Polihua Beach Park
Where is Polihua Beach
At 1.5 miles, Polihua Beach park is the longest white sand beach on Lanai. However, it takes dedication to reach this secluded beach. Polihua means egg nest, a reference to the fact that this used to be a green sea turtle nesting area. It is rare to find a nest as the sea turtles have moved their nesting grounds to the northern islands. These days, many travelers reach the beach to find that they are all alone enjoying the beautiful views of sand dunes, ocean and the island of Molokai in the distance.
If you travel here during the winter months, you may see humpback whales migrating to the north. The sea bottom drops very quickly at Polihua, meaning the whales can pass by close to shore. The combination of strong winds, deep ocean and lack of protective reef make this a dangerous place for human swimmers.
How to get to Polihua Beach
Polihua Beach Park is about 13 miles to the north of Lanai City. Reaching the beach is part of the adventure. Travelers must follow the rocky Polihua Trail. This trail can be traversed by foot, mountain bike or 4-wheel drive vehicle. A few places in the city will rent tourists a jeep for the day. There is a small parking area at the end of the trail. Then it is a short hike over a stretch of sand to reach the beach.
What to do at Polihua Beach
Polihua Beach is the perfect place to simply enjoy the spirit of Hawaii. You will have a clear view of Molokai and a distant view of Diamond Head on Oahu on a clear day. The rough conditions make this a dangerous place for swimming. The current is unpredictable throughout the year, but especially during the winter season. Some visitors simply enjoy taking the 1.5-mile long walk along Lanai’s longest beach. Others will bring a picnic lunch. Keep in mind that the high winds may blow beach towels and trash out to sea. Make sure that all your possessions are secured when visiting this part of the island.
Other things to do near Polihua Beach
Lanai is one of the least visited islands in Hawaii. However, it has several attractions that are unique to the island.
The Garden of the Gods
Not far from the Polihua Trail, this natural rock garden provides a unique landscape for its visitors. Unlike most of Hawaii, this area is dry, dusty and filled with unique geological formations. Many years of wind have carved the rocks into unusual shapes and placed them in strange positions. Some visitors suggested seeing this area at sunset when the rocks take on vibrant red, orange and purple hues.
Further along the north shore of the island is Shipwreck Beach. It is accessible by another trail from the main city. Due to the number of ships that have wrecked on nearby reefs over the years, this beach is a favorite for beachcombers. You never know what sort of treasures may be washed ashore. You will also see the remains of two large ships that were intentionally grounded during World War II.
If you enjoy the adventure of getting to Polihua Beach, you will probably be a fan of the Munro Trail. This 12-mile trail is located to the east of the main city and is accessible by mountain bike or 4-wheel drive car. There are a couple of outfits that give guided tours of the trail. Munro Trail is considered one of the best mountain bike trails in the country. It is both challenging and beautiful as it travels by mountain views that allow travelers to see many of the surrounding islands on a clear day.
Where to stay near Polihua Beach
Lanai is a smaller island with limited accommodations. However, in the main city, there are several choices for visitors.
The two major hotels in the area are the Hotel Lanai and the Four Seasons Resort-Lanai. Both hotels offer luxurious rooms in the downtown area. The Four Seasons also offers a golf course, spa and fine dining.
There are many vacation rental houses both in the city and on the southern coast of the island. These provide comfortable rooms for an extended stay.
Hulupoe’s Bay Campgrounds on the southern end of the island offer camp sites in a gorgeous location. The calm waters of Hulupoe Bay make it the best area on the island for swimming, snorkeling and diving.