Polihale State Park
Polihale beach with sand and green leaves growing

Covid-19 Protocols: Please wear a mask, maintain social distancing, and be respectful of others. Aloha, Hawaii State Parks

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PARK UPDATES: 3-7-21 - [KAUAI] - The Kalalau trail is OPEN.

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3/1/21 - [MAUI] - Waianapanapa State Park - Entry and Parking Reservations are now required for all non-residents. For reservations go to www.gowaianapanapa.com

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3/1/21 - [OAHU] - Waahila Ridge State Recreation Area - CLOSED 2/17/21 through 3/5/21 for tree removal.  The closure prevents access to the Waahila Ridge Trail through the park.  The park will open Saturday, March 6, but there will be limited access intermittently through April 2021.

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2/25/21 - [OAHU] - Kaena Point State Park - Vehicle Access Gate on the Mokuleia side (north shore) is OPEN.  The Keawaula gate (west side) is CLOSED but the park is OPEN.

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1/5/21 - [MAUI] - Makena State Park - Puu Olai a.k.a. Little Beach is CLOSED until further notice.

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12/16/20 - [OAHU] - Diamond Head State Monument is now OPEN!

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11/23/20 - [MAUI] - Iao Valley State Monument - OPEN. Paid parking by credit card only.

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11/3/20 - [HAWAII] - Hapuna Beach Restroom services are limited to portable toilets due to a recent water main break.

Polihale State Park

12/4/2020 - Polihale State Park has reopened - for day use only. Polihale had been closed indefinitely due to increasing abuse, including driving on the beach and dunes, gatherings, and rampant illegal camping, which has led to public health and safety concerns.
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Please abide by the posted rules and hours, and treat your park with respect. Mahalo.

Please note that the road leading to the park is an unimproved dirt road that may flood during rains and become impassable. Other areas have deep sand. Four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended. Rental car companies may prohibit use of their vehicles on this park access road.
Hours 5:30 am – 7:45 pm  daily
Entrance Fee None
Camping

By Permit Only

  • Residents = $20 Per Night, Per Campsite
  • Non-Residents = $30 Per Night, Per Campsite
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Description

Braving a long and rutted dirt road rewards the traveler with a stunning beach park. Picnicking and tent camping on wild coastline with large sand beach backed by dunes. Scenic setting, colorful sunsets and good views of the high sea cliffs of Nāpali Coast. Swimming in summer during calm conditions; shore fishing. Beware of strong, offshore currents. Hot, dry area.

Re-Opening Polihale State Park

12/4/20 – Polihale State Park has reopened for day-use only.  Park is open from 5:30 am-7:45 pm daily.

9/14/20 – The DLNR Division of State Parks (DSP) is preparing for the reopening of Polihale State Park on Kaua‘i, although no firm date has yet been set. Due to overuse and abuse, the popular beach and camping area was shut down. One weekend, an estimated 1,000 people camped illegally. Reopening will likely happen within weeks, however, if park users do not comply with park rules, it will be closed again. 

“Clearly we have management and enforcement deficiencies, made worse by the current pandemic and related fiscal constraints”, said DLNR Chair Suzanne Case. “We will not allow resources to be degraded, so we are asking park users to behave as expected or we will be forced to close Polihale again.”   

DSP leadership has been meeting with lineal and cultural descendant families from the area to exchange ideas and formulate short, medium, and long-term plans for improved park management. Some have been granted cultural access to the park area to conduct clean-ups and mālama cultural sites, including burials, located within the sensitive dune system.  

Although these families have been caring for the ‘aina for generations, many others are not aware of the cultural significance of the area. It is hoped that widespread adoption of caring for Polihale will lead to much improved compliance. 

DSP administrator Curt Cottrell said, “A stewardship agreement is a potential outcome, and would be a welcome augmentation for park maintenance and management. In the near-term, DSP will install clearer messaging of park rules through new signage and printed flyers. 30 new speedbumps have already been installed to discourage speeding and damage to the parkʻs five-mile-long unimproved entry road. A decision on whether to allow overnight camping has not been made.” 

Mid-term proposals include a possible permit entry system for all vehicles entering the park. A successful model has been in place for years at Oʻahuʻs Kaʻena Point State Park, where permittees are provided explicit maps of designated roads. They commit to abiding by all rules and are subject to having their access revoked if they break them. 

Long-term measures include capital improvement projects aimed at protecting the dunes, enhancing access, parking, and camping areas, as well as adding better educational and interpretive devices to focus on the important cultural and natural resources of the park. Adding toilets near the Poʻoahonu (Queenʻs Pond) area of the park is also critical to protecting the sanctity of this area.   

A long-standing issue is the dangerous combination of driving on the beach and camping without permits. Both are illegal activities under State Parks Administrative rules. Cottrell added, “In the future this could be regulated via a permit process or rule change but, for now, park users are reminded that driving on the beach or through the dunes is illegal. To address this issue, DSP is working towards designating certain beach areas at Polihale for restricted transiting, parking, and boat launching.”   

Implementing any significant new management measures is a challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic. State budget woes and hiring freezes have prompted DLNR to encourage kokua from the Kauaʻi community. Cottrell concluded, “We’re trying determine how much people really care about Polihale’ s natural and cultural resources. Reopening with new guidelines is an opportunity to see”