Located on the coconut coast of Kauai, Lydgate beach park is a perfect getaway for families and kids with its white sandy beach, protective swimming area, a playground for kids and an open area with restrooms, picnic tables and lifeguards facilities. The park is located near the Wailua river, along the banks of which the ancient hawaiian civilization once flourished.
Snorkeling at Lydgate Beach Park
Lydgate beach is considered to be one of the safest places on the island for snorkeling, whether you are with or without kids. The beach has two man-made pools surrounded by boulders that form a protected area for swimming and snorkeling. In stark contrast to the rough ocean waters in Lydgate beach, the pool waters are calm and inviting.
The bigger adults swimming pool has a variety of tropical fishes that enter the pool through the crevices in the rocks. The playful and colorful parrotfish and the puffer fish are fun to be around. The smaller children’s wading pool is best suited small keikis to have their dose of fun.
The protective pool is an excellent place for beginners to snorkel, especially on the calmer days when the visibility is good. The trade winds in the region cause strong ocean currents, making the waters rough. Also, the Wailua river carries debris like wood logs along with it into the ocean, which makes it dangerous to swim in the waters outside the pools. There are instances where Lydgate beach had to be closed because of excessive debris accumulation on the coast.
The Kamalani Playground for Kids
The park has two playgrounds. The Kamalani wooden adventure playground is made for kids and has lots of shade. The keikis will have a great time playing with the slides, swings, tires, tubes, swinging bridges and the volcano slide.
The ground is sprinkled with saw dust to protect the children from a fall. The park entrance has a sign board that contains important instructions and rightly endorses the words “Conceived by the children, built by the people of Hawaii”. The Friends of Kamalani and Lydgate Park like to call it the “Best beach park in the state of Hawaii”. The playground is an ongoing community project supported and maintained by these two associations.
The other play area is located about a quarter mile from the Kamalani playground and is called the ‘Kamalani Kai Bridge’. It was designed and built by local children with attractive tiles and mosaics and is a great place for the keikis to play hide and seek.
Lydgate Bike Path
A 2.5 mile bike path runs through Lydgate Beach Park. This coastal path is commonly called Ke Ala Hele Makalae. Along the path there are several pavilions with picnic tables to relish a snack and see the wonderful view. Rarely do we get a neatly built pathway along the coast that provides a deeply fulfilling biking experience. If bike riding is not your type of activity, you can choose to walk in this serene atmosphere. You can watch the sea turtles, dolphins and seasonal humpback whales from any one of the pavillions along the path.
The Kauai coastal path, once completed, will be the most applauded undertaking by the government of the island. The path starts at Lihi park in Kapaa and heads north ending at the Ahihi point just past donkey beach. The 2.5 mile stretch at Lydgate park will be connected to the Kapaa stretch once the construction is completed.
History of Lydgate Park
The park was named after Rev. John Lydgate, a former church pastor and civic leader. The credit for Lydgate’s safe man-made pools that people now enjoy, goes to Albert S. Morgan Sr. The idea of building a safe swimming area struck him when he was travelling along the italian coast with his family. After conception, the idea was then brought into fruition in the year 1964 with the making of adults swimming pool and the children’s wading pool. A marker dedicated to Mr. Morgan can be found in the park premises.
Camping at Lydgate Beach Park
Being a fun place to be in and with all the basic facilities available, Lydgate beach park has become a popular camping destination among travellers. The park is neatly maintained with numbered camping sites. However, you will require a camping permit and familiarize yourself with the park’s timings. To reach the camping area, you can park your car in the parking lot and walk the rest of the portion along the bike path.
Things to do around Lydgate Park
The Sacred Wailua Valley is located just to the north of Lydgate beach park. The remains of famous Hikinaakala Heiau, the ruins of an ancient temple, is located near the mouth of Wailua river. Next to it is the Hauola, an ancient place of refuge for people who were punished for crimes. The Wailua river bank is lined with sacred ancient sites right upto the Mount Waialeale summit. Do explore the Wailua State Park in its entirety as it exposes you to the history of Hawaiian civilization that developed along the banks of Wailua river. It is also a great opportunity to explore the scenic waterfalls and kayak down the Wailua river.
If you are driving from Lihue, head along Highway 56 North (Kuhio Highway), towards Wailua. Then turn right onto Leho Drive near the Hilton Garden Inn. After that, the next right along Nalu Road will take you to the parking lot at Lydgate Beach Park. The Kamalani Playground can be seen just across the road.
Summary and Infographic
Lydgate beach park has everything you need for a perfect family vacation. The protected swimming pools, exciting snorkeling experience, fun filled playgrounds for children, scenic biking path and important amenities like restrooms, picnic tables and lifeguards, collectively provide a complete vacation experience. With its central location along the coconut coast, Lydgate Beach Park is easy to access and is a worthy stop to make.
Here’s an infographic on the “5 things to do at Lydgate Beach Park”: