If you find the surf too strong and high at Big Beach, and your vehicle can't negotiate the rutted Indiana Jones-like "road" to Black Sand Beach, then your family will appreciate Maluaka Beach, the first main beach north of the above, in the Makena area. There are two ways of accessing this beach. The southern access, via Makena Road, is a long walk to the beach from the parking lot. Instead, you might want to use the access from the north end. From the main Wailea-Makena highway, turn down Honoliki Street to a T-intersection at the bottom, and turn left (south). A short way down you will see a cute little church, Keawalai, across from which is the second parking lot. If you have gear to drop off, continue a short distance and find a small turnout right at the north end of the beach, where drop-off is permitted. You can bring your vehicle back to the parking lot and if you arrive in early to mid-morning you can find parking there. Bonus: there are washrooms and foot-showers at the lot entrance.
The beach has lots of sand for kids and families and great bodysurfing/boogieboard surfing. There is a reef at the north end with great snorkeling, at least in the morning. The water depth is good in that the reef is not too close to the surface. We saw the odd sea turtle, many varieties of tropical fish, moray eels, even octopus. As you step into the water to snorkel the reef, watch for rocks close in, often obscured by wave-tossed sand.
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