Here are some beaches that are relatively close to The Cliffs at Princeville 7301.
The beach list will start with those that are in Princeville. Then those north of the condo will be covered, followed by those to the South. (Directions to Kauai beaches beyond the North Shore can be found in many of the free visitor guides.)
Remember that any beaches can be dangerous during the winter months.
One plea before you head to the beaches – please do not walk on or touch the reef! Doing so will destroy it. We've seen so many careless visitors standing on the reef and we cringe to think of the years' of growth that these people are destroying.
All of these beaches require a hike of some kind, and if you want a parking place you need to either get there early or be really lucky!
Wyllie Beach – Wyllie Beach is the westernmost portion of Anini Beach. It is highly shaded and just a wisp of a beach, but perfect for a nice, quiet stroll. To reach it from The Cliffs turn left on the Pepelani Loop, then left onto Ka Haku Road (the main Princeville road) then left again onto Wyllie road (the second left) and go ⅓ mile to a spot where the road turns left by the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas. Leave the pavement and walk along the tree line until a path descends. 500 steps (about ⅓ mile) will bring you to Wyllie beach. Cross Anini stream and you can walk for 1½ miles along the beach.
Sealodge – A lovely pocket of coarse white sand. Sealodge beach is a secluded beach that is often empty. The beach offers average snorkeling when ocean is calm. Mosquitoes are often a problem, making sun bathing questionable. Ocean bottom is shallow and rocky, offering only fair swimming conditions. Offshore is a surfing break known as Little Glass Shacks. On the right past the chain at the end of Keoniana Road is a trail. This trail begins at the end of a long paved driveway. You will follow the trail for a ways as it meanders beside a stream, then a left turn will keep you walking in the direction of the ocean. There is another trail that intersects here as well that comes from the SeaLodge Resort, Building A. Once you approach the ocean you will veer to the left to arrive at SeaLodge Beach.
Queen's Bath – Queen's Bath is a favorite swimming and gathering spot. It is a 10+ foot depression in the lava rock at the base of the Princeville cliffs. Waves break on the outer wall every few minutes and refresh the water in Queen's Bath. The swimming is good if you do not need to touch bottom, and the setting is spectacular. To get there from Princeville take Ka Haku Road to Kapiolani and follow till you see the small parking lot and trail head. The trail to Queen's Bath is slightly muddy and heads down 120 feet to the shore. It may look intimidating at first, but on a dry day, it's actually a short and manageable hike. Make sure you wear good reef shoes or tennis shoes.
Hideaways Beach – A patchwork of sand pockets and rock, good for both swimming and snorkeling. Occasional high surf generates dangerous water conditions. In the summer the beach provides great snorkeling and swimming. The sea bottom is somewhat rocky and can be a problem at low tide. There are no facilities or lifeguards here. Access via a path between the parking lot outside the St. Regis gate house and the Pali Ke Kua condos. The first half of the trail is paved, so it's not that bad; the second half is a dirt trail that can be extremely slick, especially after a rainstorm.
Pu'u Poa Beach – A long, moderately wide beach offering good snorkeling and swimming. Home to the Hanalei Break – some of the best surf in the Hawaiian Islands, but for expert surfers only. Dangerous water conditions during periods of high surf. Access via a set of almost 200 stairs starting to the left of the gate house at the St. Regis. Well worth the walk.
This list will start at Princeville and move West...
Black Pot Beach – On the other side of the Hanalei River from Pu'u Poa beach is Black Pot Beach Park (named for the big black pot locals used to cook fish and stew). The area is a place to come for kayaking, surfing, swimming, windsurfing, paddling and fishing. There are pavilions for picnics, restrooms and showers. Take Hwy 56, turn right onto Aku Road in Hanalei Town, make another right onto Weke Road and continue to end.
Hanalei Pavilion Beach Park – This is on Weke Road between Pilikoa and Aku Roads. There's a beach break that's great for beginning surfers and bodyboarders. Swimming is decent during the summer, but not great. There are shower and restroom facilities at the park and a lifeguard stand.
Waioli Beach Park – The mid-point of Hanalei Bay's 2-mile-long beach. This is where pro surfers come during the winter. It's called Pine Trees because the area is lined with ironwood trees that can be mistaken for pine trees. Rest rooms and showers are available. Located on the shore of Hanalei Bay at the end of either Hee Road or Amaama Road off Kuhio Highway (Hwy 56).
Waikoko Beach – At the western end of Hanalei Bay, fronted by Waikoko Reef, a protected beach popular with families particularly during the winter and spring months (the high surf season). When the water's calm, this can be a good spot for snorkeling. Surfers head out to Waikoko surf break.
