Niumalu Beach Park

Niumalu Beach Park -- Small Oceanfront Park Near Nawiliwili Harbor
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Located in the Nawiliwili neighborhood on Kauai, the Niumalu Beach Park is a popular community park thanks to its locations and amenities. While the water here isn't great for swimming, this beach is perfect for launching boats to explore Huela Stream and the greater Huela Fish and Wildlife Refuge. 

- The Local Expert Team

Niumalu Beach Park is a city park located on the southeastern side of Kauai in the Nawiliwili neighborhood. This waterfront park spans about three acres and includes general park amenities as well as a sandy beach along Nawiliwili Harbor.

Of course, this area has not always been a public beachfront park. It was once home to Paul Kanoa and later his son Paul P. Kanoa, both large political figures in the 19th century. Later, it became county offices, and later still the hill above the beach transformed into Kauai High School Yet, still, most of the land below the high school remained relatively wild and untamed until 2014 when a local boy scouts group made it their mission to clean things up. Today, Niumalu Beach Park offers a nice play for locals and visitors to hang out and appreciate the local environment.

Niumalu Beach Park boasts playground equipment, several picnic areas, clean restrooms, and a kayak and canoe boat launch. While there was once a nice stretch of sandy beach here, the construction of the nearby harbor jetty changed the nature of the cove. Now, more rocks define the beach’s edging than sandy slopes. 

But lava rocks are just a part of why this beach is not recommended for swimming. The way in which the river flows and the nearby docks backflow results in this beach frequently having high, unsafe bacteria counts and, on occasion, other types of water pollution. As such, most people avoid and should avoid swimming at Niumalu Beach Park. There are no lifeguards here. 

While swimming is out, plenty of other activities are in. Niumalu Beach Park’s location lends it to being a perfect launching point for river adventures up the Hueia Stream and into the more tropical areas of Huleia Valley. In fact, parts of this waterway were featured in the beloved action film, Raiders of the Lost Ark — so you might recognize some stretches of shoreline even if you’ve never been here before! 

Those who don’t have their own kayak or paddleboard can rent from the nearby Outfitters Kauai Kayak Shack that offers boat rentals as well as guided tours from a neighboring beachfront access point. The guided tours offered through this outfit often also include a hike through the tropical brush, ending at a secluded waterfall that is safe (and fun) to swim at. 

Picnicking is another great activity to enjoy at Niumalu Beach Park. Grab some go-to food from one of Lihue’s many popular restaurants and sandwich shops, or go shopping for your own sandwich supplies and enjoy a meal looking out across the bay. Being on the southeast of Kauai, this park does offer a good viewpoint for enjoying sunrises all year round as well as sunsets during the winter months. 

There are two parking areas for Niumalu Beach Park. Those with trailers to launch should head to the parking lot on the park’s eastern side. You’ll reach this parking lot by heading west on Niumalu Road from Waapa Road. Or, you can follow Waapa Road south as it wraps around the park and becomes Numalu Road. Keep going and you will see a small parking area on your left in front of the park’s large pavilion. This is a more ideal parking area if you’re looking to enjoy the picnicking amenities or want to walk the beachfront. 

Insider Tips:
-This is a popular local park with a large pavilion and general picnic areas often being used for large family gatherings and other types of parties
-The water just off the beach here consistently fails water quality tests so even if you see people swimming in the water, it is strongly recommended you don’t join them.