Oneuli Beach is a black sand beach on the Wailea-Makena coastline that is hidden in plain sight. Nestled into the mineral-painted Makena caldera, this small cove provides a quiet getaway featuring soft dark sand and bright blue water.
Do not confuse Oneuli Beach with Maui’s more popular and famous Honokalani black sand beach, which is located in Waianapanapa State Park along the Road to Hana on the other side of the island. These are very different places providing very different experiences.
In this complete guide, you will learn everything you need to know about Oneuli Beach including how to get there, what to expect, photo inspiration, and more.
Looking for information on Honokalani? Learn more in this
COMPLETE GUIDE TO MAUI BLACK SAND BEACH / WAIANAPANAPA
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Oneuli Beach Photo Gallery
Discover what you can expect to see on a visit to this dark sand shore in these photos from Oneuli Beach.
As you may have noticed, the “black sand” is really more of a light greyish-gold, except when overcast skies are present.
Oneuli Beach Overview
- Nearest Town: Wailea
- Parking: Small gravel lot
- Public Bathrooms? Portapotty at parking lot
- Picnic Benches? No
- Showers? No
- Grills? No
- Lifeguard? No
Oneuli, meaning “dark sands” in Hawaiian, is a light-black sand beach nestled into the Makena caldera. It is one of only two black sand beaches on Maui and features scenic snorkeling and a bit of solitude along the Wailea-Makena coastline.
The sand gets its color from tiny pieces of crushed lava rock mixed with crushed seashells. Due to this, you’ll want to bring some beach shoes as it’s not particularly comfortable to walk on.
The beach is best for snorkeling rather than lounging or swimming, so make sure you pack your snorkel gear. With a large lava shelf just offshore, it is an incredible place for snorkeling and a great place to spot turtles, as well as the occasional manta ray and small sharks.
However, the sandy shore quickly gives way to lava rock at the water’s edge. This along with often strong currents and surf makes it less appealing for swimmers and casual beachgoers.
The parking lot’s close proximity to the shore also makes it a great place to launch a kayak or paddleboard.
While the beach is part of Makena State Park, there is no signage for the beach and the access road is not obvious. As a result, this dark sand destination is considered one of the best secret beaches in Maui.
For visitors seeking an atypical day in the sand or water, Oneuli Beach provides a truly unique experience.
How to Get to Oneuli Beach
With Navigation: Input “Oneuli Beach Access” into Google Maps to find the road that delivers you to the beach. The road has no signage but is indicated by a yellow gate (see photos below.)
DO NOT input just the name of the beach. This will result in being directed to a private residential community with no parking or access.
General Directions: The beach is located along Makena Road as you drive south from Wailea toward Makena. You will find the access road on your right as you drive south, but it can be difficult to locate as there is no signage or indication that it is the correct road. The only clue is a yellow gate as seen in the photo above.
It is worth noting that there is signage at the parking lot informing visitors that Oneuli Beach is part of Makena State Park. This signage includes notice that a $10 fee per vehicle / $5 fee per person is required for non-residents. However, there are no parking meters here so it’s unclear how to pay or how a lack of payment could be enforced.
When to Visit
Sunset is the best time to visit Oneuli Beach as the view is primarily westerly-facing and the dark sand becomes particularly photogenic when contrasted with the setting sun.
That said, any sunny afternoon is a good time to visit the beach, particularly if you are planning on snorkeling. The overhead sunlight provides better visibility in the water and makes for a more pleasant beach experience. However, the mornings often provide calmer waters.
If you are visiting with photography in mind, there is some benefit to shooting on an overcast day. Most notably, the sand which appears shades of light gold in sunlight takes on dark tones when shadowed.
Other Relevant Maui Guides
Before you go, you may want to skim some of the titles for other relevant Maui guides below to ensure you do not miss any epic beaches, sunset destinations, or noteworthy things to do during your visit to the Valley Isle!
HAWAII PACKING LIST: A printable essential packing list + 25 useful items to consider
5-7 DAY MAUI ITINERARY: How to see the entire island in one week or less
BEST MAUI PHOTO SPOTS: 15 best places for photographing Maui
MAUI SUNSETS: The Top 10 places & activities for watching sunset in Maui
SECRET BEACHES OF MAUI: A guide to the best-hidden beaches on the island