Maui is serene, blissful, and provides one of the greatest beach experiences in the State of Hawaii. Little Beach (Pu’u Olai Beach) and its sister, Big Beach (Oneloa Beach) in Makena, are two of the finest and most renowned beaches on Maui. While Big Beach is more family-friendly and is known as one of the island’s prime spots for skimboarding and bodyboarding, next-door neighbour Little Beach provides a party experience like no other.
Just north of Big Beach, this earthly paradise is a popular spot for Sunday afternoon drum circle parties and fire dancing. Take this how you will, but even Steven Tyler has joined in. Little Beach is one of the only nude sunbathing beaches on Maui although nudist numbers have dwindled due to increased camera and smartphone usage. Nevertheless, this hippie haven is truly unique and is certainly not one for faint-hearted.
On my maiden voyage there, I found myself sandwiched between three generations of a family of nudists, with only the very youngest of the bunch fully clothed interestingly. She shot me a telling glance as if to say “save me”. To my right was a sprightly gentleman who we named ‘Helicopter’. We watched him dancing along to the music on his own, throwing shapes, working his hips, buzzing around, never resting, talking or consuming anything at all for four entire hours. He was just at peace, alone in his thoughts yet wholly in sync with the music and the sunset. I wanted what he was having, and I got it.
There was certainly something in the air coming over us. It may have been the fumes burning away, but rather I suspect it was the unburdening and release from convention. The sheer freedom. No one cared what we did for a living, who we voted for or where we bought our groceries. We were just people, and we wanted to connect, dance and play without bravado as we did when we were children. We wanted to share our crayons, or in this case, body paint with those less fortunate and had left theirs back at Banana Bungalow. If the Hawaiian Tourism Board were to devise a slogan for Little Beach, it would be “Little Beach: clothing optional, but body paint, heck yeah”.
Disclaimer: one needn’t disrobe entirely to enjoy the festivities at Little Beach. The good old folks you encounter here are nonplussed whether you keep your bikini on or off.
Rosie Bell is an international travel writer, author of the book “Escape To Self”, and content editor for Club Elsewhere. Follow her on Instagram @TheBeachBell.