Polihale State Park
Polihale beach with sand and green leaves growing

PARK UPDATES:

[OʻAHU]: UPDATED 11/17/22: Kaʻena Point State Park – We are now accepting the 2023 Kaʻena Point Vehicle Access Permit applications. Please be patient as applications may take longer than the posted 10 days to process.

[MAUI] UPDATED 11/2/22: Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area will remain CLOSED until access roads through Kula Forest Reserve are cleared from storm damage and safe to traverse. Anticipated re-opening is January to mid-February 2023 (Per DOFAW). For updates, please go to: https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/blog/2022/06/27/nr22-090/

[MAUI] UPDATED 11/2/22: ʻIAO VALLEY STATE MONUMENT – As of August 1, 2022 ʻIao Valley State Monument will be closed through February, 2023 for the final phase of the slope stabilization project and parking lot improvements.

Polihale State Park

7/20/22 - Overnight camping will reopen beginning Aug. 14, 2022. Reservations will be available online starting Aug. 1 and may be made up to 90 days in advance.

 

Hours 5:30 am – 6:45 pm  daily
Camping

By Permit Only, Open Daily

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

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Description

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.

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

7/20/22 – Overnight camping at Polihale will re-open for stays beginning August 14, 2022.  Reservations will be available starting August 1.  For ease and convenience, we encourage applicants to make their reservations via the online portal linked in this page. 

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”