Welcome to Lydgate Beach Park
Waves gently lap the shores of Lydgate Beach. Soft sand and tropical birds chirping on your right — that’s what awaits you upon arrival at this tucked-away gem. The moment you step foot on the island, with its lush greenery, white-sand beaches, and crystalline waters, it’s clear that you’ve entered a postcard-worthy world of enchanting views.
Overview of Lydgate Beach Park
Kauai County built the two inland saltwater pools to provide a safe swimming area for children. The park is named after Reverend Henry Lydgate, a missionary who served in Hawaii during the late 1800s. He was responsible for organizing many of Kauai's churches and schools in the 1880s, including the Kapaa Church of Christ and the Kapaa Public School.
Lydgate Beach is a must-see attraction in Kauai with its sandy shores, turquoise waters, and sunsets to die for. It's located on East Kauai's Coconut Coast, which has some of the best beaches on the island. Lydgate Beach Park, on Kauai's east side, features two of the island's most popular attractions: a protected swimming area, and Kamalani Playground, one of the largest playgrounds in Hawaii. Lydgate Beach has two miles of shoreline and the Kamalani Playground, Kamalani Bridge, and Kamalani Pavilion, constructed from donated funds from the Kauai community to honor all of Kauai's children. The large pavilion area is famous for weddings and other celebrations, but most people visit Lydgate to take advantage of the protected swimming areas and other recreational opportunities.
If you're visiting in summer, you'll see surfers riding the waves of this famous surfing beach. But since a manmade reef breakwater protects Lydgate, it's also a great place to swim and snorkel (be sure to check with lifeguards first). While you're here, be sure to check out the Kamalani Playground, where kids of all ages can enjoy climbing, swinging, and sliding.
Getting There- Lydgate Beach Park
Lydgate Park is located on the east side of Kauai in Wailua, just north of Kapaa. It is about a 30-minute drive from Lihue Airport and about an hour from Princeville.
Head north on Kuhio Highway (Route 56) from Lihue Airport for about 30 minutes. Turn left at the stoplight onto Kuamoo Road (Route 580). Drive 1 mile and turn left onto Maalo Road (also called Kealia Beach Road). The park is 1/4 mile ahead on the right. Coming from the south, take Highway 56 north toward Wailua. At mile marker five, turn right on Leho Dr. From the north, bend at the Aloha Beach resort, head for the main Lydgate area, and make a second left for the play bridge. The second right takes you to several places with the large pavilion, pools, and playground; the first right takes you to the play bridge.
Essential Tips for a Lydgate Beach Park Visit
There's plenty of free parking at Lydgate Beach Park, but it fills up quickly during the busy summer months. If you arrive at a busy time, you may have to wait 20 or 30 minutes until someone leaves, and a space opens up. You can also park on Halelilo Road near the park if you don't mind walking a few minutes to get there. On weekends and during school holidays, this is one of the busiest beaches on Kauai. But even on weekdays, there is a steady stream of visitors to this lovely beach park.
If you can brave a morning visit on a weekday, you will find that Lydgate Beach Park is an ideal location for swimming or sunbathing, especially if you have young children to keep entertained. Swimming outside the pools can be tricky, so be mindful before going in the water, even though a lifeguard tower is nearby.
It would help if you remembered that even though Lydgate Beach Park might seem like an isolated place, it's close to a few residential areas and hotels. When you visit, remember that your behavior affects others around you.
Lydgate Beach Park Amenities
When you visit Kauai with your kids, don't miss taking them to Lydgate Park and letting them enjoy playing at the Kamalani Playground.
- Playground for children
- Picnic shelters - first come, first serve
- Shaded pavilions
- Bicycle Paths
- Volleyball courts
- A pavilion that you can rent for special occasions.
Thrilling Activities at Lydgate Beach Park
Family Activities at Lydgate Beach Park
Lydgate Beach is great for people of all ages, but it's especially suited to families with small children. Lydgate Beach Park has two protected swimming areas for children and snorkeling or boogie boarding. One can often see fish that swim in and out through the holes in the artificial rock walls. The water is calm and clear with no dangerous currents or undertows, making it safe for even young swimmers to splash around without worrying about getting swept away by the tide. Still, watch out for their safety, especially outside of the rocks.
The park is beautiful, with palm trees and other tropical foliage dotting its grounds. There are picnic tables and barbecue grills and bathrooms and showers.
The Kamalani Playground is also part of the beach park and offers fun jungle gyms and swings to keep kids of all ages busy. If all this wasn't enough, there is also a large lawn for flying kites or general play.
