North Shore Sights: Ha’ena
As you approach Ha’ena you will notice the green lushness of everything. You will also pass Wainiha Beach Park which is a great place to stop and see what you can find on the beach. You don’t want to go swimming here, but you can find some pretty shells and other things. Just a couple mile markers down you will pass Tunnels Beach which is the place for you if you want to snorkel or SCUBA. Access to this beach is at mile marker 8. Be careful if you continue on down the road because close to mile marker 9 you will see the Manoa Stream. It literally crosses the road and since it does the road frequently has potholes, sometimes big enough to cause a flat tire. That is the last thing you want as you are touring the north shore so be very careful and look out for it. If you know it’s there you are more likely to miss it and continue on your journey.
After you pass this area you will approach Ha’ena Beach Park. You may camp here if you have a permit from the county, although this should be applied for with anticipation of up to six months in advance. Swimming here can be great, but it can also be dangerous. Make sure you know how the ocean is before you test it out.
Also past mile marker nine is Limahuli Stream. If you have been at Ke’e Beach all day and want to get the sand and salt off your body this is a great place to do so. You might even wash off your SCUBA or snorkel gear if you have been at Tunnels for the day. This stream is refreshing and lots of people enjoy cleaning up there, you might too!
Above you will notice the Limahule Garden. This is part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden and it is simply delightful to visit and not too expensive, either. There are amazing sections of different plants here, some form the first Hawaiians, other from the first settlers, and still more from others. There is even a terrace that is close to 1,000 years old that will amaze you with its beauty and great condition. A guided tour will cost you $15 but if you prefer to go it alone you can save $5 off that and only pay $10.
Next you will come across Waikapala’e Cave and Waikanalao Cave. These are typically called the Wet Caves and they are just after the Limahuli Stream. The first cave offers a spectacle called the Blue Room, but you can only reach it by swimming to it! Beware the water is cold. The second cave can be entered from the road and does not require any extra effort.
You are almost at the point where you can no longer drive any further. This is mile marker 10 and the location of Ke’e Beach. You will love snorkeling and swimming at this beach when the water is calm because it is simply beautiful not to mention pretty safe. Sometimes this beach is pretty crowded and parking is difficult to find. If you find yourself in this position simply follow the dirt road that runs by the bathrooms. Keep to the left and you should see some secret parking spots along the way. Even when other cars seem to be vying for the next open parking space you can frequently find one here without fighting or waiting in line! It helps to do a little research before you visit the area!