A treasure at the very end of the road on Kaua`i's West Side, is Polihale Beach Park. All together, Polihale encompasses about 13 miles, much of which is blocked off my the military. Yet the accessible part of the beach is about three miles long, and certainly leaves nothing to be desired.
Echo Beach — Photo courtesy of jade
At the northern end of Polihale tall cliffs mark the beginning of the Na Pali Coast, the beautiful and wild divider between the north and west sides. Hawaiians believed these cliffs to be the place where the souls of the dead would depart to an underworld off the western shores deep underwater. The area by the cliffs is called Echo Beach, and a surf break fit for mid-level to expert surfers lies just off shore. Public restrooms, cold water showers, and parking is available.
Polihale Morning Glory — Photo courtesy of jade eckardt
There are several pavilions located at the back of the beach. Camping is allowed with permit, and there are no lifeguards out here, just a few life saving devices at the back of the beach - so use good judgement when entering the often wild waters.
Evening Polihale — Photo courtesy of jade
About 17 miles off shore lies Ni`ihau, Hawaii's "Forbidden Island." Polihale offers hands down some of the best sunsets on the island, and with Ni`ihau in the picture, it truly can't be beat. About half way down the beach is Queen's Bath, a semi (notice I said semi) protected swimming area that is a little bit safer than the open ocean. It's by bar the best bet if the waves are anything but very small.
Ni`ihau — Photo courtesy of jade
Although the start of the road in says a four wheel drive is necessary, the beach is accessible by two wheel drive although it's nearly always bumpy, and sometimes muddy. Polihale is truly a can't miss place for every beach lover, and it's best to make a day of it. If you do, bring food, water, and plenty of sunblock. During the winter months the ocean usually has big surf, so swimming is usually safer during the summer. Make sure to catch sun, but don't miss the sunset.
Polihale Sunset — Photo courtesy of jade