Despite this hidden gem’s proximity to popular beach destinations in South Maui, cozy Makena Cove feels remote and peaceful — while offering a unique and unforgettable experience for beachgoers.
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About Makena Cove
Makena Cove, or Secret Beach, remains a secluded seaside haven nestled near multi-million dollar homes. The spot sits just south of Big Beach and Little Beach at Makena State Park.
The cove is easy to miss when you’re cruising by the more popular beach spots, but once you’ve discovered it, you’ll find yourself awestruck. Just steps away from the street hides a quiet oasis with soft sand, crystal-clear water, and stunning views. The atmosphere at Makena Cove is perfect for couples seeking a romantic escape, families looking for a tranquil spot to relax, or solo travelers in search of a peaceful retreat.
As another nickname (Wedding Beach) suggests, Makena Cove is a popular spot for weddings and elopements. The natural beauty and intimate feel of the cove provide a picture-perfect backdrop for a romantic ceremony. Even if you’re not planning to tie the knot, Makena Cove is worth a visit for its serene ambiance, breathtaking scenery, and unique charm.
What we like about Makena Cove:
- The feeling of discovery when you step foot onto this hidden beach
- The epitome of a dream beach vacation, with Makena Cove’s soft sand and blue water
- The stunning sunset view
- It’s a great place for photography — hire a pro to take family or couple portraits
What to consider:
- It’s a cozy spot, so it gets crowded quickly if even just a few groups show up at the same time
- There’s a somewhat large step down (it took my short legs two stretching steps) to get onto the beach, which may be challenging for some physically
- While it’s relatively easy to get to, we consider Makena Cove to be a rustic site since there are no public restrooms, restaurants, trash cans, or lifeguard assistance
- Wave breaks can make swimming dangerous in this area, so while you can swim and snorkel here, we generally don’t recommend it because of the swells and rocks
How to get to Makena Cove a.k.a. Secret Beach
It may be called Secret Beach, but getting there isn’t a mystery — if you know where to look. Here’s how to find Makena Cove on Maui:
The beach lies around 10 minutes (or just under 4 miles) south of the Wailea resort district. First, drive South on Makena Road. Then find a break in the lava rock wall at these approximate coordinates: 20.626894, -156.442997 (enter the coordinates into your Google Maps search). If your mapping app can’t read the coordinates, Makena Cove lies directly across the street from the house at 6925 Makena Road.
When you’re there, look for the beach access sign from the Makena Cove street entrance. You won’t be able to read the sign, though — sticker graffiti blankets the sign’s surface. But look for the walking path just past the rock wall entrance. Looming estate homes surround the area, so you’ll feel like you’re trespassing — but if you stick to the path, you’re in a publicly accessible space. Just remember: Makena Cove lies within a residential district, so respect the surrounding community as a visitor to the area.
Where to park
Makena Cove doesn’t have its own parking lot, but street parking is available on the beach side of the street. Spots can fill up quickly during busy periods, so either prepare to wait or try parking at Makena State Park and walking from there.
What to do at Makena Cove
While nearby Big Beach handily beats Makena Cove in size, there’s still plenty to do at pocket-sized Makena Cove.
- Keep your eyes peeled for Hawaiian sea turtles bobbing in the water
- Enjoy the solitude — if you get there at the right time with no crowds
- Get married — or renew your vows
- Schedule a photo shoot
- Watch the dazzling sunset
- Swim and snorkel — under calm conditions only, as the waves can get dangerous here
The best time to visit Makena Cove
Because of its small size, even just a few groups of tourists can make the beach feel crowded. Try to visit Makena Cove during Maui’s low season, which is typically September to November (just before Thanksgiving) or April to June (avoiding Spring Break).
We’ve also had good luck finding the beach deserted when we visit early in the morning, between sunrise and around 9 a.m.
Sunset is also a great time to visit Makena Cove, although you’ll probably have company. Crowds are more likely to gather as the sun disappears for the amazing view.
What to bring
There aren’t any facilities at Makena Cove, so bring everything you need with you. These are some items we recommend:
- An empty bladder. You’ll have to hoof it to nearby Makena State Park if you need bathroom facilities.
- Beach gear. Think towels, sunscreen, hats, beach chairs, and toys.
- Camera gear (or your camera phone). You can’t visit one of the most picturesque spots on Maui without capturing the moment.
- Food and refreshments. Don’t forget water!
Reminder: Leave no trace. Makena Cove doesn’t have trash facilities onsite, so you’ll have to pack out your refuse.
While you’re in the area, stop at these nearby points of interest along South Maui’s coastline:
- Makena State Park: Big Beach and Little Beach
- Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area and Marine Reserve / Kanahena Cove
- Lava Fields / La Perouse Bay / Hoapili Trail
Explore the beaches of South Maui’s Makena region: 5 Breathtaking Makena Beaches on Maui You Have to See to Believe
Places to stay near Makena Cove
Makena no longer has its own hotel. That means you’d either need to be fabulously wealthy (housing in Makena is notoriously expensive) or have a friend who lives nearby to stay in this South Maui district. However, neighboring Wailea has plenty of resorts and hotels to choose from.
Some of our favorites include:
FAQs about Makena Cove
Where is Secret Cove in Maui?
Secret Cove, also known as Makena Cove, lies about 10 minutes south of the Wailea resort district in South Maui. The beach access path lies between a break in a lava rock wall off of Makena Road. Because of its secluded access point, diminutive size, and stunning scenery, Secret Cove is considered one of Maui’s must-see hidden gems.
Can you swim at Makena Cove?
You can access the water for swimming at Makena Cove, but we don’t recommend it. Every time we’ve visited, breaking waves have made swimming too treacherous. Also, there’s no lifeguard on duty at this beach. If you swim or snorkel, do so at your own risk.