Polihale Beach Reopening

Polihale Beach Reopening Imminent

Famous Polihale Beach on Kauai will once again welcome visitors. The Polihale Beach closure by DLNR (Department of Land and Natural Resources) happened in July due to park policies not being followed by locals. This included 1,000 people camping there on a weekend that had only 80 permits and trucks racing on dunes that had ancient Hawaiian burial sites. While it hasn’t reopened yet, all signs are there.

Since the closure, there have been meetings with cultural groups to discuss the park’s future. In the interim, they have been allowed access to help clean the area and continue their work as caretakers for the cultural sites around the dunes.

Polihale is more than just a spectacular and remote beach with miles of sand touching the famous Na Pali. It is also rooted deeply in Native Hawaiian culture. Both its beauty and historical significance must work together in harmony with respect for the land. If that doesn’t happen, DLNR promises to keep the park closed.

But now Kauai is getting another chance to prove it can honor all aspects of Polihale. We have heard that new signage is being placed with rules to be followed, thirty-speed bumps have been installed on the access road, and for now, overnight camping may have to wait.

Some proposals on the table are a permit entry system that is similar to what we have seen on Kauai with access to Haena and Kee beaches on the North Shore. Long term solutions include improvement projects to protect the dunes.

According to Curt Cottrell, state parks administrator, “We are trying to determine how much people really care about Polihale’s natural and cultural resources. Reopening with new guidelines is an opportunity to see.”

If Polihale reopens in the next few weeks, we will update this post with the announcement.


31 thoughts on “Polihale Beach Reopening Imminent”

  1. I’ve been out there hundreds of times. No way you put speed bumps on that road. It’s a drive on beach also. The sacred areas are not in the sand but up in the napali. Perhaps the most grim chapter in the destruction of Hawaii by state officials.

    1. Please check out the Hawaii state laws. No such thing as a “drive on beach.” All beaches in the state are public and governed by state law, which does not allow driving on any beach. Polihale is remote enough that people got away with breaking the law out there. Sounds like DLNR wants to put an end to the era of lawlessness. Good for them, now let’s see if they will have the discipline to take that long drive and provide the enforcement necessary to make the change.

      1. Interesting. I’ve driven on the beach at other locations that are not remote. I and my family have been doing so for many years. If it’s not specifically allowed, it is not specifically prohibited either.

  2. I really hope that the State does not go the way of Haena and have an online permit system. Just sign up at the entrance road at a kiosk. Sometimes when I am on island I wait for the weather to dictate which day we head out to the Westside and if all the “permits” are taken, we lose any flexibility with those plans. Thank you for the update! Now we just need the 14 day law to end so we can get back to business!

  3. I am a recent resident of Kauai and return frequently to visit ohana. Sorry to hear how the people disrespect the law and not take care of the aina. They need to realize that it’s a golden opportunity and benefit that is given. I can understand if they don’t respect, the benefit gets taken away. I love going there when I visit. It has an aura of spiritual feeling for me. Living in Mana and Omao has bonded me with the island of Kauai. Always look forward to my visits and I’m hoping Polihale is open when I return.

  4. Translation: Curt Cottrell say he will close the beach forever if you don’t follow the rules. You don’t deserve poliHale.

  5. Thank you so much for your daily updates and real-time info! Love Polihale – had to chuckle, though, at the installation of 30 speed bumps! Ummmm, maybe I’ve driven on the wrong road, but isn’t that entire access road one big speed bump? 😄 Was so sad to read about it and the rules being abused. I hope people realize just how special it is before (More?) irreparable damage is done. Fingers crossed all the way from Northern Minnesota that the day comes when we can again respectfully and safely enjoy the island.

  6. Okay people, now we get to see how much respect can be shown for a sacred, beautiful place.
    Please do the right thing.
    Mahalo to Beat of Hawai’i for the reporting of this blessed opportunity for another chance.
    Aloha to all.

  7. That is one really dangerous beach. Go to look, not to swim. It is spectacularly beautiful, but the rip is incredible. Yikes. And I grew up on the beaches of SOCAL.

  8. Is there another access road to Polihale Beach besides the old cane haul road? Because that road certainly doesn’t need speed bumps installed. The entire road is a speed bump. Or have improvements been made to the road? Please, please take care of Polihale. It’s one of Kauai’s treasures. Thanks Beat of Hawaii for keeping us in the know. We appreciate the valuable information you provide.

  9. “ Famous Polihale Beach on Kauai will once again welcome visitors. The Polihale Beach closure by DLNR (Department of Land and Natural Resources) happened in July due to park policies not being followed by locals.” And tourists are the problem…SMH

    1. Karen as a person that has lived there for 6 years I can tell you that for the most part the problems on in Polihale is not the tourist it’s the locals that don’t give a damn. I have been there when a big party rolled in and literally just left their mess in the first pavilion and this black tarrp slide on the beach. Remember it was the locals that got it closed down. They need to own it because I have seen locals thro garbage on the ground and in the next breath say respect the aina but they don’t. It begins with you.

      1. My wife and I are frequent visitors on this beach. I have been living on the island since 2009. We witness large family gatherings where trash is left behind and they are NOT tourists. Easy to blame those who in many cases help to finance the beautiful parks and beaches.

  10. My daughters and I spent some time a Polihale based on a recommendation from Jeff & Rob (thanks guys!) and it was really spectacular. We also experienced some of the craziest waves we saw on Kauai, which was both thrilling and frankly, a bit scary. We’re sorry to hear that folks were spoiling it for others but happy to see that there is a plan for reopening it responsibly.

    Funny story… There was a family there in a rental car that got it stuck in the sand pretty good. I felt bad for them because Polihale is somewhat remote and getting help was going to take some time. Thankfully, we had rented a Jeep Wrangler, and we found someone else on the beach who had some rope, so with a bit of effort, we were able to drag them out of the ditch they worked themselves into and then pull them back to the gravel road.

    Polihale is a beautiful place, and with the local’s blessing it will again be open to responsible tourists. You can drive there in a non-4WD vehicle, but be sure NOT to drive onto the sand as you will likely end up in the same situation this family did, and there may not be anyone around to help if you get stuck. End PSA. 🙂

    1. In reply to Jonathan’s PSA,

      “With the locals blessing it will be open to responsible tourists???”

      It was the locals that did the damage and tourists are still not allowed in Kauai.

      1. Maybe so, but there are also responsible locals who clearly respect and appreciate the beauty and sanctity of Polihale. It will be up to these folks to put in place measures that will protect and preserve it for locals and tourists alike in the future.

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