One of the top things to do in Kauai is to see a beautiful beach on the far west of Kauai at Polihale State Park.
Highway 50 is the main road for Kauai’s south side. It runs from Lihue, westward, winding through various towns and villages as you make your way down the coast. But eventually that road ends and you cannot navigate your way around the whole island due to the ruggedness of the Na Pali Coast. At the end of Highway 50 is a bumpy dirt road that takes you into Polihale State Park. Also, Polihale is a favorite thing to do in Kauai as a weekend hangout for locals, you will often see a line of 4×4 vehicles heading down the dirt road, past old sugar cane fields, eventually setting up camp somewhere along the 2-mile stretch of white sandy beach.
The scenery here is one of a kind. The dry climate produces a small amount of vegetation. although not much shade. Many people here bring their own shade canopies or umbrellas, which is a very good idea to do to avoid getting scorched by the sun.
The swimming here can be very dangerous at certain times of the year. Even with small waves, the dangerous ocean current can sweep you out to sea before you know it. If you do not know the conditions, please do not go out! Many people have lost their lives on this coastline, so please use extreme caution. There is one swimming area at the southwestern edge of the beach. It is a lagoon sheltered from the waves and currents.. This area is safe for swimming and snorkeling, so please go here for all your swimming.
Probably the best reason to visit the park is for the stunning sunsets. The sun slowly creeps down to the horizon, casting a warm glow on the adjoining cliffs of the Na Pali Coast, igniting the rocks into dazzling displays of crimson and orange. As the sun dips behind the horizon, you feel as though you are on another planet as the sky slowly transforms from day to night. all the while your senses are heightened as the peaceful serenity all around you allows you to take everything in.
Once the stars come out, the next real treat happens – you see millions of stars that you probably have never seen before. Being so far from any light pollution with the ocean surrounding you on 3 sides gives you a picture of the night sky so crystal clear, you can almost reach out and touch the stars.
If you visit the park, you should hike down the beach or take a 4×4 vehicle. The road down the beach is a rugged old sugarcane road and normal cars will get stuck. Camping passes are required if you wish to spend the night in the park.
A trip to Kauai is not complete without going as far as you can in a car. The things to do in Kauai can be fun and relaxing and to go even further and be able to see the rugged beauty of the Na Pali coast.
Polihale State Park [Infographic]
This guide is brought to you by Makana Charters, a local Hawaiian family owned tour boat based out of Waimea on Kauai’s West side. We offer daily trips to the spectacular Na Pali coast, a natural wonder not to be missed. We are providing this guide to give our guests the best possible experience while visiting our island paradise.
Editor’s Note: This article was first published in July 2016 and has been updated regularly since then for relevance and comprehensiveness.