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Beaches

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Total Number of Articles - 61
  • Salt Pond Beach Park

    A great family spot, Salt Pond Beach Park features a naturally made, shallow swimming pond behind a curling finger of rock where keiki (children) splash and snorkel. This pool is generally safe except during a large south swell, which usually occurs in summer, if at all. The center and western edge of the beach is popular with bodyboarders and bodysurfers. On a cultural note, the flat stretch of land to the east of the beach is the last spot in Hawaii where ponds are used to harvest salt in the dry heat of summer. The beach park is popular with locals and can get crowded on weekends and holidays. Amenities: lifeguard; parking; showers, toilets. Best For: swimming; sunset; walking.

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  • Puu Poa Beach

    The coastline along the community of Princeville is primarily made up of sea cliffs with a couple of pockets of beaches. The sea cliffs end with a long, narrow stretch of beach just east of the Hanalei River and at the foot of the St. Regis Princeville Resort. Public access is via 100-plus steps around the back of the hotel; hotel guests can simply take the elevator down to sea level. The beach itself is subject to the hazards of winter's surf, narrowing and widening with the surf height. On calm days, snorkeling is good thanks to a shallow reef system pocked with sand. Sometimes a shallow sandbar extends across the river to Black Pot Beach Park, part of the Hanalei Beach system, making it easy to cross the river. On high-surf days, the outer edge of the reef near the river draws internationally ranked surfers. The resort's pool is off-limits to nonguests, but the restaurants and bars are not. Amenities: food and drink; parking. Best For: surfing; snorkeling; sunset.

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  • Polihale State Park

    The longest stretch of beach in Hawaii starts in Kekaha and ends about 15 mi away at the start of Napali Coast. At the Napali end of the beach is the 5-mi-long, 140-acre Polihale State Park. In addition to being long, this beach is 300 feet wide in places and backed by sand dunes 50 to 100 feet tall. Polihale is a remote beach accessed via a rough, 5-mi haul-cane road (four-wheel drive preferred but not required) at the end of Route 50 in Kekaha. Be sure to start the day with a full tank of gas and a cooler filled with food and drink. Many locals wheel their four-wheel-drive vehicles up and over the sand dunes right onto the beach, but don't try this in a rental car. You're sure to get stuck and found in violation of your rental car agreement.

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  • Poipu Beach Park

    The most popular beach on the South Shore, and perhaps on all of Kauai, is Poipu Beach Park. The snorkeling's good, the bodyboarding's good, the surfing's good, the swimming's good, and the fact that the sun is almost always shining is good, too. The beach can be crowded at times, especially on weekends and holidays, but that just makes people-watching that much more fun. You'll see keiki (children) experiencing the ocean for the first time, snorkelers trying to walk with their flippers on, ukulele players, birthday party revelers, young and old, visitors and locals. Even the endangered Hawaiian monk seal often makes an appearance. Amenities: lifeguards; parking; showers; toilets; food and drink. Best For: swimming, snorkeling, partiers, walking.

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  • Pali Ke Kua Beach

    This is actually two very small pocket beaches separated by a narrow rocky point. The beach area itself is narrow and can all but disappear in wintertime. However, in summer, the steep, rocky trail (don't trust the rusty handrails and rotting ropes) that provides access reduces the number of beachgoers, at times creating a deserted beach feel. With patches of reef and a combination sandy/rocky bottom, the swimming and snorkeling can be good, although winter's high surf creates dangerous conditions. Don't attempt the trail after a heavy rain—it turns into a mudslide. Amenities: parking. Best For: surfing; snorkeling; sunset.

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