Lydgate Beach Park is one of the most family friendly public places on the island of Kauai. Lydgate Beach Park was named after Rev. John Lydgate, a civic leader and former church pastor of Lihue Union Church and Koloa Church; several his descendants still live in the Wailua area and are active in the Kauai community.
This is a nice family beach park with plenty of amenities. One of the park's biggest highlights is the large, double-sectioned rock enclosed pools (built in 1964) which allow for a nice dip without being exposed to the ocean's pull. The smaller pool, to the left, is perfect for toddlers and even babies; the larger pool is great for children of all ages and one can often see fish that swim in and out through the holes in the man made rock walls. Swimming outside the pools can be tricky; so be very mindful before going in the water; even though a life guard tower is nearby.
After large rain storms, drift wood is often washed into the pools from the nearby Wailua river. Community volunteers organize to remove the debris. Most of the parks facilities have been built by volunteers organized by the not for profit Friends of Kamalani.
In addition to the pools, Lydgate Park has a multitude of interesting things to do. There is a 2.5 mile walking and bike path which stretches all the way down to Kamalani Kai Play Bridge at a beach commonly called Kitchens. Along the path, there are several pavillions with picnic tables. There are 2 amazing playgrounds at Lydgate Park. Just across the road from the pools, past the large pavillion, is Kalamani Playground which was built by local volunteers in 1994. It is a paradise for young children with multiple slides, swings, climbing areas and faciliities for children of all ages. At the south end of the park, Kalamani Kai Bridge is another amazing structure. The bridge was designed by local children themselves and is a fascinating maze of criss-crossing pathways and towers which form a bridge over the road below. It is a favorite place for a game of tag or hide and seek.
At the north end of Lydgate Park, lies the river mouth of the Wailua river. The Great Sacred Wailua was the birth place of royalty in ancient Hawaii and multiple Heiaus (Hawaiian temples) line the river from mountain top to the ocean. Hikinaakala Heiau, is located at the river mouth as is Hauola, a place of refuge for those who broke Kapu. When visiting the Heiau, do not enter the compound or disturnb any stones; these are archaelogical sites that date back to 800 AD. Moreover, these places are still actively used and caretaken by people. There are several interpretive signs near the Heiau which give a little bit of historical background about the sights.
It is common to see people fishing near the Heiau as the river mouth is a great place to fish. There are also some petroglyphs on rocks which are seasonally buried and exposed by the shifting river sands.
If all this wasn't enough, there is also a large lawn for flying kites or general play, a huge pavillion large capable of holding several people where locals often have large parties, several sets of bathrooms, outdoor showers, numerous interpretive signs along the path and even several soccer fields available for public use. The only downside to Lydgate Park is the waste water treatment plant nearby which can blow it's unpleaseant aroma your way when the winds are behaving unfavorably.
To get to Lydgate from the south, take Highway 56 north toward Wailua. At mile marker 5 turn right on Leho Drive. The second right takes you to the main Lydgate area with the large pavillion, pools and play ground, the first right takes you to the play bridge. If coming from the north, turn at the Aloha Beach resort; make the first left for the main Lydgatge area and the second left for the playbridge.