I have been to a lot of beautiful beaches in my day, and growing up in Orange County, California, I was very fortunate to have been surrounded by the artistic beauty of Laguna Beach. I have also had the pleasure of seeing exotic beaches around the world, like in Thailand and the Caribbean. All those beaches were so breathtaking to me that it would literally leave me in awe when I was there. Now living on the beautiful island of O’ahu, I get access to all sorts of exotic beaches that do the same for me.
One in particular, and one of my personal awe favorites, is at the eastern most tip of island, Makapu’u Beach. Makapu’u is an incredible 647 ft summit that overlooks this alluring piece of paradise. At the lookout, you get an exquisite panoramic view of Makapu’u Beach. Just the view alone is worth coming to Makapu’u for a visit, and the best part of being here, is the easy trail that takes you to the top of the summit for the best viewing. And for me, being here at the top, I always am in complete and total awe of Makapu’u’s incredible beauty. That is why Makapu’u is one of my favorite places on island, easy to get to from town, and provides you with a fun day of exploring, along with one of the most beautiful pieces of paradise on island that you will ever see!
Here are the 3 Ways to Explore the Beauty of Makapu’u
1. Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail-
The first part of Makapu’u that you will see along the coast is the parking lot for the lighthouse trail. The old abandoned road called Ka’iwi is the entrance for the trail which is towards the right. This is a very popular tourist attraction, so recommended to go early in the morning or during the week. You can also park near Makapu’u Lookout or along the highway. This is a very quick and easy trail, so also great for a light workout! The trail is about a mile and a half and takes about 20 minutes each way.
I always appreciate the beautiful scenery on this trail, as if to resemble an impressive painting. While walking along, you get a stunning view of the Kalama Valley and Ka’iwi shoreline. As well as a cool resting spot to try to catch some whales out in the distant (whale season is December-May). If you look to the left of the Whale Watch Spot, there is a trail that leads you to the hidden tide pools down below where people love to take photos and play. BE CAREFUL, you walk down rocky cliffs, and the waves are very strong down below, only go during good conditions, nice weather ect.
Next stop you will see the infamous lighthouse that was built in 1909. Unfortunately, the lighthouse is now closed off, but still you get a close enough look to appreciate! The best and last part of the trail is at the end, where you finally make it to the top of the summit. The reward is the sweeping view of Makapu’u and all of it’s beauty. You get a dreamy scenery of Makapu’u beach, and the two small islands out in the distant, Manana (Rabbit Island), and the smaller ones in front, the Kaohi-ka-ipu islands, as well as Waimanalo and beyond. My favorite spot to enjoy the view is to the left of where everyone stands along the rail, a small opening over the cliff that is away from the crowds, and the best spot for photos! I like to sit here for a good 5 minutes and give my gratitude to the universe for allowing me to live on such a beautiful planet.
2. Makapu’u Lookout-
Even if you are not in the mood for a trail, you can still appreciate the view from the lookout! Great for a quick stop on a road trip, or right before you head down to the beach. Here you get a more detailed and closer look at the beauty down below, just luring you to head to the seductive paradise down below.
3. Makapu’u Beach
Not only is this beach popular for it’s beauty, it is mostly popular for bodysurfing. The infamous shorebreak here is always pounding, so only recommended for experienced surfers. Still a beautiful place to relax and watch the surf. Look above, and you will see hang gliders in the sky really giving you that Hawaiian easy life vibe. I am always so relaxed and at peace while I am here, so perfect for a mellow quiet beach day, or a fun day to bodysurf. No matter what you will not leave disappointed!
More Information on Visiting-
Makapu’u Trail Hours- 7:00am-6:45pm
Address-Waimanalo, HI, 96795
Driving Directions from Waikik-Take the H1E
For Bus Routes-Best option to take is the 22 Bus Towards Sea Life Park/Sandy Beach/Hanauma Bay. Sea Life Park is the last stop for the 22 Bus before it heads back down to Waikiki. Exit Sea Life Park, across the street is Makapu’u Beach. To the Lookout and Lighthouse, just walk up the highway (with caution) to your right, about an 18 minute walk.
Have fun, be safe, and never recommended to hike alone!