Most visitors believe you have to travel to Hana on Maui to see a black sand beach. Not so! Indeed Honokalani Black Sand Beach, located in the Wainapanapa State Park near Hana is spectacular and well worth visiting. But did you know that you can experience the exotic nature of black sand only 20 minutes from Kihei? Part of the Makena State Park, Oneuli Beach is one of the least used beaches in South Maui. It offers great snorkeling, diving, SUP, and kayaking, but isn’t great for casual swimming and boogie boarding because of the shallow reef. It is also a great place to take a unique picture that will make people say “Where is THAT???”
Oneuli Black Sand Beach in South Maui…no, you don’t have to drive all the way to Hana for black sand!
Oneuli is located just north of the Pu’u Ola’i cinder cone (which can be seen from just about anywhere on the South Maui coast). Go south on Wailea Alanui Dr. from Wailea, which turns into Makena Rd. Turn right at an easy to miss dirt road 3.8 miles south of the Grand Wailea Resort. If you get to Big Beach, you’ve gone too far!
If you are new to Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP), Maui is the perfect place to try it out. If you’ve been envious of the guys and gals surfing the big waves, but are chicken (like me) or just don’t want to work that hard, you have to try SUP. I’ve seen locals doing awesome waves and moves on them, but also plenty of people just enjoying the water from an SUP. Beginners will need protected waters with just a little bit of wave action. I think the best beach on Maui to learn SUP is Kalama Beach Park in Kihei. No, you won’t find lots of sand like on other Maui beaches, and maybe it isn’t as picturesque as the postcard beaches that are strewn throughout Maui, but this is the place to go for SUP beginners. There are several places to rent SUPs right across the road, and a 2 minute walk later you are in the water ready to try your SUP. The wave action seems to be just right for beginning SUP, and you will be sure to see many other folks there trying their hand at this great sport. Like many activities on Maui, mornings are the best for SUP because you are more likely to get calm waters and minimal wind. Good luck, and hang loose!
Kalama Beach Park, Maui (photo courtesy of to-hawaii.com)