The state Department of Land and Natural Resources just announced the reopening of Polihale State Park on Kauai. It will be available for overnight camping starting on August 14. Currently, Polihale is day use only.
Reservations are required for camping at Polihale and will be available online starting August 1. They may be made up to 90 days in advance. At this time we do not know the price.
In December 2020, this highly popular Kauai beach and camping spot became day use only. That indefinite camping shutdown was the result of “camping without permits, driving on the beach and dunes, and careless behavior in general,” according to the state.
Marine life rebounded at Polihale State Park.
As happened at other places during Covid, most notably Hanauma Bay State Park on Oahu, without visitors, the park rebounded. The state said, “Since the 2020 shutdown of Polihale, two monk seal pups have been born in the park. One was just weeks ago, and mom is still nursing her on the beach. These are the first two recorded monk seal pupping’s at Polihale since 1962.”
Polihale beach is our favorite and features incredible broad sandy, stunning cliffs that practically reach the beach.
Historically, the sand dunes 100 feet high contain Hawaiian burial sites. They are also key habitats for endangered plant species Lauehu and Ohai. The state’s hope is that greater awareness of Polihale’s special nature will yield improvement conducted by largely local park users. Additional signage and physical boulder barriers have been installed to prevent unauthorized beach access by trucks.
DLNR has hired a company to help with public outreach and future park planning and management. PBR Hawaii is the same company that helped oversee the Haena State Park Master Plan. Public input is invited into this process.
Because Polihale is so remote and vast, it is hard to implement adequate rule enforcement. The state warned that the park would again be closed to camping if problems return. The state said, “We look forward to welcoming overnight campers back to Polihale, in limited numbers as is befitting the place. The late summer timing of this reopening is deliberate, as holiday weekends have seen the heaviest use and most damage to Polihaleʻs fragile resources due to heavy use. By next summer, we intend to have additional protective measures in place, including a pair of new westside park interpretive technicians (Rangers) to patrol and educate park visitors.”
Famous Polihale Beach on Kauai.
The Polihale Beach closure by DLNR (Department of Land and Natural Resources) occurred in July 2020 because park policies were not being followed by locals. Up to 1,000 people without permits were seen camping there on one weekend when only 80 permits had been issued. Trucks racing on dunes containing ancient burial sites had also been a recurring problem.
Polihale is a spectacular remote beach with miles of sand virtually touching the famed Na Pali cliffs. It is rooted in Native Hawaiian history.