“End of the Road” at Kauai’s Ha’ena State Park

Ha’ena State Park is nicknamed the “end of the road,” but you’ve never seen a more amazing dead end. This park boasts incredible beaches, breathtaking snorkeling opportunities, 4,000-year old caves, and scenic hiking trails. This tropical paradise is hidden at the very center of Kauai’s North Shore.

The park is a glimpse of a more rural and pristine Hawaiian that exists in the fringes of the islands, away from the mega resorts and corporate shops. At the park, you find a vacation getaway like no other, one filled with the magical aura of Hawaii, ocean views and scenery you might find in magazines, and the radiant shores of the Pacific Ocean.

ha'ena north shore kauai

What Can be Found at the Park?

The 230 acres of Ha’ena State Park are home to some absolutely stunning beachside vistas. Many visitors come to hike the trails and see the ancient sea caves pressed into the coast. In terms of actually getting into the water, the area is ideal for experienced swimmers and snorkelers.

The park is home to two main beaches. These are Ke’e Beach and Ha’ena Beach. Ha’ena Beach makes up the majority of the eastern side of the state park. It is the main park beach and the one most visitors will see. An extended parking lot is located nearby, but it’s important to arrive early as the parks can fill up fast.

There is a reef lagoon off the beach, ideal for experienced snorkelers only. The inner reef is the line of safety, as intense currents are often reported just beyond it and all swimmers should avoid the channel area because deadly currents can occur there. The ocean lagoon here has calmer conditions during the summer. Parking, showers and bathrooms are available.

Ke’e translates to “avoidance” in Hawaii. The area is locally and long-known for its potential dangers beyond the reef, and also for its breathtaking sunsets. Below the surface, a variety of fish species can be seen including goatfish, surgeonfish, butterflyfish, and other reef fish. Its pristine and astonishing shoreline is a sight to behold for determined adventurers. Keep in mind that coral reefs are alive. Please do not walk or stand on the reef because you could damage the ecosystem and the beautiful natural seascape.

Being Safe & Reducing Risk

Ke’e Beach further west in the park is truly at the end of the road. It is more isolated and takes some more effort to get to. This is a beach is not only breathtakingly beautiful but also comes with safety information that all visitors should know before going. Preventative education is key to having an amazing and safe vacation for your whole family. This area is known for seasonal dangers such as strong currents that have caused some accidental drownings.

Safety needs to be stressed as a #1 priority for visitors. You can absolutely avoid any dangerous situations by knowing when it is safe to swim and where not to swim. At the end of the road is there is virtually no cell phone service and the nearest paramedics are 30 + minute drive away. There are lifeguards present, but taking no chances is the best way to experience your tropical island experience.

The ocean conditions can change hourly off the coast of Kauai so always check with lifeguards, read posted warnings, and swimming/snorkeling with a partner can make the difference. You might consider purchasing or renting lifevests for younger swimmers as an extra precaution. Pay extra attention when visiting any North Shore beaches in the winter swell months ranging from October/November – May/June. The beaches are often completely closed for swimming with signs posted by safety personnel during these months. When in doubt just don’t get in the water.

Nearby Historic Sites

Several attractions and historic sites are also present nearby. Visitors can take a stop at the Limahuli Garden Preserve (5-8291 Kuhio Hwy, Hanalei, HI) which is home to many endangered plant species and the Ho`opulapula Haraguchi Rice Mill (5-5070 Kuhio Hwy # A, Hanalei, HI), the only remaining rice mill in all of Hawaii, for a wider understanding of Hawaiian culture and the history of the area.

If you are interested in touring the Haraguchi Rice Mill, advanced reservations are required and can be made online. No self-guided tours or walk-ins are allowed in this area.

state park haena kauai

Address and Tours of the Park

The address of the state park is Kuhio Highway, Hwy 56, Kauai, HI 96714. You can call the state park officials at 808-241-6670 for details about where to swim, safety considerations, activities in the park, and more.

Napali Kayak offers day tours through the surrounding waters. Guests can also inquire about snorkeling rentals and boat trips along Ha’ena State Park’s shoreline. You can book equipment from Napali Kayak at 808-826-6900.

The waves are often large and the currents can be very strong, especially during the winter. Swimming is only advised for confident individuals with extensive swimming experience.

How Do You Get There?

The only way to Ha’ena State Park is Hawaii Route 560, also known as the Kuhio Highway and is the only road on the north shore. This 10-mile route hugs the coast and ends at the state park. If you travel the route in the northwestern direction, you can’t miss it.

Visitors will pass over 7 one-way bridges between Hanalei & the end of the road. It is very important to drive slow and be courteous due to the narrow, curvy roads that can be busy with traffic. Heeding posted signs will improve everyone’s experience.

The park is about an hour from our Waipouli Beach resort rentals. You will start on HI-56 N which turns into 560 W towards the last third of the trip. You will drive through the small towns of Kilauea and Hanalei and you’ll have the chance to see many beautiful sights. It’s a scenic direct route with clear posted signage.

If you want any information on a place to stay near Ha’ena State Park and the other top attractions of Kauai, contact us at (888)-822-2403. Our amenity-rich Waipouli Beach resort rentals offer some of the most magical views and comfortable amenities anywhere in Hawaii.

Venture to the northern tip of Kauai to the “end of the road” and see why Ha’ena State Park remains one of the most popular areas in the state for hiking, snorkeling and beachgoing.

Find Kauai Accommodations Nearby This North Shore Attraction

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