Countless Kauaʻi locals consider Lumaha‘i their favorite beach on an island blessed with dozens of beauties. It’s utterly cinematic, with thick loamy sand backed by lush mountains and lava rock outcrops to either end. In the 1958 movie South Pacific, this was where Mitzi Gaynor wanted to ‘wash that man’ right out of her hair.
Stretching just over a mile from one lava-rock tabletop to the other, Lumaha‘i may be beautiful, but it’s renowned as one of the most dangerous beaches on Kaua‘i. Even if the turquoise shallows and deep-blue depths appear inviting, the inlet lacks barrier reefs and breaks, so swimming is risky. Too many visitors have drowned in its rough rip currents and powerful waves. Stay dry instead and take a stroll, which still requires being water savvy. This is also the North Shore's best spot for beach running.
Of the two ways onto Lumahaʻi Beach, the first and more scenic involves a steep three-minute hike. The trail slopes down to the left from the end of the retaining wall of a parking area beside the Kuhio Hwy, 0.75 miles west of Mile 4. On the beach, the rocky ledges are popular for sunbathing and photo ops, but beware: bystanders have been washed away by high surf and rogue waves.
You can also access Lumahaʻi at sea level at its western end, just before the road crosses the Lumahaʻi River Bridge. The beach at this point is lined with ironwood trees.