When was the last time you visited Hawaii and had an entire beach to yourself? On Lanai, it’s possible to visit a beach and leave the only set of footprints in sand.
That’s the scene you’ll often encounter when visiting Polihua Beach, an expanse of soft white sand on Lanai’s northern coast. The name Polihua means “egg nest” in Hawaiian, and refers to Hawaiian Green sea turtles that often lay their eggs in the sand. You’re likely to find some turtles tracks if you take a stroll down the beach, which is the best thing to do at Polihua since the currents here can be very strong and swimming is highly discouraged.
While walking beneath the coastal dunes, gaze across the Kalohi Channel at the island of Molokai in the distance, and admire the island’s dramatic valleys and ridgelines. During the winter months you can often spot Humpback whales as they leap and splash offshore—particularly in the early morning before the trade winds pick up.
If you’re planning to visit Polihua Beach, be sure to bring along water and snacks since it’s an hour drive from Lanai City. You will also definitely need a 4WD vehicle to navigate the bumpy dirt road. You can bundle the trip to Polihua with a stop at Keahiakawelo—more commonly known as “Garden of the Gods” for its collection of car-sized boulders. From Keahiakawelo allow 30 minutes to reach the isolated beach.
Because Polihua is such a remote spot, the beach lacks facilities like restrooms, showers, or even basic trashcans, so be sure the only thing you leave behind is a stretch of sandy footprints.