Aloha and welcome to Hawaii Overlander. This is our first post of many which will feature small guides to camping, exploring, and enjoying your time on Kaua'i. The first in this series is Polihale State Park on the west side. This remote stretch of beach is the longest in the state of Hawaii and runs from Kekaha to the beginning of the Na Pali Coast.
It is always best to stock up on any supplies you may need before hitting the dirt road. The last place to stop for supplies is Waimea Town. There you will find Ishihara Market, Big Save Market, and Shell Gas Station. Ishihara has some of the best plate lunches on the island as well as a large selection of Poke and fresh meats. I recommend getting some Terry Beef or Poke and rice. They are always best suited with some cervezas as well. Big Save Market has a larger selection of fresh produce and is a bit larger then Isihara market, but with a little less local charm. If you need gasoline be sure to stop at the Shell station because its your last chance.
Traveling West on the main highway follow the signs till you reach the end of the paved road and be ready to lock the hubs. Polihale is accessed by four wheel drive only and during rainy season can have some technical 4x4 sections. The road to the beach can take 15-25 minutes to get down depending on its condition.
Once you complete your trek down the rough road you are welcomed by a beautiful white sand beach with views of the Na Pali coast and the forbidden island of Ni'ihau. If attempting to drive onto the sand always be sure to air down your tires to no more then 15 PSI for optimal sand floatation and traction. Sand can be quite soft and it is not forgiving if you are a novice driver. Its best to stay within tracks that have been made by previous drivers as well as steer clear of the high tide line in case of rising swells and incoming tides. Always be aware of your surroundings and remember that it is a privalage to drive on the sand. Many locals camp here every weekend so be respectful at all times. Never pull up and camp ten feet away from someone, you have the whole park to explore! If you are ever in a situation where your completely stuck in the sand, it always is recommended to keep an extra 6 pack of beer in the cooler as thats customary payment if someone helps tow you out. During the winter months the surf can be extremely big and unpredictable. There is no lifeguard on duty so always use cautious when entering the water.
There are 3 public bathrooms located throughout the park with outdoor showers. Many of the designated camp spots have large pavilions that can be used for cooking or recreation. There is no electricity at Polihale so be sure to charge up any electronics while driving. The spot we camped on this particular evening is at the end of the road and has a large pavilion behind it. This was a great spot to cook dinner and hang out before the stars came out to put on a show for us!