There are a lot of phenomenal beaches lining the shore of Hawaii’s island of Kuai. Because there are so many other more famous beaches, Lumahai Beach feels underrated.
There likely are a couple of reasons why this beach doesn’t get as much attention as others, and it’s not because it isn’t as stunningly beautiful.
First off, the beach likely suffers from the fact that it frequently has intense currents that will pull swimmers away from the shore. Yes, I know that’s scary! Usually the currents aren’t as intense in the summer, which will allow you to safely swim here (and regardless of the currents there is a river/stream that heads out to the beach that you can almost always swim in).
Another reason that Lumahai Beach might be underrated is that until recently it was closed. A number of Kauai beaches experienced abnormal flooding and had to be closed while they were revitalized. Thankfully, Lumahai Beach is back open and ready to be fully enjoyed again.
- Lumaha'i Beach Quick Facts:
- Location of Lumaha'i and Kalahala Beach
- What To Expect at Lumaha'i Beach
Lumaha’i Beach Quick Facts:
- Sand: Fine Golden sand (amazing!)
- Water: Turquoise blue, though the stream running out to the shore isn’t as clear blue
- Swimming conditions: Dangerous! Be careful swimming here, unless you are swimming in the stream that runs out to the ocean
- Known For: wide bar of sand and scary currents
- Facilities: No
- Lifeguards: No
- Parking: Tons along the side of road (especially unique in this area)
- Cost: free
- Other Names: Kahalahala Beach (next door)
Location of Lumaha’i and Kalahala Beach
Lumahai Beach is located on the north shore of Kauai. It is immediately next door to Kahalahala Beach. Sometimes these two beaches get lumped together as there really isn’t much of a break between them.
It is also in the area of the Hanalei resort area as well as the famous Haena State Park.
This area of the island takes about one hour to drive to if you are coming from the airport since you have to wind around the coast at times traffic can back up going through the small towns. At the worst times of day the drive could take you as much as two hours.
Lumaha’i Beach map
What To Expect at Lumaha’i Beach
This amazing beach has its unique elements that make it not suitable for everyone. To help prepare you, I’ve listed the drawbacks first, but trust me, even with them it’s still an excellent choice.
Unfortunately there are no amenities at this beach. You won’t even find an official parking lot. There are no showers, no bathrooms, no lifeguards, and definitely no bars to sip your drinks on.
To make up for this, you can drive the 9 minutes to the town of Hanalei. Hanalei has everything you could ask for in terms of amenities, though it is a little bit of a drive away.
Lumahai Beach surfer in Kauai, Hawaii
Dangerous cliff jump on Lumahai Beach, island of Kauai.
Lumahai Beach Waves and Intense Currents
While I love this beach you MUST be aware of the scary waves and currents. The currents are famous for pulling people away from the shore.
It is much calmer in the summer, but it still something to be aware of.
Even if the waves are intense, there is still a way you can swim here. The Lumahai River flows out to the ocean at this beach. The end of the river slows into a nice stream/creek that you can swim in. The sand goes directly up to it, which allows a faux beach experience on the river.
The area where the river meets the ocean is super popular for people to hang out on and have a picnic.
Widest Sand Beach
When you visit Lumahai Beach you will first see how incredibly wide the sand lining the shore is. Wide bars of sand help make beaches feel huge, even though it isn’t quite as long as some of the others.
It has the widest bar of sand of all the Kauai beaches I’ve seen (and I’ve been to most of the Kauai beaches).
I literally got tired walking across the sand trying to access the water. In some places it is close to 100 yards of sand.
Lumahai Beach Parking
Unlike a lot of other Kauai Beaches parking at Lumahai beach is easy and free! There are plenty of pull offs where you can park directly in front of the beach. I had no problem finding an open spot even at the busiest times.
Some people with 4x4s will pull up into the trees/dirt to be even closer to the sand.
The rough waters and lack of facilities keep the crowds away. If you are okay with these things, being able to have a ton of sand to yourself is a huge perk! I’ve been there multiple times and never had to be close to another group on the beach.
Recent flooding and intense currents keep this beach from being more famous. Maybe that is an advantage if you are looking to avoid the worst crowds and don’t need to get all the way into the water. Lumahai Beach just might be the answer! This is especially helpful given the popularity of this part of the island of Kauai.
