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Makena Golf & Beach Club, Maui, Hawai‘i

The aspiration of Discovery Land Company’s Makena Golf & Beach Club is for its members to achieve a state of active nirvana. With the wealth of outdoor activities to be found in this Discovery community that stretches from makai to mauka—from the sea up the mountain slope—finding ways to achieve that state is as easy as strolling outside. Whale-watching, stand-up paddleboarding off Maluaka Beach, or swimming with pods of dolphins create unforgettable moments of Hawaiian magic. At the rocky outcropping of Makena Landing, members and guests can join in private guided snorkel explorations through turquoise waters past hidden underwater caves home to enormous Hawaiian green sea turtles called honu. Stand-up paddleboards are available from the oceanfront Outdoor Pursuits hale on the soft sands of Maluaka Beach; on Sunday morning, the sound of hymns sung in Hawaiian can be heard wafting from Keawala‘i Church, established in 1832.

The entire Makena area welcomes outdoor adventurers beyond the 1,800 acres of the Discovery community, where hikers can test themselves on trails steeped in local history and culture. The rocky Hoapili Trail—originally a walking path used by Hawaiian nobility to visit coastal villages—follows La Perouse Bay’s southern shore, where the remnants of those long-ago settlements are still visible on the side of the lava-rock trail. Avid hikers will also appreciate the trail that begins at Oneuli Beach and rises steeply to the top of Pu‘u Ola‘i, a 360-foot cinder cone that offers a panorama of Maui, Lana‘i, and beyond. Beachside plans at Makena include a world-class spa, a fitness center, children’s center, premier dining, luxurious pools and cabanas, and a Michael Phelps designed lap pool. Inland there’s the challenging 18-hole golf course and a practice facility with lounge chairs, music, and an outdoor bar, creating what is surely the island’s most comfortable and lively driving range. Bright green paspalum grass now extends to the base of dry-stacked lava-rock walls, bursts of orange, pink, and red bougainvillea infuse the recently upgraded course with vivid color, and many holes offer a sweeping ocean view—truly a course to rival any of the best in Hawai‘i.

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