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PRINCEVILLE BEACHES


 

Drive to the Beach on Kauai's North Shore

 

BEACHES TO THE WEST

      - Hanakapi'ai

      - Ke'e Beach and Park

      - Ha'ena
      - Tunnels Beach
      - Lumaha'i [South Pacific]
      - Hanalei Bay Beach
      - Princeville Hotel Beach
      - Hideways Beach

      - Queens Bath

BEACHES TO THE EAST
     -  Wyllies Beach
      - Anini Beach & Park
      - Kalihiwai Beach
      - Secret Beach
      - Kilauea Bay
      - Waiakalua Beaches
      - Larsen's Beach
      - Moloa'a Beach
     
     

Starting from the far west of the Cliffs Resort
-
Hanakapi'ai Beach
-- 30 min drive plus 1 hour hike -- Hanakapi'ai beach is accessible only by hiking 2 miles [and 500 vertical feet] of the NaPali trail.  Once there, the adventurer is rewarded with a 500 ft wide beach, a freshwater stream, and a few small sea caves.  The beach is lovely sand from May to September and just boulders during the winter months.  There are usually a dozen or so visitors.   Do not  swim at this beach due to dangerous surf, do not drink the water from the stream, and use care on the trail -- especially in rainy weather -- as it is very muddy and slippery.  More info and photos....

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- Ke'e Beach and Park -- 30 min, 10 miles from Cliffs Resort--
Ke'e Beach is literally the end of the road and marks the beginning of the NaPali coast and back country hiking trails.  The beach itself offers stunning views, good snorkeling with friendly fish and turtles, and fine swimming.  Good reef protection assures safe swimming even when the rest of the north shore has high surf.  You -- and perhaps 500 other visitors -- park in an improved lot next to showers and rest rooms.  You can walk to your right about 1/2 mile until you get to Limahuli River.  The adjoining land is Ha'ena State Park so there is no commercial development nor houses.  More info and photos....

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-Ha'ena Beach and Park -- 25 min 9 1/2 miles --
Ha'ena County Park provides beachfront camping for up to a few hundred people.  Most times we've visited,  the campground is nearly full.  Ha'ena beach and Tunnels Beach connect together and together form 1 1/2 miles of golden sandy shore.  Swimming in summer is fine at Ha'ena, but many people walk a 1/2 mile to the right [east] to the better snorkeling and calmer waters of Tunnels Beach. 

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- Tunnels Beach -- 25 min 9 miles from Cliffs Resort--

Tunnels beach is a postcard perfect beach and a favorite for year round snorkeling and swimming spot due to  good reef protection. The Tunnels beach is probably 1/2 mile long and is sheltered by a forest of ironwoods that at times provides welcome shade from the tropical sun.  The adjoining land is residential meaning  there are houses behind the sand.  There are no commercial establishments along the beach.  More info and photos....

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- South Pacific Beach  -- 15 min 4 miles from Cliffs Resort--
[Properly called Lumahai Beach]
This is the beach where the film South Pacific was filmed. The beach is a little over a half  mile long, slightly crescent shaped,  and absolutely gorgeous. However  there is no reef protection and swimming is dangerous. We've never seen more than 20 people on this beach. The setting is rustic and every bit as original as when the movie was filmed a half century ago.  More info and photos....

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- Hanalei Bay Beach -- 10 min 3 miles from Cliffs Resort--
This 1 mile long beach has calm water and excellent swimming. While officially a town beach, it's far enough to the west of town that it feels rural. There is about one visitor for about every 100 ft of sand.  Hanalei Bay Beach is so serene that it is celebrated in song in hula and featured on travel posters.    The beautiful pastel colored waters are fine for year round swimming, fishing, windsurfing, canoe paddling, kayaking, snorkeling, and beginning surfing.  There is a pavilion, restrooms, picnic tables, parking, and excellent shade.  More info and photos....

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- Princeville Hotel Beach -- 5 min 1 mile from Cliffs Resort --
[Properly called Puu Poa Beach]
This is the 1000 foot long beach used by the Princeville hotel and Hanalei Bay Resort guests. It looks like your major resort hotel beach, complete with water toy rentals.  Since beaches in Hawaii are public, you too can use it.  While never crowded, it definitely gets more visitors than many of the beaches which require driving.   The waters are very calm making for excellent year round swimming.  Snorkeling requires a bit of swimming, but is also good.  More info and photos....  

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- Hideaways Beach -- 5 min 1 mile from Cliffs Resort--
This is an intimate 300 ft long beach used mostly by Pali Ke Kua Condo guests, but open to anyone.  It is accessed by an improved footpath down 200 vertical feet [about 300 steps].  There is calm water, nice swimming, great snorkeling, and good shade.  The beach is neither crowded nor big.  I think the most we've seen is 6 groups enjoying the fine golden sand and tropical blue waters.  More info and photos....

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Queens Bath -- 5 min 1/2 mile  plus 10 minute walk --
Lacking sand, it may not be correct to call Queens Bath a beach   Still, it's a favorite swimming and gathering spot so it rates a special mention.   Queens bath is a 10+ foot depression in the lava rock at the base of the Princeville cliffs.  Waves break on the outer wall every few minutes and refresh the water in Queens Bath.  The swimming is good [for those who do not need to touch bottom], and the setting is spectacular.  See the picture to the right to appreciate Queens Bath.

