Family Friendly Beaches | Makua Beach Oahu

Escape the Crowds

You would think that living on a small island would encourage you to explore it regularly. Yet a trip from Kailua to town is rare for us while a trip to the North Shore may only happen a half dozen times a year. Most of our time is spent in a fairly small radius of our home. And we’re not alone. When I meet with other Kailua families, we talk about the north shore fondly as a far off land. But the leeward side of Oahu? No one ever goes there.

As an Oahu photographer, I hold most of my sessions at the beach. This has made me a weather expert, or rather, a person obsessed with the weather. The combined effects of wind, clouds, waves, and tide greatly affect a simple day at the beach.

And so, on this particular Sunday, with the day stretched out before us I browsed the weather report. Gloomy skies and high winds were uninspiring on the windward side, but I discovered conditions on the leeward side looked perfect.

Similar to Waikiki, the leeward coast sits in the rain shadow of the mountains meaning less rain and wind and more sunshine. We left the gloom behind and made the long drive west to Makua Beach.

beautiful calm waters at makua beach oahu

A Perfect Beach Evening

We arrived late as most of the beach crowd was leaving after a long day in the sun. The kids made an immediate beeline to the tidal shelf which was exposed at low tide. They immersed themselves in an imaginary world where they made potions of ground limu and sand to sell in a makeshift shop.

My knee was injured but I hobbled around taking photos and watching spinner dolphins flip and spin dramatically offshore. The mountains stretched tall and green behind us while the sea seemed to stretch on forever. It felt wild and remote and filled me with a sense of awe. Why don’t we come here more often?

As the sun melted into the horizon, we spent the last bit of daylight examining anemones and crabs in the tidepools and tossing a Frisbee. After a stop on the way home for poke bowls, the kids declared it “the best day ever”.

body boarders surf at Makua beach leeward oahu
boy playing on the rocks at makua
siblings exploring tide pools at makua beach hawaii
girl in the water with sunflare
boy exploring tide pools at family friendly beaches at Makua by little bird photography
boy jumping to catch fish with a net in hawaii
waianae mountains at sunset
portrait of a boy with a fishing net at sunset in hawaii
waves at makua beach oahu
boy running towards the water with a body board at makua beach in hawaii
girl searching the tide pool at sunset in hawaii
portrait of a girl standing in the tide pool at family friendly makua beach oahu
boy looking out at the surf at sunset on oahu
closeup portrait of kids exploring anemones in hawaii tidepools
siblings exploring hawaii tidepools at sunset
silhouette of a boy catching a Frisbee at sunset in hawaii
girl wrapped in a towel at sunset in hawaii

Need a Winter Beach Alternative?

If the surf is up and Makua is too rough, you try Pokai Beach Park which is protected. And if you want more tips for fun family adventures on Oahu, sign up for the Little Bird Post below.

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