Lumahai Beach near Hanalei is regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches on all of Kauai. The wide, white sandy beach is almost a mile long and up to 300 feet wide with plenty of room for everyone. Abundant trees provide a beautiful green backdrop, as well as shade.
Lumahai Beach is also one of Kauai’s most dangerous beaches and extreme caution should be used by visitors. You will want to stay on the beach and away from the water at Lumahai. The beach slopes abruptly into the water, causing waves to break near the shore and creating a powerful undertow.
A popular area at Lumahai Beach is at the mouth of the Lumahai River at the west end of the beach. The river is normally calm next to and behind the beach and is a favorite location for families where they can wade in the water and use a rope swing. While at times this area is safe, at other times there is a powerful rip current present at the mouth of the river that can quickly sweep individuals out to sea. Several people have drowned near the mouth of the river, including ABC News doctor Jamie Zimmerman, and the entire beach has claimed dozens of lives, prompting some locals to call the beach Luma-die. The beach is a great place to hang out, but if you want to go in the water head over to next-door neighbor Hanalei Beach which is protected by a bay and does not have the abrupt drop off.
Another popular area at Lumahai is at the east end of the beach. This area is known as a “locals” beach. There is a rocky outcropping and a small cove. Sunsets are especially spectacular here as the long beach is in full view when the sun sets near the far end.
Lumahai is approximately two miles past the town of Hanalei on Kauai’s beautiful North Shore. Limited parking for the “locals” east end can be found at the top of a curve on the roadway, with a short, wide hike down to the cove area. There is ample parking for the west end of Lumahai (near the mouth of the Lumahai River) in the trees behind the beach and along the roadway.
Location at Google Maps
Lumahai Beach Photos
The Lumahai River flows through the beach at the west end and is a popular recreational area. A rope swing (below) is a fun activity at the river.
The water is more turbulent at the mouth of the river and only expert swimmers and those familiar with the area should go in the water here. It is here where the riptide is strongest and a number of drownings have occurred.
The beach slopes down abruptly near the water, creating a dangerous area for swimming. This is the western part of the beach.
The east end of Lumahai Beach is a favorite among locals.
These local residents have experience on the rocks at Lumahai. Newcomers should stay off the rocks as crashing waves and slippery surfaces pose dangers.
Sunsets are spectacular as seen from the east end of Lumahai Beach.
Parking is usually not a problem at the western end of the beach near the Lumahai River.
Parking is limited for the eastern end of Lumahai.