Updated: How Could Kauai Visitor Reach Inaccessible Beach and Drown?

We were both saddened and surprised to learn that a visitor drowned at iconic Allerton Beach on South Shore Kauai, near Poipu. If you haven’t heard of Allerton Beach, we will tell you the reason why in today’s update.

Our condolences to the family of the 69-year-old man from Colorado. He died around 1 p.m. on Friday when first responders arrived to help. The visitor had been boogie-boarding when he struck his head on a rock. It was not released if he trespassed on foot to reach the beach or legally arrived there by kayak. There was, however, no mention of any water craft in the press release.

First responders from the Kauai Fire Department and medics required help from the Allerton Garden security team. They were ultimately able to remove the visitor from the remote location to awaiting AMR medics, who provided advanced life support. Resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful, and the man was pronounced dead by a medical doctor.

There will now be an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death and whether or not there were any extenuating circumstances.

Allerton Beach Kauai is only accessible by boat, garden tour, or illegal trespassing.

It has been several years since BOH editors visited Allerton Beach. Each time we did it, it was as guests of NTBG on their Allerton Garden at Sunset Tour.

Also known as Lawai Kai Beach, it is adjacent to the Allerton Garden and estate at the National Tropical Botanic Gardens (NTBG). Walking on the beach as part of their sunset tour is even possible. Accessing it legally and safely under any other circumstances is done via kayaks.

NTBG said that this precaution is due to hazardous conditions and the risk of severe injury or even fatality associated with attempting entry from the private road, which Kukuiula owns. The coastal cliff is eroding, also heightening the danger of falling rocks and debris.

Lawai Kai (Allerton Beach) is among a few nesting sites on Kauai for the endangered green sea turtle. Therefore, the entire beach area has been designated a “special environmental subzone.” NTBG and others have partnered with the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources to establish a conservation zone in the region. This effort focuses on restoring the endemic shoreline forest and safeguarding sea turtles and their nests.

A Reminder To Not Trespass or Swim at Beaches Without Lifeguards

One thing is sure: some beaches along the South Shore Kauai have rocks below the surface. In addition to this one, Brennecke and Shipwreck are two of the others. Always check with a lifeguard for help if you are unsure about safety, and be cautious if the beach is unfamiliar. We have seen more rescues at these beaches than we would like to recall.

We were also surprised to find YouTube videos posted by hikers who trespassed to Allerton Beach. This can give the wrong information to unsuspecting visitors, make the trail look less dangerous, or provide a green light to trespass on foot.

For more information, read our Hawaii Beach Safety tips. And do let us know your thoughts.

Editor Note: Allerton Beach is sometimes referred to as Allerton’s Beach.

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11 thoughts on “Updated: How Could Kauai Visitor Reach Inaccessible Beach and Drown?”

  1. Dear BOH
    Thank you for posting warnings for Lawai Kai. Many who hike over rocks are residents with their dogs as well as visitors. NTBG personnel have concerns seeing dogs harass nesting sea turtles or damage egg deposits. Everyone needs to have respect. Everyone needs to consider beyond their own desires.
    Mahalo from a born & raised koloa resident.

  2. I am a little surprised by BOH’s one-sided support of NTBG’s near monopoly of access to Allerton Beach. Your suggests ocean kayak access is “safer” than trail access (really?), and not once did you clearly remind readers that Allerton is a public beach. Eroding cliffs, slick rocks, and nesting turtles seem more like excuses than concerns. Why doesn’t NTBG maintain the trail and provide safe public access to a public beach like dozens of other isolated beaches and coasts on the island (and across Hawaii)? Because they “sell” safe access by paying for their tour? The Timbers Resort and Hokuala Golf Course provides public access in at least three different points to the Ninini Bay area. Why can’t Allerton NTBG do the same?

  3. Just watched John Wayne in Donovan’s Reef (all filmed on the historic site). Curious timing. Watching the movie we could see area we thought recognizable but trying to accomplishing what the “natives” did so effortlessly in the movie shouldn’t be license to try it ourselves

  4. Kauai waters are dangerous, especially the slippery rocks at Poipu. My father was walking in from of the Beach Boy Hotel Fifty years ago and slipped and fell on his bottom. Ot hurt, he had cuts, but survived ok. We were with him. If you go it alone, well Aloha. Some of those rocks have like a slippery wet moss on them, and the waves are strong, and the black rock hard. Stick to Oahu, better. However always swim with a friend and do not fight the current. On Oahu you can drift out but at least in populated popular areas there is a good chance for help. However not on the neighbor islands.

  5. Hi Rob+Jeff. I recall going on the Allerton garden tour many years ago and hearing about a sunset dinner down there. We e were very interested as the beach area looked so inviting. We were told the beach was off limits by the tour guides. Sad that people will still find some way to go where they are not allowed and end up getting hurt. A lot of accidents lately on Kauai, I see. People just seem to get bolder over there. Is there signage around that beach? Looks pretty dense jungle down around there. Warm regards+Mahalo

    1. Hi Debra.

      The signs say no trespassing on the ntbg property you have to cross to get there. Thank you.


  6. Because majority of visitors are entitled ans don’t heed to warning signage. They think they can do whatever they feel like doing. False sense of security and huge egos, not to mention all the influencers on social media sites making it something that is OK to do. They are all disrespectful and get what they asked for, sometimes it’s death.

    1. Reading through the news stories and comments in an attempt to get an idea how the locals currently feel about travelers visiting Their islands my relatives gave there lives to defend. I have of course heard how terrible some people have been treated in the past by residents. It would appear things have not changed. No worries my family and I will stay far away until you someday need are help. You are still respectfully welcomed when I see you where I live. You can visit, move in next door or whatever you desire with respect and compassion.

  7. Sooner than later, someone will drown or come close at Lumahai Local beach. No lifeguard, dangerous rip tides. And has become a tourist favorite after they closed Ke’e to non-residents. No one wants to pay $35 per person to take a shuttle bus to a beach. Plus, lot’s of folks just drive to the end, get turned around at the guard shack, and then stop at Lumahai Local on their way back. Very enticing with the river flowing into the ocean.

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