Paukukalo Beach (Driftwood beach in Maui)

Paukukalo Beach: One of the Closest Beaches to the Maui Airport

Landing in Maui and looking to pop onto the closest beach? If so, you might end up seeing Paukukalo Beach on the GPS and think that it is worth popping over to get your first Maui beach experience. While it’s insulting to call any location in Maui anything other than paradise, this probably isn’t the beach that you want to stop at.

Paukukalo Beach Location

Paukukalo Beach is really close to the airport and the action of the Wailuku/Kahului area. You probably know this area as the area where Costco and Walmart are.

If you do drive out to the beach you will see that you have to drive through a local’s neighborhood, and NOT a hotel resort area.

The actual beach is just northwest of the airport.

Paukukalo Beach
Paukukalo Beach parking
Paukukalo Beach parking

What To Expect at Paukukalo Beach

Unfortunately, this beach is not super pretty. In fact, I’ve heard it described as “Driftwood Beach.” With rocks and driftwood lining the shores it isn’t a great place to sun.

The shore is made up of a lot of bigger rocks rather than the beautiful white sand on most of the island.

This side of the island gets a lot more wind, which can also make it less than ideal.

Paukukalo Beach
Paukukalo Beach

Locals Don’t Want Tourists to Visit

Even if you did want to visit, I still recommend that you don’t. I recommend this because it is quite evident that the locals would prefer you didn’t.

There are multiple hand painted signs that said that the beach was for local residents only. While they weren’t the authoritative government signs, I still think it is worth respecting the local wishes. The Maui residents have to deal with tourists overrunning most of their island anyway, so if they want this area to themselves, let them have it.

Something also tells me that they don’t have a hard time enforcing their desire to keep tourists out of the area anyway.

Skip the Driftwood Shore and Visit Kanaha Beach Instead

If you do want to go to a beach immediately from the Maui Airport, I highly recommend Kanaha Beach instead. It is even closer to the airport and features the post card look you expect when you think of a Maui beach.

What to Pack for Maui

  • Quick Dry Travel Towel – This quick dry towel is amazing to travel with. It really will come in handy when you need extra room in your suitcase.
  • Snorkeling gear – for obvious reasons.
  • Sandals – LOVE these Birkenstocks.
  • Tank tops – Free people is my go to place to buy cute and affordable tank tops (Depending on the style of course). I have this tighten up tank in almost every color.
  • Hat – essential. Shop the newest hats at Nordstrom.
  • Shorts – Anyone who is traveling to Hawaii needs a good pair of shorts. Khakis are great for guys. For women, cute athletic shorts or denim shorts are perfect for a breezy summertime look. These denim shorts are my current favorites! These high waisted athletic shorts have gone viral on instagram and for good reason, they are AMAZING.
  • Dresses– Packing a few good dresses is essential for Hawaii. Dresses have become my go to on trips to help quickly put an outfit together.
  • Beach cover-up – Having at least one good cover-up is essential on any beach trip. I recommend ASOSNordstrom and Revolve as well.
  • Tennis Shoes – I guess you could wear sandals hiking this trail but I would recommend tennis shoes. It can get narrow and slippery in parts. These Nike high tops are my current favs. They look so cute with shorts too!

OUR MOST POPULAR POSTS ON MAUI HAWAII

My husband and I have been to Hawaii many times and have written up more blog posts to help you plan your trip. These are my most popular Maui blog posts and Hawaii travel guides to help you plan your trip.

Best Things to do in Maui: 10 Cool Things to do in Maui Hawaii

The Best and Most Easily Accessible Maui Waterfalls: 6 Easily Accessible Maui Waterfalls

The Best Beach in Maui!: Guide to Visiting the Red Sand Beach, Maui

What to Pack for Hawaii: The Ultimate Hawaii Packing List

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting the Hawaiian Islands – and what to expect on each island: What To Expect On Each Of The Hawaiian Islands

OUR MOST POPULAR POSTS ON MAUI HAWAII

My husband and I have been to Hawaii many times and have written up more blog posts to help you plan your trip. These are my most popular Maui blog posts and Hawaii travel guides to help you plan your trip.

Best Things to do in Maui: 10 Cool Things to do in Maui Hawaii

The Best and Most Easily Accessible Maui Waterfalls: 6 Easily Accessible Maui Waterfalls

The Best Beach in Maui!: Guide to Visiting the Red Sand Beach, Maui

What to Pack for Hawaii: The Ultimate Hawaii Packing List

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting the Hawaiian Islands – and what to expect on each island: What To Expect On Each Of The Hawaiian Islands

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