Maui’s Secret Cove Beach goes by a couple of names, which is maybe why it can sometimes feel so hard to find and hence a bit of a secret (although it is quite popular among locals). Other popular names this West Maui beach goes by including Makena Cove (named after the road it lies just off of) and Paako Beach (named after Paako Cape, the name of the land extension that lies just north of the beach). But whatever name you choose to call it, this Secret Cove Beach can be found in one wonderfully beautiful spot just south of Makena State Park.
While the Secret Cove Beach is located just a couple of hundred feet south of Big Beach, you cannot safely walk there on the beachside. That’s because you will encounter some slick and sharp rocks with dangerous wave conditions, and if you stray too far inland, you’ll be trespassing in locals’ backyards. So instead, you will need to come to the beach on the inland side. You will find on-street parking along this stretch of Makena Road. There is only one entrance to Secret Cove Beach and you will see it at the end of a stretch of rock wall about six feet high.
Secret Cove Beach is not a very large beach, nor does it have any amenities. This means no lifeguards, no bathrooms, no showers, and no dedicated picnic facilities. What it does have is a very intimate, tropical feel to it — especially if you’re lucky enough to come early enough to be the only ones leaving footprints in the sand.
Walking through the doorway for Secret Cove Beach leads you to a strip of dusty white sand that is bordered on the left and right by verdant landscaping and in the front by tons of lava rocks. The rocky shoreline makes for a very picturesque view as the waves crash upon them and spray into mist, but you probably aren’t going to want to swim here. This likewise means poor snorkeling, surfing, and other boarding conditions. Although when the wind is completely or close to dead and the waves calm, you can wade out somewhat between two of the large outcroppings of lava rocks for a pretty magical experience. But those types of conditions are not common.
So then, you might be thinking, what can you do at Secret Cove Beach? Secret Cove Beach is probably best known among locals for weddings. Small private weddings are a very popular thing here just about all year round, with the exception of the rainier months. But for those just visiting the island, you might go here to catch a wonderfully bordered sunset or to simply come and sunbathe away from bigger crowds. On most days, you can sit here and enjoy beautiful ocean views with the tropical islands of Molokini and Kahoolawe in your far backdrop. During low tide, the ocean leaves behind a ton of tide pools the rocky outcroppings that are great for exploring crabs, gobys, and tiny damsel fish.
We would say that if you are on your way to spend a beach day at Big Beach or another one of the beaches near Makena State Park, then Secret Beach Cove deserves a stop. But because you cannot really know whether there will be a wedding here or not, or whether it will otherwise be crowded, you might not want to plan an entire trip out to this area around a visit to this beach.
The closest food trucks are going to be a bit north of this entrance, across the street from the second entrance for Big Beach. You will also find some food trucks typically parked within Makena State Park, which is worth a stop anyway if you are on this part of the island due to its own gorgeous beaches.