Kapukahehu Beach (Dixie Maru Cove)

Kapukahehu Beach and Dixie Maru Cove: Hit the Waves at One of Molokai's Most Swimmable Beaches
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

When you want to hit the water but struggle to find a swimmable beach on the island of Molokai, head to Kapukahehu Beach. Also known as  Dixie Maru Cove, this pleasant enclave offers picture-perfect views and a serene atmosphere. It's a great location for a quiet beach outing, complete with swimming, snorkeling, and picnicking. 

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

When you visit the beach, are you content to stay ashore and soak in the sun? Or do you prefer to spend most of your time playing in the waves? If the latter reflects your idea of the ‘perfect’ Hawaiian beach experience, you’ll definitely want to hit up Kapukahehu Beach.

It might be small, but this beach otherwise has everything you need: sand to soak your toes in and a reasonably safe way to enjoy the water.

This beach is also referred to as Dixie Maru Cove. The alternate name plays into the beach’s intriguing history. Nearly a century ago, a Japanese sailboat was wrecked nearby. Its nameplate (featuring the title “Dixie Maru”) was eventually retrieved and displayed at the beach. 

Kapukahehu Beach stands in stark contrast to many others in the area. After all: the unfortunate reality of the ‘typical’ Molokai beach experience is that, while many local destinations are excellent for hiking or sunbathing, they’re often not conducive to swimming. Thankfully, exceptions exist — and Kapukahehu Beach is especially appealing.

This small, but appealing beach destination is surrounded by lava outcroppings. Shaped like a half-moon, the bay provides an element of shelter against the choppiest water. As such, you and your loved ones can comfortably swim here on calm days. Snorkeling is also possible here, although the water on the north end is often murky.

Whether you swim or snorkel, keep in mind: high surf arrives on occasion — and this can deliver dangerously strong currents. On such occasions, you’re best off avoiding the water. 

While this area’s typically mild waters should provide some peace of mind, this is still a swim-at-your-own-risk territory. There are no lifeguards on site, so only skilled and confident swimmers should tackle the water. 

As we’ve mentioned, amenities are few and far between at this location. The main positive (other than, of course, the views and the calm water) is that the parking lot is large enough to accommodate all visitors — not to mention, very close to the beach. There are also a handful of picnic tables, so you can enjoy a relaxed lunch. A porta-potty can be found by the parking lot, but there are no flush toilets. The parking lot also has a shower, so you’re welcome to rinse off when you’re ready to leave.

Enjoy a leisurely beach experience at Kapukahehu Beach, which offers a diverse array of activities to keep you and your companions happy. Whether you find yourself swimming, snorkeling, or sunbathing, you’ll have a great time at this secluded cove. 

Insider Tips:
-This beach may be swimmable, but many visitors complain that it’s not particularly walkable. The path between the parking lot and the beach is an especially frequent source of the complaint. Do yourself a favor and bring a high-quality pair of sandals or water shoes. Unless they’re especially thick, your average pair of flip-flops probably won’t provide enough protection against the thorns and mud that you’re likely to encounter.
-If you bring a picnic, take advantage of the onsite tables. The thorns that cause problems when walking on the path to the beach are also abundant under the shade of the kiawe trees.