Posted by Rafian on January 21, 2006 at 19:38:08:
In Reply to: Kauau posted by HawaiiFan on January 02, 2006 at 15:48:38:
I had written this up before seeing your post. Absolutely agree that Larsen's is the place now unless you want to do the 12-mile hike to Kalalau in the summer.
Hawaiian Island Kauai, Near Kilauea : North/North East
Directions from Princeville
Go east on highway 56 for approximately 8 miles and take Koolau Road as it branches off to the left. Watch the mile markers and Koolau Road is about 100 yards past the 20 mile marker on route 56. After about 1.2 miles on Koolau Road, take the unpaved road that forks off to the left. Take
the next left almost immediately or you will enter someone's private drive. This is a long, straight, well-maintained old sugar cane road that goes about 1 mile to the beach parking.
Directions from Lihue
Go north on highway 56 toward Kapaa and Princeville and take Koolau Road as it branches off to the right. Watch the mile markers and the Koolau Road turnoff is near the 17 mile marker on route 56. After about 2.2 miles on Koolau Road, take the unpaved road that forks off to the right. The rest is the same as noted above. (Koolau Road is a loop road that runs east between the 17 and 20 mile markers on highway 56)
The road to Larsens Beach goes through pastureland on the left where horses graze and birds fly about. It's a real contrast to some of the more tourist-oriented and urbanized beaches in Kauai. The meadows and treelined drive are a prelude to the natural, remote beach beyond. From the parking area noted above, hike through the gate and down the road for about 100 yards and you arrive at the clifftop with a view of the beach which is on your left. There are 3 paths here. One goes straight ahead down and across some rocks but no access to the beach. It does give a good view of the sandy beach if you scramble over the rocks as far as you can go. Another path is straight ahead and goes down through the bushes to the left of the path onto the rocks. This path is pretty steep and not recommended. The best and easiest way down is the well-worn path with a gentle slope down the hillside to the left. This path parallels the full length of the beach and is usually very navigable. Following this trail, you will find a trail branching off to the right and reaching the sand near the southern end of the beach. If you continue straight ahead on the trail parallelling the beach, it meanders slowly toward the beach and eventually runs along a treeline next to the beach. There are a number of places where you can duck through the trees for beach access. The 5-10 minute walk down the slope brings you to a long,lovely beach curving along the coastline. Up and down the beach you will find places to tuck back into the trees for privacy or a bit of shade. This is a great beach for lazy afternoons of sunbathing,beachcombing and exploring. There is a rocky reef extending about 70 yards offshore and most of the bottom is rocky so this is not a great place for swimming. There are some spots further north along the beach that have a sand-covered bottom and offer a safe place to take a dip in the ocean.
Although public nudity is illegal on Kauai, each day I visited Larsens there were people enjoying the sun sans clothing. Generally, they located toward the north end of the beach. Both island people, including some young ladies who arrived on bicycles, and tourists were taking advantage of the winter sun every day. I went the second week of January and the temps were mid 70's with several hours of sun each day. There were never more than 8-12 people on this beach while I was there and a pretty even mix between clothed and unclothed. This is definitely the beach to hit for no-hassle nudity on the northend of Kauai. I would imagine that it is much more active in the summer. In many ways, this beach now provides the same kind of freedom that Secret Beach did for many years before that area became more developed and subject to more scrutiny and aggravation.
If you walk further along the trail past the apparent end of Larsens Beach up and over a hill and past the rocky point you will find another even more secluded beautiful sandy beach. There were no sunbathers on this beach while I was there but I saw monk seals and sea turtles on the sand sunning. It is definitely worth walking the extra 100 yards north to check out this beach. For those who love to hike you can just keep going north for quite a distance scrambling over the rocks around each point. This is indeed a beautiful place and now one of my favorite spots on Kauai.
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