While many tourists first hear of this area because of the famous hike from the road to the Makapuu Lighthouse, what the locals know is this is one of the most stunning beaches on the island. Hues of blues framed by golden sand are tucked in beneath the dark lava. Because of the south eastern locale, it is considered the island’s capital of body boarding.
Water Sports: Watching the waves while basking in the sun and long walks along the shore are the best activities at Makapuu Beach. Only when the conditions are mild should you venture in for a swim or body boarding. Be sure to check in with the lifeguard as only the experts are encouraged to brave the waves in these parts when the strong currents prevail.
Shade: If you are looking for some sun, hit the beach early as the ominous mountain backdrop will bring shade as soon as the sun begins its descent for the day.
Parking: Parking is a bit limited so the earlier you arrive, the better. Also, do not leave valuables in your car as break-ins continue to be an issue.
Food: If you are coming from Waikiki, stop and grab some snacks at the Koko Marina Shopping Center located in Hawaiʻi Kai as Makapuu boasts several picnic-worthy locations.
Historical note: Back in the mid-30’s, the roads were completed to reach this destination because avid body boarders insisted the surf here was the best in Oahu. In an effort to protect the body boarders, surfing was outlawed in these waters. The sport of body boarding launched its first official contest here in Makapuu back in 1953, sponsored by the Waikiki Surf Club.
Origin of the name: “Bulging eye” is the English translation for the name Makapuu. Hawaiian legends claim that Makapuu was a Tahitian god who lived in a nearby cave and he had eight bright eyes. Many see the Makapuu Lighthouse as the modern day version of this bright-eyed legend.