Lydgate Beach Park Activities
Swimming: The lagoon created by the protective rock walls is perfect for kids but also excellent for adults who want to swim without being slammed by waves like other parts of Kauai's beaches can have. Even though Lydgate Beach is protected, consider any changes of weather.
Snorkeling: The ocean at Lydgate Beach is protected by two rock walls, which create a safe swimming area that is ideal for snorkeling. Enjoy the colorful fishes and other marine animals up close. Discover the plentitude of turtles swimming around the rocks. Thus, bring your snorkel gear or rent it from the store at the beach.
Lydgate Bike Path: Bike enthusiasts will love the path that runs about 2.5 miles through Lydgate Beach Park. Bike or walk along the Lydgate Bike Path, Ke Ala Hele Makalae, a paved path hugs the coastline. You can watch seasonal humpback whales, sea turtles, and dolphins from the pavilions along this coastal route. The path is suitable for individuals of all ages and abilities and offers plenty of opportunities to stop and enjoy the view. There are many places to enjoy a picnic or stop for a bite at one of the local eateries.
Take a walk on the Kamalani Playground Bridge: Walk across the whimsical bridge of Kamalani Playground so that you can explore a world of imagination and adventure. Kamalani Playground is a 30,000 square foot playground designed to be accessible to all children with many ramps and bridges that are wheelchair accessible. A variety of slides, swings, climbing ropes, and a treehouse-like fort make this a playland for kids. As you cross the bridge, you’ll look out onto the turquoise waters of Lydgate Beach Park and feel like you are floating above the waves.
Nearby Attractions and Sights of Lydgate Beach Park
Wailua River State Park: Visit The Great Sacred Wailua. At the north end of Lydgate Park stands the mouth of the Wailua River. It was the birthplace of royalty, and multiple Heiaus (Hawaiian temples) line the river. Several interpretive signs near the Heiau provide a little background about the sights; archaeological sites date back to 800 AD. The most famous Heiau is Hikinaakala, which was used to track the seasonal appearance of the rising sun to ensure that ceremonies were performed at the right time. It is common to see people fishing near the Heiau as the river mouth is a great place to fish. There are also some petroglyphs on rocks that are seasonally buried and exposed by the shifting river sands.
This river is considered sacred by many Native Hawaiians, and it's not uncommon to see them come to pay their respects or make offerings at any time of day or night. Please be respectful if this occurs while you're visiting. If you love waterfalls, you'll find many along the Wailua River. You can even visit an 80-foot waterfall called Opaeka'a Falls, where there's a parking lot overlooking it.
Grove Farm Sugar Plantation Museum: Guests will enjoy seeing the plantation's historical infrastructures and learning about Kauai’s sugar plantation heritage at this museum.
Kealia Beach: Kealia Beach is a great place to take the family, relax, swim and play in the sand. It is located just north of Kapaa. It is rarely crowded as visitors prefer other beaches like Kalapaki Beach and Lydgate Beach Park. There are restrooms and showers available at the beach park.
At the north end of Lydgate Park, lies the river mouth of the Wailua river. The Great Sacred Wailua was the birth place of royalty in ancient Hawaii and multiple Heiaus (Hawaiian temples) line the river from mountain top to the ocean. Hikinaakala Heiau, is located at the river mouth as is Hauola, a place of refuge for those who broke Kapu. When visiting the Heiau, do not enter the compound or disturnb any stones; these are archaelogical sites that date back to 800 AD. Moreover, these places are still actively used and caretaken by people. There are several interpretive signs near the Heiau which give a little bit of historical background about the sights.
It is common to see people fishing near the Heiau as the river mouth is a great place to fish. There are also some petroglyphs on rocks which are seasonally buried and exposed by the shifting river sands.
If all this wasn't enough, there is also a large lawn for flying kites or general play, a huge pavillion large capable of holding several people where locals often have large parties, several sets of bathrooms, outdoor showers, numerous interpretive signs along the path and even several soccer fields available for public use. The only downside to Lydgate Park is the waste water treatment plant nearby which can blow it's unpleaseant aroma your way when the winds are behaving unfavorably.
To get to Lydgate from the south, take Highway 56 north toward Wailua. At mile marker 5 turn right on Leho Drive. The second right takes you to the main Lydgate area with the large pavillion, pools and play ground, the first right takes you to the play bridge. If coming from the north, turn at the Aloha Beach resort; make the first left for the main Lydgatge area and the second left for the playbridge.
2023 Kauai Visitor Guides
If you're visiting Kauai soon, be sure to download your copy of one of our updated 2023 Kauai Visitor Guides. We've updated both travel guides with a lot of new great information for potential visitors (and those who've been a time or two as well).