Hawaii’s Makua Beach
North of Waianae, along the Farrington Highway at the mouth of the Makua Valley, lies a beautiful white-sand beach that remains largely unknown to tourists. Even so, it was used as the main set for the 1965 film “Hawaii,” starring Julie Andrews.
Makua Beach is a mile-long pocket of white-sand beach that curves between two peaks, earning it the nickname “Twin Pinnacles.” It has an interesting coastline, with a width that varies seasonally. Although the shoreline is 200 feet wide, its width narrows during the winter when high surf erodes the beach. During the summer months, the sand accumulates and the coast widens out again.
Like other beaches on the leeward of Oahu, Makua Beach is notorious for dangerous waves, especially during the winter. Not protected by an artificial breakwater or a natural reef, its beach is steep. Its powerful breakers, rip currents, long coastal currents and rip currents are not for the faint of heart or for the amateur.
However, during the calm summer months, Makua Beach is a wonderful spot for snorkeling. With easy sandy beach entry, visibility from 15 to 50 feet, and abundant marine life including Moorish idols, giant parrotfish, barracuda, dolphins, and humpback whales, Makua Beach is an off-the-beaten-path gem.
But while it’s pristine, it’s not completely intact. On the coast, there is a rock where surfers used to gather in the 1960s. During that period, young surfers had a phrase called “Pray for Surf”, in which they pray to the sun and surf kahuna for good wave conditions. One day, the locals were shocked to see a “Pray for Sex” graffiti painted on the rock. The marks were indelible and the phrase stuck. The rock came to be known as the “Pray for Sex” rock and Makua beach is known locally as the “Pray for Sex” beach.
Services and amenities: no lifeguards, no facilities
5 Unique Things About Makua Beach
- The Kaneana cave located south of the beach is named after the Hawaiian god Kane. The cave is, according to a legend, the womb from which humanity emerged.
- Makua Beach is the main setting for the 1965 James Mitchener film “Hawaii,” starring Julie Andrews.
- The beach has two nicknames: “Twin Pinnacles” and “Pray for Sex” beach.
- Makua, in Hawaiian, means “father.”
- According to Hawaiian songs, Makua is the home of gods and demigods.