Kauai has dozens of fantastic beaches, but some are certainly much busier than others. If you’re looking for a beach set away from the tourist crowds, then consider a visit to the Kahili Beach Preserve located on the northern end of the island where the Kilauea Stream flows into Kilauea Bay.
While this is called a preserve and it is managed by local conservation groups as well as state forest groups, Kahili Beach Preserve has a unique history in which the land wasn’t always wild and free. You’ll find on the northern end of the beach the remains of a rock quarry where large cuts of rock were taken and sent on to build various structures on the island. Once that quarry was shut down, this beach was largely left to its own devices and sadly became a place that collected trash.
Then, the Zuckerbergs — yes, those Zuckerbergs — created the Chan Zuckerberg Kauai Community Fund to collect and preserve various lands on the island, including this one. But, the beach and the lands connected it to were originally inaccessible due to them being surrounded by privately owned land. So, while the funds were there to protect the beach, its poor access made it hard to spearhead cleaning ventures. Then, in November 2003, another family, the Zwebens, donated a 5.43-acre oceanfront parcel located at the mouth of the aforementioned Kilauea Stream that connected to the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge and offered public access to the beach. The Hawaiian Islands Land Trust later purchased another 12 acres to further safeguard access and improve conservation efforts in the area. Now, with public access, larger cleaning efforts could and did take place with the collaboration of local volunteer groups. Today, Kahili Beach Preserve is considered one of the most beautiful beaches along the island’s North Shore with its frontage remaining wild.
Kahili Beach Preserve features a long stretch of soft white sand with the rock quarry at its westernmost end and tide pools dotting its eastern shoreline. Where the stream flows into the river, you’ll find several rope swims that are great for kids, teenagers, and anyone who likes soaring through the sky and splashing into the cool water.
However, while some aspects of Kahili Beach Preserve are decidedly kid and family-friendly, this overall is not the best beach for families with younger kids. We must emphasize that this is maintained as a preserved and not a park. There are no restrooms, showers, or picnic facilities here. There is likewise never a posted lifeguard, and the ocean waves here can get rough with a potential for rip tides that make swimming downright dangerous.
That said, there is something that Kahili Beach Preserves is fantastic for surfing. There is no reef (so also not a worthy spot for snorkelers) to stop or reduce the waves as they roll in from the deep ocean, but there are multiple sandbar breaks that lend to great surfing conditions.
-All community preserves, including Kahili Beach Preserve, are strictly no pet places. So if you don’t like beaching with dogs, then this one should be at the top of the list. If you did bring your pup with you to play, then we recommend skipping this one.
-Want to experience the superior surfing here but don’t have a board? Just check in to the small community of Kilauea that you’ll have to pass through to get to the beach. Here, you’ll find two places to rent boards, the Aloha Exchange Kilauea and Island Roots Aloha Surf School. The latter will even take you out under the tutelage of an experienced surfer to really get the most out of your trip.
-Make sure to give the nearby Fehring Family Farm Stand a visit if you’re hungry. Here, you’ll find a massive selection of fresh organic Hawaiian produce for sale. They also serve up cool treats perfect for a hot summer day, like frosties, acai bowls, and smoothies.