Punalau Beach (aka "Windmills")

Punalau Beach Windmills Maui
Overview: Looking for a gorgeous Maui beach that most tourists don't even know about? Punalau Beach is a strip of white sand that visitors driving to Nakalele Blowhole routinely pass right by.

You can't really see the beach from the road (and the access is 4WD), but it only requires a 2 minute walk to reach from the road on foot. The swimming is poor and the reef is razor sharp, but it's an awesome place to search for shells or stop and just listen to the breeze. Since surf in winter can top 10-20 feet, surfing "The Mill" is locals only—so don't even think about it if you're visiting.

Sometimes locals will camp at the beach, and while it's rarely enforced, technically the camping is on private land and you're doing so at your own risk .

Good For: Beachcombing, views, hearing yourself think, stretching your legs on the drive to Nakalele blowhole, watching professional surfers in winter.

Not So Good For: Swimming, snorkeling, your first time surfing, visiting in a rental car.

Maui Expert Tip For Punalau Beach: Park where the dirt road meets the highway and walk the rest of the way down (2 minutes). Don't leave valuables inside of your car—it's a popular spot for break-ins.
Directions and Parking Situation: Drive four miles north from the Kapalua entrance and look for the dirt pullout on the left side of the road.

If you have a 2WD vehicle then park at the top of the dirt road (and remember to not leave valuables in your car), and if you have a 4WD vehicle then you'll likely be able to drive the short road to the beach.

Facilities: None. Pack it in pack it out.