Lumahai Beach Park – One of the most photographed beaches in all Hawaii, Lumaha'i Beach was featured in the film South Pacific. The beach is a little over a half mile long, slightly crescent-shaped, and absolutely beautiful. However, there is no reef protection and swimming is dangerous. Follow Highway 560 to the 4 mile marker. 0.8 miles past the 4 mile marker are a couple of parking areas on the right side. Just past the second parking area a trail leads down to the east end of the beach along a quarter mile path. There are other well worn routes as well. The west end of the beach is accessible at about mile 5.6 of Highway 560. There is a nice parking lot with good shade.
Wainiha Beach Park – Wainiha Beach Park is off limits to swimming at all times of the year because it has no reef to shelter the bay from big waves. Being constantly exposed to high surf means the beach has dangerous rip currents, powerful backwash, and a pounding shorebreak.
Tunnels (Makua) Beach – Tunnels is one of the most popular beaches on the island. This two-mile beach is the best spot on the North Shore for snorkeling, sailing, surfing, and windsurfing because it is protected by an extensive coral reef. Tunnels is located about 0.4 mile past the 8 mile marker on Highway 560. It is easiest to park at Ha'ena Beach Park, but get there early or luck is required.
Ha'ena Beach Park – Ha'ena is the west end of Tunnels Beach. It provides beachfront camping for hundreds of people and is always nearly full. Swimming in summer is fine at Ha'ena, but many people walk a ½ mile to east to Tunnels. Winter swimming is not advised at Ha'ena.
Ke'e Beach – Ke'e Beach is the most popular snorkeling spot on the northern coast of Kauai, with unequaled water clarity. It is literally the end of the road (Highway 560) and marks the beginning of the NaPali coast. The mountains meeting the shore makes for a picturesque setting, as do the coconut palms, ironwood, and guava trees. Protected by a reef running parallel to the shore the lagoon is generally calm except during winter months. Ge there early or there may be no parking avaiable.
Again, we'll start at Princeville and move away...
Anini Beach – Protected by a two mile long reef that starts at Kalihiwai Bay and ends at the cliffs in Princeville, Anini is great for windsurfing, snorkeling, camping, and picnics. To the east you can see Mokuaeae Island, and Kilauea Lighthouse stands watch on the hill above. To get there take the Kuhio Highway and turn at the first Kalihiwai Road heading from Princeville toward Kapa'a. Keep veering toward the left until you reach the beach park.
Kalihiwai Beach – Home to one of the North Shore's most popular surf breaks, the big swells of the winter and spring are for experts only. To get there, take Kuhio Hwy and turn off at Kalihiwai Road.
Kauapea Beach (Secret Beach) – This is a long, sandy beach between Kalihiwai Bay and Kilauea Point. No longer the popular topless beach that it once was, it is a great place for swimming, surfing, body boarding and sunbathing during the summer, but avoid it during the winter. The best way to get there is to take the second Kalihiwai Road near mile marker 24 of Kuhio Highway. Then take the first right onto a dirt road and stay on the road for a few hundred yards to the parking area at the top of the trail. There's a long trail that is steep and can be very slippery and treacherous, especially if it's been raining. A 15 minute hike will take you to the beach.
Rock Quarry Beach (Kahili Beach) – Rock Quarry Beach is located in Kilauea Bay at the mouth of Kilauea Stream. Rock Quarry is one of the more popular surfing spots on the island, but good for surfing means bad for swimming and snorkeling.
Waiakalua Beach – This beach features nice sand and very few people. The snorkeling is acceptable, but the swimming is iffy due to rock and coral in the water. The parking lot can hold fewer than 10 cars and the beach requires following a well marked but steep 200 vertical foot trail for a 10 minutes.
Pila'a Beach – The land bordering this beach is privately owned so there is no direct public access to the beach. It can be reached if you follow the trail along the shore from Waiakalua.
Larsen's Beach – Larsen's is a great beach for sunbathing but not swimming, because there are strong currents and winter surf pounds the beach. It's a secluded beach that is a bit of a challenge to reach. Drive on Kuhio Highway past Anahola and turn on Koolau Road. There's an access road that will take you to the beach.
Moloa'a Beach – Located where Moloa'a stream meets the ocean. Take Hwy 56 to Koolau Road to Moloa'a Road. High surf during winter and spring generates very dangerous ocean conditions. During periods of calm seas, swimming, snorkeling, and diving are excellent.