Thursday, January 31, 2013

It's not a dream, it's Haena Beach, Kauai

With the jade fingers of Makana reaching to the sky and white hot sand leading to the warm aquamarine waters, Haena Beach is dreamlike. If only dreams were that good! Haena is the site of Tunnels snorkeling beach, one of Hawaii's best coral reefs, and just down the road at Makana is Limahuli National Tropical Garden, an opportunity to take a stroll through "earth's Eden." For the more adventurous, just two miles away from the garden is the end of the highway and the beginning of the Kalalau Trail, an 11-mile trek along the island's famous seacliffs-the Napali coast.

On the other hand, if you hit the right day at Haena, the smart thing to do may be to chill out and soak it all in.

The alluring beauty of Kauai's north shore, as depicted in the 1950s movie South Paciic, is what helped create the post-WWII tourist boom in the islands. In the movie, Makana is called "Bali Hai," a name that stuck.

Crowds can appear along this normally sleepy coast when the weather is optimal. For parking and other tips on finding seclusion, check out Kauai Trailblazer, pages 29-34.