#Kauai: Hanama‘ulu Beach Park

Across the harbor from Ahukini Landing is Hanama‘ulu Beach Park, a small park with a quarter-mile beach. Behind the beach is Hanama‘ulu River—or Stream, depending on who’s doing the telling—which at high tide barely reaches the bay because the incoming tide is vigorously flowing upstream.

reverse flow at high tide, Hanamaulu River
Tide flows upstream at Hanama‘ulu River
Incoming Tide at Hanama‘ulu Bay

Although I’d heard of the beach here, and knew that Hanamaulu River empties into the ocean here, I had no idea what it might look like. However, my heart stopped as I came down the hill, long before I was anywhere near the beach, as I came upon a beautiful arched bridge over the road. This wasn’t exactly “Great Railway Journeys” territory, but for someone who grew up watching an old narrow gauge railway fade into history, and played fort along an unfinished grading of bygone big railroad dreams, this was a thrilling discovery.

Hanamaulu River Railroad Bridge
Remnant of the Ahukini Terminal & Railway Co., Ltd.

OK, back to the park. This tiny park has picnic tables scattered about in shady places, restrooms (not like home, but usable) and showers, a small playground and one large shelter. A family was preparing their catch of the day when I arrived as the kids were running off to play in the surf.

Famliy Shelter
Family Shelter

The Breakwater at Ahukini Landing shelters the beach from erosion as well as dangerous surf and rip currents.

Breakwater, Hanama'ulu Bay
Breakwater across Hanama‘ulu Bay

The beach is sandy and fairly free of debris, no driftwood or shells to speak of, and the light surf is slightly muddy because of the abundant sand.

Sandy Beach, Light Surf
Sandy Beach and Light Surf

Whether or not it’s allowed, driving on the beach is evident but not recommended for a rented Chevy Volt.

Tracks on Hanama‘ulu Beach

One of the things I liked about this beach was the mix of open and shady spots. A group of men talked story around a shaded picnic table, while some of the keiki (kids) swam in the surf, and still others fished, both in the surf and up the river.

Because this beach is frequently closed due to sewage overflows during heavy rains, I was surprised at how inviting the stream appeared from behind the picnic shelter.

Hanama'ulu River
Hanama‘ulu River from the Picnic Shelter

A brief stopover at this beach can be quite relaxing, if only for the absence of crowds, and the swaying pines are even more refreshing than wind chimes on a hot afternoon.

Swaying Pines
Swaying Pines

Among other things to see here, new earth is being made above the beach.

New Earth
New Earth

…and some uncommon vegetation is nearby as well.

Uncommon Vegetation
Uncommon Vegetation

Oh, and one last point, the getting there is fairly easy. Turn down Hanama‘ulu Road at the light highway 56 in Hanamaulu Town, continue downhill until just before the road veers left, and turn right onto Hehi Road, which ends at the park.

4 thoughts on “#Kauai: Hanama‘ulu Beach Park

  1. Great little park until you mentioned the sewage overflow although we have the same problem here in Florida.
    If the overhead railway is abandoned, has anyone considered making it an elevated path. There’s one in New York or Chicago or ???. I saw it on PBS but can’t remember the city.


  2. Actually, incorporating the remainder of the former Ahukini Terminal & Railway Co., Ltd, right of way is in the “big plan” for Ke Ala Hele Makalae (http://www.traillink.com/trail/ke-ala-hele-makalae.aspx), Phase IV extends the pathway from Lydgate Beach Park to Ahukini Point. Phase V extends the pathway on the north end from Ahihi Point to Anahola Beach State Park, and Phase VI completes the southern end from Ahukini Point to Nawiliwili.


  3. What an interesting beach. I’m surprised by the lack of people in the photos. Seems like it would be a fun spot to visit (unless swimming is prohibited due to the sewage – maybe that is the reason?)


    1. The lack of people is mostly due to a lack of publicity ~ visit anytime, but don’t stay, and for heaven’s sake don’t tell another living soul about your experience. Seriously, it’s simply a beach that isn’t visible from the highway, and even if you’ve heard of it, it is a little out of the way and the route to the beach is not obvious. Unlike Anini or Kealia, it’s not on the way to anywhere.

      Swimming is only prohibited following days of heavy rainstorms which overload most of the streams on the island–but of course that’s the best time to see the beautiful waterfalls.


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