Kalihiwai Beach Kauai: The Best Guide to Kauai’s North Shore

by | Aug 4, 2023

Guide to Kalihiwai Beach Kauai

Are you planning a trip to Kauai and looking for that perfect beach destination off the beaten path?

Look no further than Kalihiwai Beach, an exquisite hidden gem situated on Kauai’s breathtaking North shore.

From its wealth of water sports activities to its serene natural beauty, our guide is brimming with insider tips and key information that will help you make the most out of your visit.

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Information Disclaimer: This website gives general info and isn’t legal or official advice. It helps travelers with tips but can’t replace personal abilities, fitness, experience, or local knowledge, which you are fully liable for. All activities have risks; assess current conditions and follow local laws and signage.

Key Takeaways

  • Kalihiwai Beach is a hidden gem located on Kauai’s North Shore, near the town of Kilauea.
  • The beach offers various water activities, such as surfing, kayaking, and paddleboarding in the calm waters of the Kalihiwai River.
  • Visitors can explore unique lava rock formations on the beach and enjoy a secluded and picturesque environment perfect for relaxation.

Discover even more paradise! Explore our exclusive guide to the best beaches in Hawaii and plan your next beach adventure today!

Kalihiwai Beach: An Overview

Kalihiwai Beach, located on Kauai’s north shore near Kilauea, is a local favorite and is considered a hidden gem.

How Do You Pronounce Kalihiwai?

Here is how to pronounce Kalihiwai, ka-lee-hee-vai.

Location and Surrounding Features

Kalihiwai Beach lies on the scenic North Shore of Kauai, close to the town of Kilauea. The beach forms an idyllic bay surrounded by mesmerizing lava cliffs contrasting sharply with its soft sandy shores.

Crowds of Ironwood trees grace the land behind it, offering plenty of shade for beachgoers wanting a respite from the sun.

Near this world-renowned beach is where you’ll find the tranquil waters of the Kalihiwai River flowing into the ocean.

This area presents shallow pools ideal for family fun and safe recreational activities like swimming and paddleboarding.

Kalihiwai Beach River

Water Conditions and Activities

Surfing at Kalihiwai Beach is a favorite among local surfers, especially during winter when ocean conditions offer bigger waves for more challenging rides.

The water can get rough with strong undercurrents, particularly near the mouth of the river where fresh meets saltwater, so it’s essential to exercise caution and stay aware while in the water.

On calmer days in the summer months, you can kayak or stand-up paddleboarding along the Kalihiwai River that flows into the bay.

Kids love playing on this beautiful beach, too! An outflow forms a shallow pool from Kalihiwai River, offering them safer swimming conditions.

Notably popular is bodyboarding; with suitable water conditions, it becomes an exciting activity drawing people of all age groups, making it one of Kauai North Shore’s best beaches.

Where is Kalihiwai Beach?

Reaching Kalihiwai Beach is a breeze. It’s right on Kalihiwai Road, and clear signs will guide you.

After turning onto Kalihiwai Road from Highway 56 West near mile marker 24, you’ll find an easy access path to this beautiful stretch of sand.

The beach lies close to Kilauea town, making it a convenient spot for day-trippers exploring North Shore Kauai.

Consider parking by the river if you plan activities like kayaking or paddleboarding.

A navigation tip: look for Kapukaamoi Point at the eastern end of this crescent-shaped gem!

Things to Do and See at Kalihiwai Beach

Explore the beach and its unique lava rock formations. Enjoy the secluded and picturesque environment perfect for relaxation.

Swimming, Kayaking, and Paddleboarding in the Kalihiwai River

The Kalihiwai River offers multiple water activities for visitors to enjoy. You can:

  • Take a refreshing swim in the shallow pool on the river side of the beach.
  • Explore the river and its surroundings by kayaking or paddleboarding.
  • Experience the thrill of bodyboarding on the waves, especially during the summer months.
  • Watch as local surfers take on the challenging winter surf near the cliffs (expert surfers should exercise caution)

Exploring the Beach and Lava Rock Formations

The beach at Kalihiwai offers more than just sand and surf. Visitors can explore unique lava rock formations that make this beach truly special.

Here are some things you can do when you’re exploring the beach at Kalihiwai:

  • Take a walk along the shore and discover fascinating lava cliffs and formations.
  • Marvel at the rugged beauty of the coastline, shaped by volcanic activity over time.
  • Observe the different colors and textures of the lava rocks, ranging from dark black to rusty red.
  • Look for tide pools formed in the hollows of the lava rocks, home to small marine creatures and colorful algae.
  • Climb up on some of the larger lava formations for panoramic views of the beach and surrounding ocean.
  • Take memorable photos against the backdrop of these natural wonders.
  • Enjoy picnics or relax on sandy patches nestled between lava rock outcrops.

