Waves coming in at Hanakapi'ai Beach

This Stunning Hawaiian Beach Comes At A Risky Price

By Kristin Conard


Many people consider Hawaii a bucket list destination, but danger can hide behind all the beauty, especially at Hanakapi'ai Beach on Kauai's Nā Pali Coast.
The rugged destination only exists as a beach during the summer. In the winter, the waves and high tides obliterate the sand, with the water crashing directly on the rocks.
Hanakapi'ai doesn't have an offshore reef to curtail the power of the ocean, resulting in currents strong enough to pull you under. You can also only reach it via a strenuous hike.
As pretty as the ocean might look at Hanakapi'ai Beach, you should skip entering the waters. There are no lifeguards on duty, and you won't have cell service to call for help.
Over a dozen people have died from the currents, and their bodies were never recovered. Rather than risking death, watch the waves a safe distance from the water.
The stream that flows down through the Hanakapi'ai Valley and onto the beach can also transform into a treacherous, fast-moving river after rain, which has caused drownings.