Paukukalo Beach: One of the Closest Beaches to the Maui Airport
Landing in Maui and looking to rush 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. If you are familiar with the area at all 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 neighborhood; it is definitely NOT a hotel resort area.
The actual beach is just northwest of the airport. The drive there from the rental car facility is less than 15 minutes.
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.
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, I say 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 postcard 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.
- Hiking boots – I have two pairs of hiking boots that I love. My Columbia waterproof boots and my Salomon hiking boots. Highly recommend checking them both out!
- Sandals – LOVE these Teva’s! They are my new go to travel sandal. Shop my favorite Teva’s here. They are great to wear in the water snorkeling and also amazing for hiking in Hawaii.
- Dresses for Hawaii – Packing a few good dresses is essential for Hawaii. Dresses have become my go to on trips to help quickly put an outfit together. Revolve is one of my go to shops for beach dresses. ASOS also has great summer dresses.
- 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 Levi denim shorts are my current favorites! These high waisted athletic shorts have gone viral on instagram and for good reason, they are AMAZING.
- Sports bra – This SKIMS bra is the most comfortable sports bra you will ever wear! Trust me. I travel with 5 of them. Also, highly recommend checking out the SKIMS fits everybody bra is to die for as well.
- Agolde 90’s jeans – I actually can’t remember the last trip I have been on where I haven’t brought these Agolde jeans. I have them in multiple colors and sizes. Check out my full review here.
- Tank tops – Free people is my go to place to buy cute and affordable tank tops. I have this tighten up tank in almost every color.
- Hat – essential. Shop the newest hats at Nordstrom.
- Beach cover-up – Having at least one good cover-up is essential on any beach trip. I recommend ASOS, Nordstrom and Revolve as well.
- Tennis Shoes – I guess you could wear sandals hiking the trails in Maui but I would recommend tennis shoes or hiking boots. It can get narrow and slippery in parts. These New Balance shoes are amazing. Only problem is they sell out so fast! Blah. They look so cute with shorts too!
- Packing cubes – I always go to Urban Outfitters for my packing cubes. They have the cutest ones!