A hidden gem on Kauai’s north shore near Kilauea, Kalihiwai Beach is generally less well known than its neighbor Anini Beach, but the beach is (in our opinion) even more beautiful than Anini. The long, crescent-shaped beach sits in a bay framed by lava cliffs.
In between the cliffs there is plenty of sand, and behind the beach there is plenty of shade from the Ironwood trees. The Kalihiwai River flows into the bay on one side of the beach, offering opportunities for swimming, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding.
On the river side of the beach there is usually a shallow pool behind the beach that is perfect for the kids. With a sandy bottom (no reef) and medium sized waves that break near the shore, this is the perfect beach for bodyboarding.
In fact, if we had to name the best beach on Kauai for bodyboarding, Kalihiwai Beach in the summer months is first on our list. In the winter months the beach is popular with local surfers.
Though the beach is generally safer than some other Kauai beaches, there can still be strong undercurrents, especially near the mouth of the river. The winter surf spot near the cliffs should only be used by expert surfers.
The beautiful beach has it all, except snorkeling and the crowds. The beach is a nice place for a cookout or picnic lunch and most everything else you can do at a beach. Just pull right up, park in the shade and enjoy.
How To Reach Kalihiwai Beach
There are two ways to reach the beach. From Kapaa, take a right on the first road past the big concrete Kalihiwai Bridge (the one that also goes to Anini). At the fork, take a right on Kalihiwai Road. This will take you to the river side of the beach. (Taking a left at the fork will take you to Anini Beach.)
There is parking in the trees on this side, but the beach is farther and not as many people park on this side. Most visitors take the road before the bridge (also Kalihiwai Road) and follow that road to the beach where there is more parking.
Location at Google Maps
More Kalihiwai Beach Photos
Above: The view of Kalihiwai Beach as you approach from the Anini Beach side.
Above: The Kalihiwai River empties into Kalihiwai Bay. On this side of the beach there is a pool behind the beach.
Above: The beach is usually perfect in the summer months for bodyboarding.
Above: You will find both sun and shade at Kalihiwai, whichever you prefer.
Above: There’s plenty of shaded parking.