Located just around the bend from Hanalei Bay, this huge stretch of deep and very white sand actually consists of two beaches. The first is the large expanse of Lumahai Beach near the Lumahai River, and the second is the far eastern end of the beach that is somewhat separated from the main beach and is commonly known as “Tourist Lumahai.” Though Lumahai is one of Kauai’s most beautiful beaches it has no protection from the open ocean and thus is subject to strong currents and pounding shore break waves which can be extremely treacherous. You may see some local surfers or bodyboarders riding the waves near the river mouth but don’t be fooled. What they are doing comes from years of practice, and the waters of Lumahai are typically very dangerous for anyone but those who are very experienced. During the calm days of summer, swimming may be okay at the eastern end of the beach where it is more protected.
Sunbathing, beach walks, picnics. Swimming only when the water is very calm, and always stay very close to shore.
Lumahai is one of Kauai’s prettiest beaches. Children often like to play in the stream waters away from the ocean. Lumahai Beach is best known to the world as the place where actress Mitzi Gaynor “washed that man right out of her hair” in the 1957 movie South Pacific.
Need to Know
Although Lumahai is a wonderfully scenic beach and a great place for a walk, it is a very dangerous place to swim due to powerful shore break waves, strong rip currents, and a strong backwash that can make it difficult to get back to shore. The east end of the beach may be good for swimming during very calm days, usually during summer, though always use extreme caution when entering the water here and stay close to shore. Never go in the ocean during times of high surf or rough seas.
Lumahai Beach is reached by following Hwy. 560 from Princeville west past Hanalei town. After climbing the hill up out of Hanalei you will see a wide area on the top of the hill on the side of the highway where you can park and walk the trail down to the east end of Lumahai Beach. If you drive another mile along the highway, just past Mile Marker 5 there is an entrance to an unpaved parking area in front of the east end of Lumahai Beach.