Lumaha'i Beach

Lumaha'i Beach, Kauai

Lumaha'i Beach was made famous in the 1957 movie South Pacific. The beach is where Mitzi Gaynor “washed that man right out of her hair.” Partly because of this history and partly because of its picturesque scenery, Lumahai has become one of the most photographed beaches on Kauai. Located just past Hanalei, this scenic beach is nearly a mile long and several hundred feet wide. Vegetated lava cliffs provide a vibrant backdrop.

While Lumaha'i Beach appears serene, there are dangers that lurk in its depths. The beach has no protective reef, making the coast totally exposed to the open ocean. Rip currents, powerful backwash, strong shorebreaks and high surf make it one of the most dangerous beaches on Kauai. On calm summer days, the Kahalahala (eastern) end of the beach may be calm enough to allow swimming.

Throughout the year, the western end attracts surfers and bodyboarders, but if you're not an expert at riding Hawaiian waves, the waves are certainly not friendly. Drownings and near-drownings have occurred here in the past. The beach is more suitable for a picnic or beach stroll.

Lumaha'i Beach Overview

  • Wide sandy beach with shady areas
  • Challenging waves for expert surfers only
  • Swimming is not safe here on most days of the year

Location: Along Kuhio Highway (Hwy 560), Kauai
Directions: Located about 2 miles (3.2 km) past Hanalei on Kauai's north shore. The first (east) section of Lumahai Beach (also known as Kahalahala) is just before mile marker 5. Park at the lookout and walk down the trail that leads to the beach (100 foot down). There are only a few small pullouts next to the highway, so you may not be able to find a parking spot here. To access the larger western section of Lumahai Beach, drive past mile marker 5 and look for the parking area just before the Lumahai River. There is a dirt parking area next to the highway. It is larger than the small pullouts at the other section of Lumahai Beach, but it can still get busy here on weekends or the peak tourist seasons.


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