Haena Beach Park

by Julie Blakley on March 21, 2008

by Julie Blakley | March 21st, 2008  

Kauai’s North Shore,
5-10 minutes north of Hanalei on Highway 56

tmc810.jpgHaena Beach Park is a favorite camping spot for both visitors and locals. Located on the very end of the North Shore of Kauai, the park sits at the edge of the Na Pali coast and is just a short walk to the famous snorkeling and swimming beach Tunnels. Haena is a small park (about 5.5 acres) situated just at the base of a green velvet coasted mountain looking out over turquiose colored surf. It offers a grassy picnic area with tables and benches, restrooms, cold showers, shady trees and camping spots.

Haena Beach Park is also located across from the Maniniholo Dry Cave, which is about 300 yards deep and was formed by the powerful surf when the water level was higher. According to legend, Manini-holo, chief fisherman of the Menehune (little people) dug this cave in search of the supernatural beast, akua, who had been stealing their fish. The cave also used to be much deeper before a Tsunami in 1957 filled much of it with sand. Bring a flashlight and explore the cave if you are up for a bit of a spooky adventure!

camping.jpgThe beach at Haena has beautiful golden sand and panoramic views, but visitors are urged to use extreme caution when swimming here. Because there is no reef protecting this beach, currents and waves can be very powerful and often dangerous. Swimming in the winter months is pretty much out of the question, though the better swimming and snorkeling Tunnels Beach is just about ½ mile walk and can be enjoyed year round.

Haena is most popular with a younger crowd, many of whom stay at Haena before hiking the Kalalau Trail just north of the park. Permits are required, but cost only $3 per person per night. For permits, contact the County of Kauai at 808-241-4463 or email recpermits@kauai.gov.

Haena Beach Park is also located only about a mile from Ke’e Beach (the end point of highway 56) and is a pleasant forested walk through ironwood and almond trees for visitors up for some exploration.

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