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Starting from the Cliffs Resort and going East

Wyllies Beach -- 10 min 2 miles from Cliffs Resort
Wyllies Beach is the west most portion of Anini Beach.  What makes it interesting is that you walk from Princeville down an old wagon road.  Follow these directions:  Take Wyllies road [2nd left when leaving the Cliffs Resort and heading toward the highway on the main Princeville road].  Walk .3 mils to a spot where the road turns left.  Leave the pavement and walk along the tree line until a path descends.  500 steps [about 1/3 mile] will bring you to Wyllies beach.  Cross Anini stream and you can walk for 1 1/2 miles along the beach.  More info and photo's in the Anini Beach Page.

 

- Anini Beach -- 10 min  4 miles from Cliffs Resort --
Actually Anini Beach to the west and  Kalihikai Beach in the middle and Hanapai beach farthest to the east.    When driving, you will first pass Hanapai beach which is used by surfers because the reef protection is absent.  Then you will pass Kalihika beach which has houses between the road and the sand.  Finally you come to Anini Beach Park where the roadway is under 1000 feet from the water [combination grassy picnic grounds and prime sandy beach].  There are restrooms, showers, covered picnic facilities, parking, and even camping [with a permit].

Taken together the sandy portion is at least  1 1/2 miles long and offers some of the north shore's most tranquil waters [except for Hanapai].  The swimming and snorkeling are good in Anini and Kalihikai areas because of the fine reef protection. There are windsurfer and kayak rentals too.  Commercial facilities are very limited, so bring your lunch and whatever you need.  The Anini beach area is less crowded than Kee, Princeville, or Tunnels beaches, but more crowded than any others mentioned.  More info and photos....

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- Kalimiwai Beach -- 10 min 3 miles from Cliffs Resort --
This is a smaller beach in a nice cove that is bounded by sheer rock on one side and a rolling green hill on the other side.  The picturesque setting includes the Kalihiwai River which has a large lagoon.   Swimming is fine and surf remains low year round.  The beach is fine white sand.  Little children love to splash in the Kalihiwai river lagoon.  Older kids enjoy a rope swing with it's drop into the blue pacific.   More info and photos....

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- Secret Beach -- 10 min. 4 miles plus 10 min walk --
[Properly called Kauaea Beach]
This is another huge beach, nearly  1 1/2 miles long with fine white sand, black lava rock, stunning cliff backdrops, lush vegetation, and enchanting waterfalls.  The setting is entirely rustic -- except for the  houses you can see on the hilltop -- and can only be reached by a 10 minute 150 foot vertical path.   Swimming on this beach is dangerous any time of the year because there is no reef protection.  Parental discretion is necessary as the ends tend to be clothing optional.   Nude swimmers and all-over tan seekers will almost certainly be encountered unless one stays within a few hundred feet of the end of the access path.  More info and photos....

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Kilauea Bay -- 15 min. 7 miles --
[Also called Quarry Beach]
Kilauea Bay Beach is in a small cove at the end of the placid Kilauea River and bordered by tree covered hills and a rock quarry.  There are no homes or commercial developments to be seen.  You might be lucky and have the beach to yourself.  More often the semi-seclusion of this beach is broken by the anxiety caused by the Kauai homeless who unofficially camp at Kilauea Beach.  While the seas are calm, enthusiasm for swimming is mitigated by murky conditions.  For a more private visit, try walking around the point to the right-- the next beach to the east lacks road access and is too far to carry backpacks.  More info and photos....

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- Waiakulua & Pila Beach  -- 15 min. 8 miles plus 10 min walk --
These beaches feature nice sand and very few people.  The snorkeling is acceptable, but the swimming is meager due to rock and coral in the water.   The setting is rustic -- permitting one to enjoy the beach in whatever fashion they choose.  The parking lot holds room for fewer than 10 cars and the beach requires following a well marked but steep200 vertical foot trail for a 10 minutes.  More info and photos....

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- Larsens Beach -- 30 min. 14 miles --
Larsens beach is totally rustic. There are no homes or commercial developments to be seen.  The beach is narrow and rocky in spots, but if you are looking for that ideal place to get away from everything and everyone, Larsens beach may be your place.   The reef is very close to the shore which means you have to be careful where you swim.  At the same time this means the whole area is great for snorkeling.  And the 2 miles is  excellent for beach combing.  You may see 2 or 3 other groups of people in the whole 2 miles expanse;  some may be illegally camping while others may be seeking a quiet  au-naturel afternoon getaway.   More info and photos....

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- Moloa'a Beach -- 30 min 16 miles --
Moloaa Bay is another fabulous beach nestled in a 1/3 mile wide bay with good reef protection.  Once upon a time, the visitor was assured of having this spot of paradise all to themselves.  But starting in the mid 1990's homes have been developed along the beachfront very close to the sand.  Now you feel like you are swimming in someone's back yard.  You can get a less obtrusive feeling if you walk to the sides of the bay.  The reef holds down the surf and offers nice snorkeling when seas are mellow.  More info and photos....


 

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