the water will have this amazing clear blue. It is also basically free of the man-o-war jellyfish problem that Kailua or Waimanalo beach tends to have. The shower at the top of the hill is great to rinse off after the beach. Walking from the parking lot to the beach is like an adventure – choosing your own route to the bottom. 

Makapu’u is a beach for a semi-beginner and up. Someone who can swim but hasn’t pushed their limits. You’ll want to try to enter between  the right-hand side of the beach and the middle, as this is the most forgiving with currents and smaller wave size. If the water is too rough, then you can pair the beach up with a hike up the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail or as a stop along the scenic drive from Waikiki along Oahu’s south and east shores. 

I recommend checking this beach out and enjoying the water here at Makapu’u, if you have the chance!

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