Polihua Beach

Polihua Beach – Where to Go for Pure Seclusion Along the Northern Shores of Lanai
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

If you’re looking for a secluded spot to sunbathe, enjoy the views, or simply take a stroll on the sandy shores, Polihua Beach is definitely calling your name. Want to go camping instead? That’s okay, too, as long as you can deal with the lack of facilities at this North Shore Lanai beach.  

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

Polihua Beach offers a chance to enjoy paradise in pure seclusion, although it takes quite a bit of doing to get there. Located along the northern shores of Lanai, this beach sits more than an hour down a rutty Jeep trail, only allowing the most committed souls to get there. So, if you want to come by, you’ll need to get your hands on a capable four-wheel-drive vehicle. Although you could take a trip here on a guided tour, the extra people might disrupt your dreams of peace and quiet.

Either way, you’re not likely to encounter many other individuals upon arriving at this beach. And if you do, they are probably also looking for a quiet, secluded spot to kick back and relax, so don’t expect too much interaction. Plus, with over two miles of sandy shores to enjoy, it’s rather easy to find your very own piece of paradise to appreciate all on your own.

You will need to keep your feet on the ground at Polihua Beach though because the conditions are far too dangerous for swimming. The abrupt drop-off just off the coast, overly rough surf, and lack of a lifeguard keep this beach from serving as a great place to swim. Even when the tides are low and the surf is calm, you’ll definitely want to stay out of the water.

Instead, you can go beachcombing, sunbathing, or just sit and admire the view. Want to build sandcastles that will stand undisrupted until the tide comes in? You can do that, too. Just be sure to bring along all your sandcastle building tools or get ready to improvise.

Camping is allowed as well, as long as you can deal with the complete lack of bathrooms, showers, garbage cans, and other conveniences. You’ll want to set up your camp far from the high tide line, so you don’t get flooded with water unexpectedly.

As you explore Polihua Beach, always leave the rocks and seashells you find on the beach to be enjoyed by all. If you don’t see any seashells, just gently dig in the sand. The wind buries them in the sand, keeping them hidden from view until you take matters into your own hands.

As with all Hawaiian beaches, it’s important to know what the weather and surf will be like, even though swimming is not on the itinerary. To find out, don’t just check your favorite weather app. Pull up a Hawaiian moon calendar as well to learn about the tides, surf, and more. If the seas are expected to go the volatile route, you’re best off rescheduling for a calmer day.

Since there are no facilities on site at Polihua Beach, commit to packing out what you bring with you. If possible, go the extra mile and pack out any extra trash you might find along the way as long as it’s safe to do so. With that move, you can give back to the island and ocean, helping keep Lanai clean and tidy for generations to come. So, bring along a garbage bag to use on each trip, and then put it to work storing all your trash for disposal once you get back in town.

Insider Tips:
-Never drive on the deep, soft sand at Polihua Beach. You will undoubtedly get stuck and have no way to pull your vehicle out. Instead, go to the parking area on the left at the end of the road, marked with “Dollar Rental Car Parking,” and walk the rest of the way.
-Although you’re headed to the beach, skip the flip-flops. Wear thick-soled ankle boots instead for protection against the thorns dropped by the kiawe trees.
-Do not bother the small fishing shacks along the coast. They are used by locals all throughout the season.
-When walking along the parking area and by the many other trees nearby, watch out for bees and wasps. If driving a soft-top Jeep, check inside your vehicle as well since they can fit through small openings.