Hā‘ena Beach Kaua’i is a beautiful stretch of golden sand situated at the eastern end of the breath-taking Nā Pali Coast. Known for its intense surf, it is also remarked on for Maniholo Dry Cave, which is right across the street and is fun to explore. You’ll see backpackers relaxing and getting ready to take on the famous and grueling Nā Pali Coast Trail. A short walk down the beach will lead to Mākua Beach, the enchanting film site for South Pacific.
Hā‘ena Beach History
Originally an ancient Hawaiian settlement, Hā‘ena Beach was inhabited from roughly 1000 A.D. until the 1800s. Inside the Hā‘ena Beach Park boundaries, a large, protected archaeological complex remains; within its confines are numerous house sites, burials, and storage pits. The vestiges of an ancient aquaculture fishpond and wetland called Waikapala‘i Marsh or Loko Ke‘e can still be seen today. As of 2008, plans have been in the works for revitalization of the fishpond, wetlands, and ancient kalo (taro) growing terraces.
Hā‘ena Beach Facilities
Hā‘ena Beach Park has ample parking, picnic tables, restrooms, drinking water, and showers. There is plenty of shade and a grassy area. Tent camping is allowed by permit.
Hā‘ena Beach Swimming Conditions
Swimming at Hā‘ena Beach is not recommended due to the pounding shore break, strong current, and sudden drop off of the sea floor. Surfing here is good, but only if you are highly experienced. As with all Hawaiian beaches, check the current conditions and pay heed to all posted signs regarding ocean conditions and safety.
How to Get There
From Līhue, take Kūhiō Highway (56) north. In Princeville 56 will turn into Highway 560. Continue west on 560. Just before mile marker 9 you’ll see Maniholo Dry Cave on the left and Hā‘ena Beach Park on the right.