The right moment at Haena Beach is one you will never forget.
It's a couple miles from the end of the road on Kauai's north shore. This couple is sitting at 'Tunnels,' one of Hawaii's best snorkeling beaches, about a ten minute walk from the parking lot at the beach park itself. The saw-toothed ridge is called Makena, but it s known by many as 'Bali Hai,' a moniker bestowed by the movie, South Pacific.
When the conditions are good, parking right at Tunnels, or even at the beach park, can be hell on wheels—but Kauai Trailblazer has a couple parking spots that are car-free. These quiet entries are from Charo's Beach, around a sandy point from Tunnels. Charo's is a locals' beach that is unpopulated even on the busiest of days.
Wave play is fun when the conditions are right. Big-boy surfers head to Cannons, a surf spot next to Haena (which you can see in the top right of the top picture).
One of the best beachcomber walks in the universe is from Haena, past Cannons, and on to Ke'e Beach, which is the darling at road's end near the Kalalau Trailhead. About halfway along the walk is the site of Taylor Camp, where hundreds of hippies homesteaded under a grove of leafy trees for years in the sixties (guests of the landowner, who was the brother of actress Elizabeth Taylor).
During the winter months, surf at Haena can be fantastically lethal. Lifeguards post signs along the beach, but you'd be surprised how many people get too close. Trailblazer guides are full of specific safety warnings for all the beaches and trails in the Aloha State. For independent and curious travelers, these books are essential gear.