Makaleha is the Hawaiian name but its more commonly know as Polo beach. Located near the polo grounds on the North Shore of Oahu, it is the most established place for nudists. Beware though, just because it’s the most well-known, from a legal standpoint you can be sited under Hawaii’s current laws. Nudity in Hawaii runs a fine line and an ongoing battle exists to try and legalize areas for clothing optional users. The local news covered one such event.
Now I have my view on the subject but will wait to post it another time. For now though, let’s talk about the beach itself. Located about 150 yards off the main road the beach is fairly secluded. Nudism used to be closer to the polo grounds, hence the name. Back in 2004-2005 filming began for the Disney series Flight 29 Down. It was about a group of teens who crash landed on their way to Eco-adventure camp in the South Pacific. The main set was near the polo grounds which compromised the nudist who eventually moved several hundred yards down the beach to where they are now.
The beach fronts land owned by the state’s DLNR and is leased to a group who uses it to stable some horses. There are tall ironwood pines near the beach which can provide some shade should you get too hot. No bathrooms, water or trash there so please pack out what you bring in. Although others will clean your mess, you shouldn’t rely on them to do it for you.
During the winter when the sun drops a bit south, the shadows from the trees make finding a sunny spot a bit more challenging especially when crowded. Add to that the large surf which will erode the beach making it a steeper pitch to the water. It isn’t too wide to begin with so people tend to huddle where the sun is.
In the summer with the gentler surf, the beach builds back up, the water is warmer and the sun is higher while staying out longer. Swimmers will see all types of reef fish and turtles. Even a resting monk seal has been seen here. Sky divers and small aircraft are a constant overhead because of the small airfield nearby.
Clothing is optional here and there are those who choose all types of dress or undress. No one is looked upon differently. Occasionally there is the wandering tourist who doesn’t realize there is a nude section. Some choose to turn around, others will continue and enjoy their stroll. People will look, that’s natural and ok. Don’t gawk perversely or try sneaking pictures. If you want a picture then make sure you get permission first, it’s the polite thing to do.
Because this is a more established nude beach, the regulars tend to ensure frivolous activities don’t take place. A bit further down is a section of the nude beach that is, well let’s just say it’s a mostly male section. There are naupaka bushes where some take liberties with the extra coverage. Those who do are trespassing on the DLNR land and their activities are not condoned by the land occupants nor the beach regulars. It is because of these types of people that nudist get an ill perceived reputation. I won’t pretend that sex doesn’t happen, it’s just that I personally haven’t seen it there.
Polo beach is like any other established nudist area. Keep it clean, keep it decent but most of all enjoy and relax, it’s only natural.
A Hui Hoe