The beautiful Hawaiian island of Kauai has some of the best and most beautiful beaches in the state. The next time you plan a trip to Hawaii, you should definitely put these beaches on your list of places to visit. With all the different activities and amazing, breathtaking views, how could you not make these beaches your next vacation destination?
Ha’ena State Park, home to the Ha’ena Beach, is located an hour from the city of Lihue, which makes it easy to access for most visitors. The beach and park offer a number of activities and amenities for visitors.
The calm waters of the beach in the late summer months of July and August make it the ideal place to enjoy a dive in the ocean and swim. You can also go snorkeling since there are large reefs located just offshore which offer amazing sights.
If swimming isn’t your thing and you prefer to stay on the land, then Ha’ena State Park has other activities for you to enjoy as well. There are a number of hiking trails throughout the park to take advantage of. The state park is also home to many caves that are 4,000+ years old. Nature lovers are sure to love the trails that surround the beach and the picturesque scenery. This state park/beach also offers other amenities such as lifeguards on the beaches, a parking lot, picnic tables throughout, restrooms, showers and is handicap accessible.
Hanakapi’ai and Kalalau Beaches
Kalalau Trail starts at the Ha’ena State Park will lead you to the Napali Coast State Wildnerness Park. The trail was first constructed in the 1800s, but parts of it have been replaced over the years to make it safe for hikers. The total trail is approximately 11 miles along.
The first beach you will arrive at is Hanakapi’ai Beach. This beach is located just a few short miles away from Ha’ena State Park. It takes about a day to hike to and from this location and is the recommended stopping point for inexperienced hikers. Experienced hikers can continue on the trail for the duration and will arrive at Kalalau Beach.
Along the way, they will traverse valleys and cliffs with amazing views of the Pacific Ocean and waterfalls. If you are planning to hike the full 11 miles it is recommended that you have a camping permit for one of the campsites on the Kalalau Beach to stay the night as the full hike to and from cannot be completed in one entire day. In order to pass beyond Hanakapi’ai Beach, a camping permit is required. If you are not an experienced hiker, but would still like to take in the sites that the trail has to offer, don’t worry. Instead of hiking, the park offers both helicopter and boat tours.
Some of the cliffs of the Napali Coast State Park boast views of approximately 4,000 feet above the surface of the Pacific Ocean making for some of the most breathtaking views imaginable. The Hanakap’ai Beach and the Kalalau Beach are only reachable by hike and therefore do not have a place to park your car and are not handicap accessible. However, they offer other guest amenities such as campsites and restrooms.
Polihale Beach is located in Polihale State Park. Although it is a beautiful beach, it is often difficult to access. However, Polihale Beach is considered one of the best Kauai beaches due to the fact that it is difficult to reach. The beach is only accessible via a road that is five miles long, but it is very rough terrain. Most rental car companies on the island will not allow you to take a rental vehicle down the road. It is highly recommended that you only traverse this road in a vehicle with four-wheel drive. If seclusion is what you are looking for though then it may be worth exploring other vehicle alternatives. Since the park is so difficult to access, there are fewer people on Polihale Beach making it more of a private and quiet setting.
This beach is a great camping location, but if swimming is not recommended here. The Polihale Beach is home to some very dangerous rip currents. If you intend to camp on the beach, a permit is required to do so.
There are other activities to partake in while you are visiting the Polihale Beach as well. In addition to camping, you can also enjoy fishing and swimming at Queen’s Pond, which is the only safe place to swim. If you manage to access the beach via the rough terrain, the location offers handicap accessibility, campsites, picnic tables, pavilions, restrooms and showers for your convenience.