Enjoying the Secluded and Picturesque Environment

Kalihiwai Beach offers a secluded and picturesque environment that is perfect for visitors looking to escape the crowds.

The beach’s crescent shape, framed by lava cliffs, creates a stunning natural backdrop for relaxation.

With plenty of soft sand and shade provided by Ironwood trees, you can enjoy the scenery while finding comfort under their branches.

Kalihiwai Beach provides a peaceful and uncrowded experience where you can fully immerse yourself in the tranquility of your surroundings.

Nearby Activities and Accommodations

From scenic hikes to luxurious vacation rentals, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Nearby Activities

There are plenty of activities near Kalihiwai Beach that you can enjoy during your visit. Here are some recommendations:

  1. Explore the stunning beauty of Anini Beach, located just a few miles away from Kalihiwai Beach. It’s a great spot for snorkeling and paddleboarding.
  2. Take a trip to Princeville, a nearby town known for its luxurious resorts, golf courses, and breathtaking views of Hanalei Bay.
  3. If you’re looking for more adventure, head to Secret Beach, an isolated and picturesque spot with towering cliffs and golden sands.
  4. Visit the Kilauea Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge, where you can catch a glimpse of seabirds, whales (during winter months), and stunning coastal views.
  5. Enjoy a refreshing hike at the beautiful Okolehao Trail, which offers panoramic views of the lush green surroundings and the ocean.
  6. Don’t miss out on experiencing the local food scene in Kilauea Town, where you can find delicious farm-to-table options like Banana Joe’s or grab a refreshing smoothie from Frosty Banana-Pineapple.

Vacation Rentals Near Kalihiwai Beach

Looking for a place to stay near Kalihiwai Beach? Here are some options for vacation rentals:

  • Kilauea Town: Just a short drive away, Kilauea offers a variety of vacation rentals, including cottages and condos.
  • Princeville: Located near Kalihiwai Beach, Princeville has a range of vacation homes and resorts with stunning ocean views.

Weather Conditions In the Kilauea Area

The weather in the Kilauea area can vary throughout the year. During the summer, you can expect warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine, making it a great time to visit Kalihiwai Beach.

However, during the winter months, the north shore of Kauai experiences higher surf and occasional rain showers.

If you plan to visit during this time, you should be prepared for rougher ocean conditions and changing weather patterns.

It’s always a good idea to check the local forecast before heading out to ensure you have appropriate attire and are aware of any potential safety hazards.

kalihiwai beach north shore kauai

Wrap-Up of Kalihiwai Beach

In conclusion, Kalihiwai Beach on Kauai’s North Shore is a hidden gem that offers a picturesque and secluded environment for visitors to enjoy. With its beautiful crescent-shaped beach, lava cliffs, and opportunities for swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding in the Kalihiwai River, it has something for everyone.

Whether you’re looking to relax on the sandy shores or explore the surrounding attractions, Kalihiwai Beach should definitely be on your list of must-visit spots in Kauai.


1. How do I get to Kalihiwai Beach in Kauai’s North Shore?

To get to Kalihiwai Beach in Kauai’s North Shore, you can follow Highway 56 and turn onto Kalihiwai Road. Continue on this road until you reach the beach access point.

2. Is swimming safe at Kalihiwai Beach?

Swimming conditions at Kalihiwai Beach can vary depending on the weather and ocean conditions. It is recommended to check local surf reports and be aware of any warnings or advisories before entering the water.

3. Are there facilities available at Kalihiwai Beach?

Kalihiwai Beach does not have public restrooms or lifeguards on duty. Visitors should come prepared with their own supplies such as sunscreen, snacks, and water.

4. Are there any hiking trails near Kalihiwai Beach?

Yes, there are hiking trails near Kalihiwai Beach that offer scenic views of the surrounding area. One popular trail is the Okolehao Trail, which starts near Anini Road and provides a moderate hike through lush vegetation.

Looking for more beaches on Kauai to explore? Check out our guide to more of Kauai’s best beaches!

Bryan Murphy

Bryan Murphy

Bryan Murphy, owner of Hawaii’s Best Travel, is a certified Hawaii destination expert from the Hawaii Visitors Bureau. He actively participates in the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau as a member and has a strong educational background focused on local culture and sustainability. As the host of “Hawaii’s Best Travel,” a top-30 US travel podcast, Bryan combines his years of experience with valuable insights. He connects with a broad online community, reaching nearly half a million people, and offers a richer, more responsible way to experience Hawaii.