Ke'e Beach#4 in Best Things To Do in Kauai
Price & Hours
Along with Polihale State Park, Ke'e Beach is the safest beach to access for prime Napali views. Ke'e Beach is conveniently situated at the Kalalau trailhead, offering beachgoers sweeping views of the Napali cliffs from the comfort of the sand instead of the muddy Kalalau Trail. Unlike Polihale State Park, there are lifeguards posted here and depending on the time of year, it is safe to swim and snorkel, so long as you keep close to the shore. The beach also offers restrooms and showers, though due to its close proximity to the cliffs, there is no cell phone service.
Because of its stunning north shore location, recent visitors couldn't help but fall in love with Ke'e Beach. But remember, because of its location at the Kalalau Trailhead, this beach does see considerable traffic. Some recent visitors noted that parking here is exceptionally difficult. There is only one parking lot for the trailhead and the beach, so if you want to avoid a parking headache, visitors suggest you arrive as early as 10 a.m.
Another great time to go is at sunset. By then, many of the hikers have gone and there is more parking available. Visitors say the sunsets at Ke'e Beach, which are made spectacular thanks to the Napali cliffs, are awe-inspiring and worth the evening trip.
You can find Ke'e Beach at the end of the Kuhio Highway in northern Kauai. There are no set hours or admission fees to access Ke'e Beach. For more information on Ke'e Beach, visit the Hawaii tourism board's website.
More Best Things To Do in Kauai
#1 Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Park
Waimea Canyon, aptly nicknamed the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific," should be at the top of every traveler's itinerary. This 14-mile-long, mile-wide and approximately 3,600-feet deep gorge is awash with spectacular scenery difficult to find elsewhere on the Hawaiian islands. Here, you'll find craggy red cliffsides and crested buttes blanketed in lush, evergreen vegetation as far as the eye can see, with waterfalls and rivers dotted in between. Most travelers who visit Waimea Canyon choose to take in the sight by car, as there are multiple lookout points situated along Koke'e Road, including the popular Waimea Canyon and Puu Hinahina lookout points. If you're hoping to explore outside your car, there are trails in the canyon that range from easy to difficult. Many trailheads can be found off of Koke'e Road, with some, including the Cliff Trail Lookout and the Waipo'o Falls Trail, accessible from the Pu'u Hinahina lookout point. Helicopter tours are another great way to view the canyon from all angles.
While at Waimea Canyon, be sure to pop over to the equally stunning Koke'e State Park. What makes Koke'e Park so interesting is that despite being right next to Waimea Canyon, the park has a completely different makeup. Koke'e Park occupies thousands of acres of rainforest, and as such produces a different microclimate (the farther you drive up Koke'e, the colder it gets). Like Waimea, travelers commonly explore the park via car, as the main road through Koke'e cuts through the park. While here, be sure to visit the Kalalau Lookout and the Pu'u O Kila Lookout for stunning views of the Napali Cliffs. If you want to get even closer, consider taking the Awa'awapuhi Trail, which takes hikers to the edge of some of Napali's famous cliffs. Another trail worth trekking is the Alakai Swamp Trail, which spends more time going through the park's rainforest. Wherever you decide to hike, whether it's in Waimea Canyon or Koke'e, bring proper hiking shoes to avoid falling from the slippery mud often found on Kauai trails.
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