Aliomanu Beach

Aliomanu Beach: Two Sections of Lesser-Known Sand on Kauai’s Coconut Coast
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Not so widely known among tourists as many other Kauai beaches, Aliomanu Beach on the island’s northeastern coast features lovely scenery and, often enough, a fair bit of elbow room. Split into two sections, the beachfront offers some limited swimming and decent snorkeling, but—aside from the fishing and harvesting locals pursue on the southern beach—its chief virtues are scenery and serenity.

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

Set between Anahola Bay in the south and Papaa Bay in the north, Aliomanu Beach is a somewhat low-profile beachfront at the northern end of Kauai’s eastern shore (aka Coconut Coast). Particularly during the week, and particularly in its northern part, it’s often easy to find peace and quiet here; any time you visit, you’ll be treated to lovely surfside views.

Aliomanu (which means “shark oil”) is actually really two separate beaches. The southern part—sometimes called South Aliomanu Beach—is essentially a northern continuation of Anahola Beach and comes bordered by Aliomanu Road. A small dirt lot and several pull offs provide ready access. 

The northern section—North Aliomanu Beach—is more secluded. You can get there by taking either Papaa Road in the north or Aliomanu Road in the south off the Kuhio Highway to reach Kalalea View, at the end of which you’ll find a parking area. This lot is used to reach both North Aliomanu Beach and the Papaa Bay beachfront to its north. An easy few minutes’ walk on a footpath brings you to Aliomanu Beach’s northern stretch.

South Aliomanu Beach is most popular with locals: People come here to fish, catch octopus, and gather edible seaweed (limu) off the flanking reef. It can get pretty crowded on the weekends when parking along Aliomanu Road can be tough to find. 

There’s a lagoon along South Aliomanu Beach where, in calm conditions, you can pretty safely swim or snorkel. Use your judgment and exercise plenty of caution if you decide to get in the water during rougher surf, especially during the winter. There aren’t any lifeguards here.

North Aliomanu Beach is, all things considered, more scenic, and its slightly more complicated access means it’s usually less busy. In fact, you may just luck out and find yourself the only beachgoer. 

This stretch of beach has a rocky foreshore that’s not very accommodating to swimming. But snorkelers can check out the offshore fringing reef if the waters are gentle enough. (Again, avoid getting in if waters are rough, and be mindful of currents at all times.) Otherwise, the northern beach is most ideal simply for long, lazy strolls and “chillaxing” on the uncrowded sand. 

Aliomanu Beach is a bit off the main tourist circuit, which has its own appeal for many Kauai visitors. If you’re looking for a bit more elbow room on one of the island’s heavenly beachfront, the North Aliomanu sands may be just the ticket. The southern part of Aliomanu Beach, meanwhile, tempts with its swimmable lagoon and, often enough, front-row seats to some throw-net fishing and octopus hunting. And both are ace places to take in a sunrise!

Insider Tip:
If you’re enjoying North Aliomanu Beach, you can extend the pleasant seaside vibes by walking north to access the even-less-crowded—and arguably more beautiful—pocket beachfront of Papaa Bay. This does involve traversing some oceanfront rocks, however.