Hanamaulu Beach Park

Hanamaulu Beach Park — A Shadow of Its Past Self but Maybe Still Worth the Time
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

As far as Kauai beaches go, Hanamaulu Beach Park definitely got left to its own devices in recent years. Trash in the lagoons, dog poop along the sand, and encampments amongst the trees all show how little the local government does to clean this place up. While community effort could revitalize its waters and sandy shores, most people spend their time elsewhere instead.

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

An East Side Kauai relic, Hanamaulu Beach Park sits right along the bay surrounded by two rocky points. These points help protect against big, rough waves, creating rather calm waters that were well-suited for swimming, snorkeling, and paddleboarding once upon a time. Beyond that, budding and expert photographers could count on always getting their perfect shots here as the picturesque landscape hugs the waterway just right.

Despite Hanamaulu Beach Park’s sheer beauty and chill aesthetic, this beach park has taken a turn for the worse over the past few years. As houseless individuals built encampments in the tree line, the government turned a blind eye to the activity. Litter and other junk have appeared all along the sandy shores as a result, making this beach less than desirable to locals and tourists alike. Making matters even worse, rather feral stray dogs are a common sight along the beach and parklands. To stay safe, keep your distance from any animal you do not know even if it seems domesticated.

Despite that, many people swear by reclaiming the space and bringing Hanamaulu Beach Park back to its former glory. As long as you do not plan to visit alone, you can likely skip the strange vibes and generally feel safe enough to have a picnic, watch the planes, or go beachcombing. Staying out of the water is a good bet, however, since it’s often quite muddy and there are no lifeguards on duty.

Top things to do at Hanamaulu Beach Park include:

Have a Picnic
Although litter dominates the beach proper, the grassy areas in the park still work great for a picnic. You can find many excellent places to grab a meal along the Kuhio Highway to the north, and then come here to chow down. Just plan to pack out what you bring to the park since the garbage cans are not emptied nearly often enough.

Watch the Planes
With its location just north of the airport, Hanamaulu Beach Park serves as a great place to watch the air traffic come and go. If you like to name commercial planes, gaze upon helicopters in flight, and even spot jets flying to and fro, you’ll want to come here at least once. You can get the best view of all the planes and such by laying out a blanket on the grass and focusing your gaze upward throughout your visit.

Go Beachcombing
If you don’t mind the litter at Hanamaulu Beach Park, you can occasionally find beautiful rocks and shells along the beachfront. While you don’t want to take those treasures off the beach, they work well for bringing beauty back to this space with a mandala. As you take time creating your mandala with found treasures, you’ll likely feel the stress melt away, too, making it a truly worthwhile endeavor.

Okay, there’s no doubt about it: Hanamaulu Beach Park could use some help. So, while you likely don’t want to spend your vacation cleaning up, it couldn’t hurt to pick up a few things along the way. If you have the time and inclination, just grab a bucket and reach grabber tool, and then fill up your container with trash as you walk along the beach. If every visitor did that just once, the beach would return to its former glory in no time flat. Think of it as your little way to honor the beauty and culture of the islands while enjoying your tropical vacation.

Insider Tips:
-If you arrive by rental car, be sure to put your belongings in the trunk and lock all the doors. Also, set the alarm if it has one and keep an ear out for the siren.
-You’ll see a large paved parking lot alongside this beach.
-While Hanamaulu Beach Park does have bathrooms on site, they are often in need of a good cleaning. Skip them in favor of other options if you’re able to do so.