Little Beach – Makena
After a precarious jaunt up the cliff at Big Beach’s north end, you’ll come to the famous nudist beach called Little Beach. A Maui treasure.
See Little Beach Map
Every Sunday evening, during sunset, a large crowd forms around a drum circle, and fire dancing commences.
This is one of those beaches you dream of. The sand runs into the ocean making swimming easier and the ocean more turquoise.
With very little development nearby, the lack of runoff keeps the water clear and clean.
Fun Body Surfing
This can be one of the more fun spots to body surf. The only challenge is dodging naked people.
If you like being nude or being around nude people, this is your place. It’s not legal, but not often enforced.
Sharp, Shallow Reef
Both sides of the beach have sharp and shallow reefs. Be careful!
If you want to use the restroom, use a picnic table, or go to your car, you have to climb back over the cliff.
There is a path over the cliff, but 1 section is difficult, especially after the Sunday party when dark.
If you get in trouble, you’re on your own. If you get hurt, you’ll have to navigate over the cliff again.
Bad Crowd Absorption
As the name implies, it’s a little beach. When crowded, you’ll be very close to other people.
Though there are exceptions, we feel like nudist beaches tend to attract the kind of people you don’t want to see naked. It also attracts some creepy gawkers.
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Little Beach Information
Little Beach, Maui is located just North of Big Beach (Makena Beach) in South Maui. The best way to get there is by entering the first entrance at Big Beach and, once on the sand, walking to your right. You’ll see a cliff with red-black rock at the end of the beach that has a path etched into it. You’ll half-climb to the top and then walk down to the beach.
Little Beach is by far one of the most beautiful beaches in the Hawaiian Islands. The narrow entry provides enough seclusion and discretion for it to become a nudist beach. Is it legal to be naked on Little beach? No, this is one of those laws that really isn’t enforced. During the week, the beach is 95% filled with nude sunbathers. Some people choose to wear clothes, and they’re mostly tourists. The Northern end of the beach is known as the gay part of the beach. If you wander over there, you’ll quickly see that it’s saturated with gay men. The rest of the beach is ambiguously mixed with people of varying sexual preferences, different ages, genders, and physical appearances.
The water here is perfect. The white sand makes the water a bright turquoise shade of blue. Most people are low-key at Little Beach. You’ll find that the most excitement you’ll encounter will be a nude game of Frisbee, some naked body surfing, and nudists walking back and forth along the water line to even out their tans. Actually, the most excitement can be found on Sunday nights.
Sunday Evenings at Little Beach
Every Sunday night at Little Beach a large group of people gathers to enjoy a very unique tradition. As the sun goes down, everyone cheers for the sunset in hopes of a green flash of light as a finale. After and during this, a drum circle feverishly livens the air with a rootsy rhythm. The percentage of nude to clothed is more even with around 70% nude to 30% clothed on Sunday nights due to all the curious visitors.
Once the sun has gone down, all kinds of fire dancers come out of the woodwork. You’ll find old naked ladies twirling burning spears as well as small children taking turns with flaming hula hoops. On occasion, you’ll find some extra creative dancers with exotic fire contraptions. One gentleman wears a flaming steel bra as well as a blazing rope penis. Wild? You really have to see it to believe it. Some of the dancers are mediocre and a bit too sexually provocative. Others are well-trained and brilliant to watch as they masterfully twirl chains with flaming balls in a controlled and visually stunning manner. Photographs and video footage of these performers are not encouraged, but also not forbidden. Many of the dancers, nude or not, enjoy the extra attention. Setting your camera to a slower shutter speed with the flash turned off can result in some powerful images, as you can see from the Little Beach pictures on this page. All of the Sunday Night festivities end rather early these days around 9 pm. At this time, the dancing and drumming cease and dozens of people take turns scurrying back over the cliff with the aid of a few helpful flashlights.
Directions to Little Beach, Makena
From Lahaina – 1 – 1.2 hours
Drive south on the Honoapiilani Hwy (ocean on the right). Pass Maʻalaea Harbor, and take a right at North Kihei Rd. Turn right on the Piilani Hwy. Then follow the directions below.
From Kihei – 15-20 minutes
Drive south on the Piilani Hwy (ocean on the right). Road turns right into Wailea Ike Drive to continue down the hill. Turn Left on Wailea Alanui Dr. Drive past the Makena Beach Golf Resort. Turn right into one of the entrances with a sign saying “Makena Beach (Big Beach.)” Park and take your valuables with you.
Once you’ve walked down to the beach, turn right and walk to the cliff at the end of the beach. You’ll see a path up the rocky cliff. Be careful and wear shoes. If you plan on going for the Sunday evening festivities, bring a flashlight for the trip back.
Surfing at Little Beach Maui
You’ll see in this Little Beach photo, that the naked guy paddling up the face gives a whole new meaning to backside surfing. Though it doesn’t break very often, Little Beach waves can be fun with the right South or West swell. The wave breaks over a shallow reef on the left side of the beach. Waves can break all up and down the beach, but the best surf spot is the left-hander off of the rocks to the left. Surfing at Little Beach is not without its frustrating points.
Dodging naked people in the lineup is difficult and distracting. On some days, the amounts of nudists are so many, that you can’t even take off on a wave without running over a couple of bodies. If you like to surf naked, this is the place to go. If you choose to, please use a softer, cold-water wax. We’d hate to see you lose more than your clothes when surfing Little Beach, Maui.
All of the Maui Photography was provided by Natalie Brown Photography and Hawaii Web Group. All Rights Reserved.