Kaua'i has a multitude of gorgeous, white sand beaches, and we had time on our last trip to explore some that we hadn't been to in prior years. We also spent a good deal of time at the beach by our hotel, Kalapaki Beach, due to its convenience and accessibility. Despite its convenience, it got a little crowded some days, so we went in search of a quieter spot.
Probably the most popular beach in Kaua'i is Poipu Beach on the Western side of the island, but when we were there briefly on Friday, it seemed as though every square inch of this tiny, crescent-shaped bit of sand seemed was covered by someone's beach towel and coconut-oiled body. One of our local friends characterized it as "the new Waikiki." The abundance of timeshares, hotels, and guest-houses in Poipu make it a popular tourist spot. While it's a nice spot, with shallow pools for kids to play in, and interesting fish to look at, it wasn't quite what we were looking for in terms of "beach getaway."
We drove a little further north to the equally beautiful (and relatively empty) Salt Pond Beach Park. Near the historic town of Hanapepe, the Salt Pond is where Hawaiians have traditionally gone to gather sea salt for cooking. It's a lovely park, with a grassy area leading to a sandy beach, with a rock-enclosed space perfect for kids to splash around it in, protected from the rough waves.
At Salt Pond, there are barbecue grills and shelters that make it a perfect place for a family outing. In fact, while we were there, the only other people we saw were local families hanging out, listening to music, and watching their kids splash around in the water. This is a great place for a family picnic, especially if your kids are not yet accustomed to the ocean.
On Saturday, we drove up to Waimea Canyon (more on that later) and then down to the far, far north west side of Kauai, to the point where the Napali coast begins, to visit Polihale State Park.
Getting there was not easy, requiring a 5 mile drive down a stretch of bumpy, unpaved road formerly used as a sugar cane field access road. We dubbed this "Numb Butt Road" because it seemed like we wore out the shock absorbers on our rental car during the first mile and had sore butts by the time we finally reached the beach. Even though the signs leading into the road said "Four Wheel Drive Beyond this Point," the little Ford Fusion did just fine. Some days, after rain and winds, this road is not passable by cars, so be forewarned.
The beach was practically empty when we arrived, and one loan surfer was out braving some ten-foot swells. We would not let Alex go in the water, since this beach is known for strong currents and riptides. He was quite content to stay at the water's edge and build a sand castle, and watch this dude do his best to stay up.
The water was an amazing deep blue, much darker and bluer than further south or on the eastside of the island, it seemed to me. This was one of the most gorgeous beaches I've ever seen (and having been to the Seychelles, that's saying quite a lot for me). This is the type of beach you go to just hang out, look at the ocean, and enjoy the view, unless you're a seasoned surfer.
Off in the distance, the sky cleared up just enough for us to catch a glimpse of the mysterious island of Ni'ihau, a privately owned island known as "The Forbidden Island." One of the most coveted items that you can take home from a trip to Hawaii is a shell lei from Ni'ihau, made of tiny delicate seashells that rival pearls in their lustre and hues. I have one from a previous trip, and it is one of my most prized possessions. It reminds me of the beauty of the islands and lazy days at the beach, building sandcastles, and just enjoying being alive.
This post is part of Delicious Baby's Photo Friday, so go check out some wonderful travel photos there!