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Your guide to Wailea-Makena
All About Wailea-Mākena
Located on the southern shore of the Hawaiian island of Maui, Wailea is a resort area famous for its white-sand beaches, sprawling golf courses, and relaxing spas. Wailea-Mākena provides a great base for visiting southern Maui’s sandy shores, such as the nearby Wailea Beach, which is just a short walk from town, or Mākena Beach, where you can go for a refreshing swim or explore the pristine coastline by paddleboard or kayak.
You can also find many interesting natural attractions nearby, such as La Perouse Bay or Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve, which is teeming with marine life. Take a break from the sun and water by visiting the Shops at Wailea, a complex that features 70 retail stores — art galleries, boutiques selling Hawaiian shirts and water-sports gear —and restaurants serving creative takes on local mahi mahi and deep-water ahi tuna.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Wailea-Makena?
Thanks to Maui’s consistent heat all year round, this is a great place to visit at any time. During the summer, the days are long, hot, and sometimes muggy, which is why many travelers cool off in the crystal-clear water found on Maui’s beaches.
During the spring and fall, the crowds thin out, making this a great time to visit if you want to have the beaches and hiking trails all to yourself. While the clouds gather overhead more frequently in the winter and the region sees a higher amount of rain, the warm weather remains, and showers are generally quick to come and go. Winter is also the best time to visit if you’re interested in whale watching or driving along Maui’s Road to Hana, a winding road famous for its waterfall hikes and lush greenery.
What are the top things to do in Wailea-Makena?
Mākena State Park
Mākena Beach State Park, on the south side of town, is home to one of the largest undeveloped beaches on Maui. This stretch of shoreline, commonly referred to as “Big Beach,” features glistening white sand and cerulean waters surrounded by native kiawe forests and mango groves. Wander inland and you can hike up the 360-foot-tall Pu’u Olai, a dormant volcanic cinder cone, where you can survey the coastline from on high.
Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve
Located less than a 10-minute drive from Mākena State Park, this marine reserve offers one of the area’s best snorkeling spots. The ocean floor is covered by a coastal lava field intermixed with coral, making it a popular home for many different species of tropical fish, including butterfly fish, parrotfish, surgeonfish, and turtles. At the reserve, you can snorkel directly from the shoreline.
La Perouse Bay
Just 20 minutes south of Wailea-Mākena, La Perouse Bay is outlined by lush green vegetation and jagged lava rock formations, created when the now-dormant Haleakalā Volcano last erupted in 1790. Now the blackened lava rocks shelter numerous tide pools. If you’d like to peer in at the marine creatures living there, bring shoes with thick soles, as lava rock has many sharp edges.