Polihale Coast Beach
Polihale sits at the foot of the beautiful Napali Coast. Near a vast dune, this beach exudes beauty and adventure. If you’re looking for a secluded beach with plenty of room to spread out and enjoy some alone time (or family time), this is it!
Overview of Polihale Beach
Nestled on the westernmost end of Kauai, Polihale State Park is a rugged beach area that encompasses a broad expanse of white sand, over 15 miles long in fact. The longest stretch of beach in Hawaii.
Many locals drive here and on the beach with their 4WD. Most suggest using a four-wheel-drive vehicle to access the beach. Since, once you get there, you'll need to brave bumpy roads, dunes, and sometimes muddy paths. You can find rental agencies to rent a 4WD.
The main attraction to this remote part of Kauai is the turquoise blue waters, which are calm and inviting on the inside and great for surfing on the outside.** The Polihale beach has a boat ramp for launching boats into the ocean at high tide and a small harbor for mooring boats at low tide. The beach offers a panoramic view of Ni’ihau Island and Lehua Island.
The northern end of this beach ends in cliffs that drop into the Pacific Ocean, while its southern end ends abruptly at Queen’s Pond, which is protected by an offshore reef and a breakwater. The water around the Queen’s pond is calm and shallow most of the time, making it an ideal place for swimming and snorkeling as well as fishing and boating.
Getting There- Polihale Beach
To get to Polihale Beach State Park, most recommend taking a 4-wheel drive vehicle.
If you are coming from the east side, take Highway 50 west and turn right onto Route 550 south at the Kekaha Landfill/Kekaha Sugar Mill. Drive down Route 550 until it ends at the beach. If you are coming from the west side, take Highway 50 east and turn left onto Route 506 south (at mile marker 20). Follow Route 506 until it ends at the beach.
Essential Tips for a Polihale Beach Visit
Here are some essential tips to make the most of your visit:
- The best time of year to visit Polihale Beach is from April through October, when the waters are calmer and the sunnier days make for more comfortable afternoons at the beach.
- Polihale is not a 'swimmable' beach due to dangerous surf and powerful rip currents; however, it is excellent for long walks and picnics.
- The road to Polihale is a dirt road that becomes impassable when wet. This road is also very narrow and winding, with steep drop-offs in places.
- There are no lifeguards on Polihale, so you are advised to swim at your own risk.
Polihale Beach Amenities
You can find several amenities at this beach.
- Parking: There is ample parking available at Polihale Beach Park, with multiple parking areas along the road.
- Restrooms: Portable toilets are available in the parking area and along the beach.
- Showers: A cold outdoor shower is available in the parking lot for rinsing off after swimming in the ocean. There are no hot water showers available at Polihale Beach.
- Picnic Areas: Several picnic tables are available throughout Polihale Beach Park. There is also plenty of open space for setting up your lawn chairs or blankets for picnicking and sunbathing on the sand.
- Grills and Pavilions: Grills and several pavilions are located throughout Polihale Beach Park for gatherings and BBQ.
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Prepare to Have Fun at Polihale Beach
Family Activities at Polihale Beach
Polihale Beach hosts many adventures for families. You can find a great campsite here. Or stand in the tranquil waters of Polihale Beach and watch the sunset over Ni’ihau Island. The sky is often clear, so take this opportunity to roast marshmallows or make smores while watching the stars come out. Sometimes you can find rare shell species, and it’s also a perfect spot to spot sea turtles or pods of dolphins. This means you can spend an entire day at the beach without encountering too many people!
Polihale Beach Activities
Bodyboarding and Surfing: As with any beach in Hawaii, there is always the potential for good surfing or bodyboarding conditions. Be sure to check with locals before surfing or bodyboarding at Polihale Beach. It is also suitable for windsurfing and kite surfing during winter months when tradewinds blow from east to north.
Picnicking: Pack a lunch and spend your day relaxing on the beach, enjoying the sunshine and taking in Polihale's natural beauty. The beach has several pavilions and grills for fun gatherings and BBQs.
Watch a Sunset: Bring a blanket and some snacks or maybe even your favorite bottle of wine to watch a sunset at Polihale Beach. The beach faces west, and there are no buildings around, so you'll have an unobstructed view of the sun going down for the night.
Shore Fishing: The fishing off Polihale Beach is excellent, particularly in the summer month. Shore fishers enjoy catching many game fish. Check Hawaii's fishing regulations first, as they vary by region and fish species.
Spot the Dolphins and Whales: Dolphins are common in these waters. Some claim that they swam and played with the dolphins here. It’s also an excellent spot for watching whales during whale season (November through April).
Boating: The many boat landing areas on Polihale make this beach perfect for boating enthusiasts. Many coves and inlets to explore by boat along the Na Pali coast. Experienced kayakers love exploring these waters too! Enjoy your day on the water with friends or family.
Snorkeling: Polihale Beach offers excellent snorkeling opportunities with its clear waters. The best place to snorkel is at the southern end of Polihale Beach, at Queen's Pond. There you will find crystal clear turquoise waters home to much tropical fish. You must swim out past the surf line to see these colorful fish because they prefer to stay in shallow water. You can bring your snorkel gear or rent it from one of the nearby rental shops.
Swimming: The main activity in Polihale State Park is to go swimming in the gorgeous ocean. Please note that currents are strong and rip currents, so we recommend swimming in Queens Pond. Queen's Pond is a shallow pond with a sandy bottom surrounding a protecting reef. It is located at the southern end of the state park near the large monkeypod tree.
Camping: Camping is allowed on the beach, but it can be dangerous at high tide, so make sure you check the tide charts before setting up camp.
Go hiking: Several hiking trails begin at Polihale State Park, and these usually lead inland past several ancient Hawaiian sites like heiaus (temples), petroglyphs (rock carvings), and pictographs. The park is home to the spectacular Polihale Heiau, which is believed to be the oldest heiau on Kauai.
Nearby Attractions and Sights Polihale
The Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park is on the far northwest side of Kauai, Hawaii. Explore the sheer sea cliffs and forested ridges from a spectacular coastline. The park features unspoiled natural beauty that can be viewed by sea kayak or helicopter.
Koke's State Park is a 4,345-acre state park in Kauai, Hawaii. The park encompasses the Alakai Swamp and is located on the west side of Mount Waialeale. Koke's State Park takes you near the Waimea Canyon and more. The park hosts many hiking trails and wildlife. The park is located 3 hours from Polihale Beach by car.