WHAT TO PACK FOR KAUAI
- Shorts – Anyone who is traveling to Hawaii needs a good pair of shorts. Khakis are great for guys. For women, cute athletic shorts or denim shorts are perfect for a breezy summertime look. These Levi denim shorts are my current favorites! These high waisted athletic shorts have gone viral on instagram and for good reason, they are AMAZING.
- Dresses– Packing a few good dresses is essential for Hawaii. Dresses have become my go to on trips to help quickly put an outfit together. Revolve is one of my go to shops for beach dresses.
- Sandals – LOVE these Teva’s! They are my new go to travel sandal. Shop my favorite Teva’s here. They are great to wear in the water snorkeling and also amazing for hiking in Hawaii.
- Sports bra – This SKIMS bra is the most comfortable sports bra you will ever wear! Trust me. I travel with 5 of them. Also, highly recommend checking out the SKIMS fits everybody bra is to die for as well.
- Snorkeling gear – for obvious reasons.
- Tank tops – Free people is my go to place to buy cute and affordable tank tops. I have this tighten up tank in almost every color.
- Hat – essential. Shop the newest hats at Nordstrom.
- Beach cover-up – Having at least one good cover-up is essential on any beach trip. I recommend ASOS, Nordstrom and Revolve as well.
- Hiking boots – I have two pairs of hiking boots that I love. My Columbia waterproof boots and my Salomon hiking boots. Highly recommend checking them both out! Warning – they both sell out really quick.
- Tennis Shoes – I guess you could wear sandals hiking this trail but I would recommend tennis shoes. It can get narrow and slippery in parts. These Nike high tops are my current favs. They look so cute with shorts too!
- Packing cubes – I always go to Urban Outfitters for my packing cubes. They have the cutest ones!
- Quick Dry Travel Towel – This quick dry towel is amazing to travel with. It really will come in handy when you need extra room in your suitcase.
Planning a trip to Kauai? Read everything we know about Kauai here:
My husband and I have been to Kauai many, many times and have written up more guides to help you plan your trip. These are my most popular blog posts and Kauai travel guides to help you plan your trip.
Best Beaches for Snorkeling on Kauai
- TUNNELS BEACH IN KAUAI (amazing snorkeling, swimming, seals) – one of my personal favorite beaches own the entire island!
- KE’E BEACH ON KAUAI – great snorkeling, swimming, but you have to make reservation in advance – it was a nightmare.
- Hideaway’s Beach – Amazing snorkeling on the North Shore.
- Anini Beach – (Snorkeling, fishing, swimming) Great for basically everything.
- Kalapaki Beach in Kauai – Kids beach. Perfect beach for families, beginner snorkeling and swimming!
Best Cliff Jumping in Kauai
- SHIPWRECK BEACH ON KAUAI – Amazing cliff jumping beach
- QUEEN’S BATH KAUAI: COMPLETE GUIDE – Another must visit!
More awesome beaches
- MOLOA’A BEACH ON KAUAI – Insanely underrated. Giligans Island was filmed here. This beach was another one of my favorites. Practically empty.
- Lumaha’i Beach Kauai – What you need to know before going
- Secret Beach Kauai! (aka Kauapea beach) – MUST see beach!
- Haena Beach – We saw a Monk Seal on this beach!
- Gillin’s Beach – Fairly secluded beach where you can ride horses!
- Donkey Beach – Underrated – practically deserted beach
- Hanalei Beach – Gorgeous beach, perfect for sunsets.
- Salt Pond Beach Park – Amazing beach for kids and families (You can camp here as well)
- Black Pot Beach
Kauai Hiking Guides
- WAILUA FALLS HIKE ON KAUAI – AMAZING WATERFALL HIKE! Probably my favorite hike I have ever done.
- KALEPA RIDGE TRAIL – BEST HIKE IN HAWAII…SERIOUSLY. Trust me, don’t leave this one off your list! It’s GORGEOUS!
- MAKALEHA TRAIL – Amazing trail that is extremely muddy. 100% worth it!
- CANYON TRAIL TO WAIPO’O FALLS
- Pihea Trail – Easy hike on Kauai with Na’pali Coast Views!
- Makauwahi Cave Trail – Kauai Hidden gem
Read about all the hikes we have done in Kauai here.
Read all other posts on Kauai here.