A magnificent beach protected by Makapu'u Point welcomes you to the windward side. Hang gliders circle above the beach, and the water is filled with body boarders. Just off the coast you can see Bird Island, a sanctuary for aquatic fowl, jutting out of the blue.
Makapu'u is the extreme eastern end of the Island of Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands, comprising the remnant of a ridge that rises 647 feet (197 m) above the sea. The cliff at Makapu'u Point forms the eastern tip and is the site of a prominent lighthouse.
The place name of this area, meaning "bulging eye" in Hawaiian, is thought to derive from the name of an image said to have been located in a cave here called Keanaokeakuapololi.
The entire area is quite scenic and a panoramic view is presented at the lookout on Kalanianaole Highway (State Rte. 72) where the roadway surmounts the cliff just before turning south towards leeward Oahu and Honolulu.
Makapu'u Beach Park is backed by sea cliffs and is popular among bodyboarders and bodysurfers. And, just around the corner is Makapu'u Point, the easternmost point on Oahu which is the site of the Makapu'u Lighthouse.
Take the Makapu'u Trail and hike to the top of this sea cliff to watch a beautiful Hawaiian sunrise or experience whale spotting from December through May. Makapu'u Point is also known for the island's best bodysurfing (for the pros only).
This is not a leisure swimming beach, though summer time it is sometimes possible to swim without strong currents, but be careful and watch out for changing currents. On a typical day, this beach doesn’t face as large waves as Sandy Beach.
The beach and its surroundings are breathtaking with a black colored mountain in the backdrop. From the parking structure, located in the park, it is a a short walk down to the beach. Also good to know: Lifeguard on duty and there are showers and restrooms available.
Makapu’u Lighthouse, which is posited on the corner of Makapu’u beach and can be accessed from the parking lot along Kalanianaole Highway, contributes to the overall dramatic shoreline. So even if you are not into surfing, you can definitely enjoy hiking along the coast and admire great views to the ocean and two islands – Rabbit Island and Black Rock.
The Makapu’u hike must be among the easiest throughout Oahu. One literally just walks up to the Makapu’u elevation and towards the lighthouse. There are no challenging slopes, muddy trails, trees, or rocks. It is a conveniently paved road that one can walk or bike to. It is great for regular jogging, or walking the dog.
The trail is about 1.75 miles long. One can see the lush trees and meadows on the first phase of the hike and after the curve, the breezy ocean wind and the scenic blue ocean welcomes the hiker. And if they are lucky, they might see humpback whales playing in the wide waters. One may see the islands of Moloka’i and Lanai or the seabirds in the offshore islets.
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