So after years of reading about it, we finally made it to Maui and paid our first visit to Little Beach. (also known as Secret Beach,) a glorious little spot that is clothing optional in the best sense of the word. There were about as many clothed people as nude, (all co-existing without a care) and a male to female ration of maybe 70/30, but it never really felt unbalanced. Nor did we experience the voyeurs some people have ranted about on TripAdvisor, though our neighboring, naked guy neighbor did seem a little gawky.
What I found most peculiar about the day was getting there. On such a beautiful island, where the climate is so idyllic and the beaches so plentiful, this was the only location we could come up with where we could count on there being an option for nudity at the end of the road. But the road getting there is like driving through the expansive resort villages near Disney World, with golf courses, neatly manicured gardens, and super-luxury hotels that would have used up our entire travel budget in a single night’s stay. (Geez – EVERYthing in Hawaii is SO expensive!) We kept watching the GPS as we made our way through the labyrinth of neatly paved roads crowded with tour vans and mega-expensive cars. Really? Five miles from the nude beach? Four miles? Two miles?
Then suddenly, Luxuryville ended, the road narrowed, and we started seeing signs for Makena State Park. And there we were, parking at the State Park (Free!), making our way past the food truck, and trying to figure out how far we’d be lugging all our stuff for the day given the various accounts on the internet about the “treacherous” walk to Little Beach.
Treacherous it was not – except for making our way across the blazing hot sand of Big Beach, which involved about a five minute walk to the other end of the beach, where we had to scramble up a few rocks (two minutes) then make our way down the easy path (another two minutes) to Little Beach. Suffice it to say, we’ve worked a lot harder to find our way to much lesser beaches.
According to the locals, it was unusually hot and humid on this mid-August day, and even under the beach umbrella we were suffering from the heat. Thankfully, the giant hot tub called the Pacific Ocean lay just a few meters away. The surf was rough – maybe more so than usual, given the distant passage of tropical storm Hilda – but the beach is typically notorious for its undertow which has swept more than a few people over into the rocks over the years. My lovely research assistant (who loves playing in the ocean, but hates cold water) got quite a ways out to dive into the waves, frolicking there for a long time until a boogie boarder just a bit farther out reported a shark sighting. Also not unusual, we hear, but a little scary for those who wish to keep all of their appendages intact.
Naked or not, Little Beach has the reputation of one of the most beautiful on Maui. We would concur on the basis of what we saw. The question is – why are there so few places to get naked in Hawaii? We found Maui to have such a laid-back attitude about nearly every aspect of life, except for the getting naked part.
We stayed in a small guest house in Lahaina, where we sat pining away in our swimsuits or cover-ups as a variety of surfers and beach combers made their way up and down the beach. Almost without fail, males wore long, over-the-knee swim trunks, and females wore breast hugging (if not enhancing) and butt exposing bikinis, leaving very little to the imagination. The irony to me is that on a nude beach, men and women are both naked and equal. On every other beach in Hawaii, it seems to me women are expected to “show off their goods” while men are modestly covered in long trunks, and as often as not, a t-shirt as well. Given all the rhetoric about the sexual implications of mixed gender nudity, the swimsuit inequality simply doesn’t make sense.
All that said, if you have the chance, get thee to Maui and find your way through the pricey resorts to this little slice of heaven where wet nylon is optional, and the sun and the sea are intoxicating. And oh… on that note, Little Beach is a State Park, and thus, no alcohol is allowed. Just to save you the trouble of packing in a case of beer or a bottle of wine. Or at least, to advise appropriate discretion if you do.
Live long, and surf naked.