After much reading, we chose to stay along the North Shore and to visit in July. The North Shore town of Haena sounded perfect to us and the books we read all said it rained considerably in the winter so we chose July and rented a small cottage about a five minute walk to Haena Point.
One of the few life guarded beaches on the North shore, Haena beach park apparently offers good swimming when the ocean is calm. That was never the case while we were visiting… the waves were steady and a lot of fun for me but not so much fun for Yim, who is not as comfortable in the water as I am but I had a ball walking straight in to five and six foot waves and having them hurl me up on the beach and body surfing on a small boogie board.
The beach break can often be temperamental, and many tourists find themselves walking 15 minutes up the beach to the section know as Tunnels, an area offering excellent snorkeling.
Tunnels Beach, located on Haena Point on Kauai’s north shore, is a postcard-perfect, two-mile (3.2 km) stretch of golden sand fringed with ironwood trees and tropical palms. Tunnels Beach is one of the north shore’s most popular beaches.
One of the main attractions is the large reef offshore. The beach is unique for having an inner and an outer reef. About an eighth of a mile offshore is a half-moon shaped reef. Within this, lies the inner reef. This area is ideal for families with kids and novice snorkelers, while advanced divers and snorkelers can enjoy and explore the outer reef, which has lava tubes, arches and coral formations. Apparently, during the winter months or times of high surf, the water conditions are hazardous at Tunnels Beach and swimming and snorkeling are very dangerous, but since we visited in July, conditions were very calm and enjoyable.
The journey further along the north shore of Kauai ends at one of the most popular beaches on Kaua‘i – Ke‘e Beach. The beach marks the end of Highway 560 and the portion of Kaua‘i that can be seen by car. More than likely, the beach should be renamed ‘Beach of Extremely Rare Parking Spots’… We visited a couple of times but were not impressed. There were too many people and too many of the irritating roosters and chickens that populate the island everywhere you go, buy K’ee Beach was particularly annoying, so we visited oncem came back to watch the sunset you see above and concentrated on the less popular sopts which dot the entire island.
One of the most striking aspects of this beach is its breathtaking view of the Na Pali Coast, which begins here. When you are facing the ocean, Na Pali can be glimpsed to your left. The best time for photographs is early morning (on a clear day) or right at sunset.
From here on in, the rest of north Kaua‘i is occupied by the Na Pali Coast, a series of rugged seaside cliffs stretching along the northwest shore that is not navigable by vehicle.