POLIHALE BEACH – POLIHALE STATE PARK. KAUAI, HAWAII
You know the quote, “It’s about the journey, not the destination”? Well, THIS place is about both. Polihale boasts the longest stretch of beach in Hawaii at the westernmost end of Kauai. It’s literally where the road ends. Seemingly stretching to eternity, it’s actually seventeen miles of the softest, most pristine white sand you’ll ever see. There’s nothing like it. An isolated beauty, you’ll be welcomed with a breathtaking view that you’ll remember for a lifetime (it’s been over 20 years since our trip and this beach is still crystal clear in my mind and heart). With the intimidating ocean at front, the dramatic cliffs of the Na Pali coast at right, and to the left, an endless beach that’s feels almost all yours since it’s a rare sighting to see others. How can such a massive beach be so secluded? That’s the journey part.
You’ll hear about the warnings, you’ll be tempted to turn around… the journey is not for the faint of heart. The adventure starts where the paved highway ends and you turn off onto a bumpy dirt and sand road. The drive through the field will test your determination. It feels as if you’re zig-zagging endlessly and getting nowhere but lost in oblivion. At many points the field seems to swallow your car and you can only see the sky. When we went, there was smoke in one corner of the field. We nervously drove towards it, then away, then back towards it, then away again. We had no idea where we were headed but just kept faith to venture on.
This was no pleasure ride. Driving carefully and slowly, your car will shake and bounce about. If that isn’t enough to make you nervous, seeing fragments of cars who also dared to venture here will surely add to the anxiety. By the time we saw the third bumper, I almost gave up but remembered the words, “it’ll be worth the trek.” So we continued on, lost in the fields, towards the menacing smoke, then further lost and second guessing ourselves along the whole route. What if our car gets stuck? What if no one ever finds us? Did I mention there is no cellphone reception?!?
When we reached the big monkey pod tree we stopped. We debated whether to turn around or continue on. Maybe the adventure life was not meant to be our life. Then out of nowhere, another car appeared. This meant someone would find us if we got stuck in sand. We would not have to live in the wild of Hawaii, we would be saved. This gave us the push to venture on. Prayers along the way help too.
Of course there’s a happy ending. This is Joy & Joie afterall. We eventually arrived. The other car was parked in a white sand dune but no one was in sight. We climbed over the dunes, some stretching over 100 feet in the air. They were burning hot, so be warned. It felt like we were on another planet, out of a Star Wars movie. Then past the dunes we saw it… We had reached paradise.
All hail, Polihale!
For more of my favourite beaches, read more here.