Want the chance to explore an incredibly underrated secret cove in Maui? This gorgeous mini beach is so stinking cool!
As long as it doesn’t get too crowded it is a perfect spot to relax in an intimate environment. You can lounge on the beach or snorkel around the calm turquoise waters of the cove.
NOTE: Makena Cove is different from Makena Beach – though both are great, but for completely different reasons.
- Makena Cove (aka Secret Cove Maui) Quick Tips
- What to expect at Makena Cove
- Things to see near Makena Cove
Makena Cove (aka Secret Cove Maui) Quick Tips
- Names: Makena Cove, Secret Cove, Secret Beach and Paako Cove.
- Best for: Swimming, snorkeling, photos and relaxing
- Famous for: Wedding photos
- Day & time I visited: Saturday at noon (not crowded)
- Facilities: None
- Lifeguard: None
- Cost: Free
- Parking: Street parking available – fills up quickly!
- Entrance: Entrance is through small break in rock wall.
What to expect at Makena Cove
Makena Cove Maui looks just like the pictures. It really is a fairly small beach, but the white sand and turquoise small beach with turquoise waters and white sand.
The calm conditions of the water and lava rocks in and out of the water make it an ideal place to snorkel (most of the time at least there aren’t waves crashing into the cove).
Perfect for Kids
The lava rocks protect the beach from waves crashing into it, which also makes this a perfect place to take kids if you are looking for a calm place to let them swim in while you watch from the shore. That being said, there were only a couple of kids there when I visited on a Saturday afternoon.
Famous for Photo Shoots (even weddings)
Makena Cove has such an intimate vibe that it often is used for photo shoots. I’ve even seen weddings or bridal photo shoots captured here. This beach is famous for their wedding photos.
Secret Cove Beach Location
The secret cove beach is located just south of the more popular Makena Beach and north of Ahihi Nature Preserve.
The island of Maui is a weird shape. I’ve heard it described as an 8 that was pushed a little bit sideways, or a kneeling person praying. Regardless, when you journey down the southwest side you have to go almost to the end of the road. Because the road ends and it isn’t close to a huge resort area, it isn’t visited as often as other parts of the island.
This is a huge mistake for the people that miss it, but potentially an opportunity for you to explore without as many people.
Not visiting this part of the island is a huge mistake. Not only is Makena Cove amazing, this part of the island includes a ton of my other favorite spots as well.
How to get to Makena Cove
The best way to get here is to rent a car. If you don’t have a car rental you can rent a moped for the day, or take an Uber/Lyft. Uber/Lyft will be your most expensive option depending on where you are staying.
If you decide to explore the island by moped you can rent one here for up to two weeks at a time!
Makena Cove Parking
The nearby street parking is it. If it fills up you are just going to have to go farther down the road. The good news is that you can usually tell how crowded the cove is going to be by the amount of cars parking on the street.
Hard to Find – Be Careful Not to Miss It
There are no signs, no general parking lot, no big restrooms or walkway entrance. If you aren’t paying attention, it’s pretty easy to pass without realizing it.
What you see as you drive into the area is a wall of lava rock with some street parking lining the way. You can’t really see the actual cove from the street since the lava rock wall is too high.
There is a small break in the wall that you cut through and then almost immediately pop into the cove.
When I looked through all I saw was a tree and wondered if I was going to pop into someone’s front yard.
Not surprisingly there are no official facilities here. This means that you need to go to the restroom, you are going to have to hike back up to Makena Beach, hold it, or just go in the ocean (hopefully not).
There is no lifeguard on duty.
Things to see near Makena Cove
- Makena Beach/Big Beach (One of my favorite beaches in Maui)
- Little Beach (also known as Oneloa Beach) – WARNING – nude beach.
- Oneuli Beach – Black sand beach
- Maluaka Beach – all around great beach
What to Pack for Maui
- Quick Dry Travel Towel – This quick dry towel is amazing to travel with. It really will come in handy when you need extra room in your suitcase.
- Snorkeling gear – for obvious reasons.
- Hiking boots – I have two pairs of hiking boots that I love. My Columbia waterproof boots and my Salomon hiking boots. Highly recommend checking them both out!
- Sandals – LOVE these Teva’s! They are my new go to travel sandal. Shop my favorite Teva’s here. They are great to wear in the water snorkeling and also amazing for hiking in Hawaii.
- Dresses for Hawaii – Packing a few good dresses is essential for Hawaii. Dresses have become my go to on trips to help quickly put an outfit together. Revolve is one of my go to shops for beach dresses. ASOS also has great summer dresses.
- Shorts – Anyone who is traveling to Hawaii needs a good pair of shorts. Khakis are great for guys. For women, cute athletic shorts or denim shorts are perfect for a breezy summertime look. These Levi denim shorts are my current favorites! These high waisted athletic shorts have gone viral on instagram and for good reason, they are AMAZING.
- Sports bra – This SKIMS bra is the most comfortable sports bra you will ever wear! Trust me. I travel with 5 of them. Also, highly recommend checking out the SKIMS fits everybody bra is to die for as well.
- Agolde 90’s jeans – I actually can’t remember the last trip I have been on where I haven’t brought these Agolde jeans. I have them in multiple colors and sizes. Check out my full review here.
- Tank tops – Free people is my go to place to buy cute and affordable tank tops. I have this tighten up tank in almost every color.
- Hat – essential. Shop the newest hats at Nordstrom.
- Beach cover-up – Having at least one good cover-up is essential on any beach trip. I recommend ASOS, Nordstrom and Revolve as well.
- Tennis Shoes – I guess you could wear sandals hiking the trails in Maui but I would recommend tennis shoes or hiking boots. It can get narrow and slippery in parts. These New Balance shoes are amazing. Only problem is they sell out so fast! Blah. They look so cute with shorts too!
- Packing cubes – I always go to Urban Outfitters for my packing cubes. They have the cutest ones!