Poolenalena Beach, Maui, is an often overlooked Wailea-Makena jewel. You won't want to miss out on this awesome stretch of sand that's usually uncrowded and perfect for fun in sand and surf!
Poolenalena Beach, Maui: Activities
This beach doesn't tend to get nearly as crowded as others in the area, making it a sunbather's dream - take your pick from endless sunny spots!
If you want an extra secluded piece of sand to yourself, pick your way north along the beach, past the large gravel parking lot, and past a series of rocky outcroppings. You'll pass one mini-beach after another and they are all beautiful!
The further you go, the more secluded it gets. My 5 year old son and I were exploring here to see how far we could walk and ended up getting views that we never anticipated. We soon discovered that it gets so secluded that some folks use these parts for nude sunbathing. Just figured I'd let you in on that little secret so you're not caught off guard as I was!
It's nothing like Little Beach mind you (a nearby unofficial nude beach)... the small number of people who decided to forgo their bathing suits were more discreet here, staying well back from the water line - my son never even noticed them.
If you come in the morning when the water tends to be calm, you can snorkel near the rocky points at the north end of the beach, and also at the south end near the Makena Surf.
Calm waters make for great swimming too!
In the afternoon, the winds picked up and so did the waves. We took full of advantage of this and had a ball boogie boarding for hours! Fun, fun, fun! I know I've said this before, but I just HAVE to say it again: if you haven't tried boogie boarding yet, you really should try it, it's so much fun and it's super easy to learn on your own just by trial and error!
At the south end of the beach, follow the pretty hibiscus-lined path that winds it's way through the Makena Surf resort.
Alongside this walkway you'll find the stone ruins of a fishing heiau that is sacred to the Hawaiians. The area is considered KAPU (forbidden), so you can't walk through the ruins, but it's beautiful to see from afar all the same.
There are no lifeguards here. Signs warn of the potential for strong currents and a dangerous shorebreak.
If you enter the beach from the large gravel parking lot, resist the temptation to walk barefoot from your car to the beach. There are lots of kiawe trees here that you'll have to walk past on your way to the beach, and these trees have a nasty habit of dropping large thorns onto the ground below. The thorns can even pierce through the bottom of your flip flops, so please tread carefully.
There are showers near the Makena Surf. There are port-a-potties in the gravel parking lot at the north end of the beach.
The beach park is open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily.
To get here from Wailea, head south down Wailea Alanui Drive. It will change names to Makena Alanui Drive as you pass the sign for the Wailea Golf Club. The turn-off for the beach park will be on your right.
There is a large, free gravel parking lot at the north end of the beach with room for tons of cars - look for the yellow gates on the makai (ocean side) of Makena Alanui Road.
Alternatively, you can drive a little further south where you'll find 9 free stalls at the Makena Surf. You'll see a blue beach access sign, yellow gates, and cars parked in the lot parallel with the road. Once you park at the Makena Surf, you'll have to walk through the metal gate at the left side of the lot. (If you've passed the intersection with Makena Road, you went too far.)
A sign on the gate says it will remain unlocked from 7 a.m. until 20 minutes past sunset daily. From here, just follow the paved path to the ocean!
If you stay until the sun goes down, you'll be treated to a gorgeous view. The islands of Kahoolawe and Molokini are silhouetted against the glow, the waves sparkle in the dimming light...
As we watched the sunset, we were even treated to the sight of a couple getting married here - the sound of the conch shell sounded to mark the ceremony, the waves crashed, the palm trees rustled... pure magic!
Accommodations: The Makena Surf Resort
The Makena Surf Resort is a highly rated resort property that backs onto Poolenalena Beach.
The grounds are lush and beautiful - you can even pick your own bananas and other fruit from gardens maintained by the staff! How cool!
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