Current conditions at Keʻe Beach
Beach & Nearshore
Lifeguards on duty as of July 3, 2008.
Location: Keʻe Beach is located in Haʻena State Park at the west end of Highway 56.
Description: Haʻena State Park lies between Limahuli Stream to the east and N5 Pali Coast State Park to the west. The western end of the park is fronted by Kēʻē Beach, a narrow white sand beach that parallels a wide, shallow reef flat. A small, sand-bottomed lagoon lies off the west end of the beach. A deep, narrow channel through the reef joins the lagoon to the open ocean. Many large ironwood trees, some with their roots exposed, line the dunes in the backshore.
Precautions: Kēʻē Beach is exposed to high surf during the winter months and occasionally during the summer months. This surf activity is evidenced in the backshore by the severe erosion of the dunes, where waves sweeping across the beach have undermined the ironwood trees, exposing their roots and occasionally toppling them onto the beach. High surf also generates a powerful rip current that runs out the narrow channel at the west end of the lagoon to the open ocean. Swimmers and snorkelers should stay clear of the channel at any time there is a rip current, which is any time surf is breaking on the reef. There are no lifeguards here.
Highlights: Kēʻē Beach is the most popular snorkeling site on Kauaʻi's north shore. Visitors drive from all parts of the island to snorkel in the small, protected lagoon off the beach, where many species of colorful reef fish are abundant, including wrasses, butterflyfish, damselfish, goatfish, convictfish, and surgeonfish. The shallow, sandy lagoon also provides an excellent swimming area for families with little children.
Kēʻē Beach is one of the most tropical looking beaches on Kauaʻi with its high mountains and lushly vegetated backshore. Ironwoods line the dunes, and coconut palms, tropical almonds, and a dense undergrowth ofti and guava cover the point at the west end of the beach. In the midst of this tropical splendor are several important archaeological sites associated with the hula, including
Ke Ahu o Laka, a platform where the hula is performed, and Kauluapaoa Heiau, a temple dedicated to Laka, the goddess of the hula. These sites are still used by hula halau for graduation
and other ceremonies.
Kēʻē means "avoidance."