Welcome to Dream Vacations, a lifestyle column on traveling to amazing destinations with practical advice and my revelations about locales from years of personal experience. No matter the political side of the spectrum you ascribe to the changes in tourist destinations, especially eco-tourism, from COVID-19 is undeniable. Another example is the Ke’e Beach in Kauai, Hawaii, although this reset happened because of the 2018 floods to the area, and not necessarily from the current pandemic.
Higher Ecological Awareness
Humans have often appreciated great natural beauty and have flocked to areas that provide amazing vistas. Part of that appreciation, especially in Hawaii came at a cost as these natural areas came under too much stress from the level of visitation.
In 2018, the Ke’e Beach in the Hā’ena State Park of Kauai suffered severe flooding wiping out road access to one of the most famous beaches and most revered sacred places for native Hawaiians. The Hanalei River rose so high during the rainfall and flooding that it overwashed its banks and created a new path to the bay, wiping out the Kuhio Highway and causing landslides.
This forced reconstruction also enabled the state park system to rebuild and reevaluate how visitors accessed this precious site.
Ke’e Beach is one of the most popular beaches on Kauai because of its place at the start of the Napali Coast and famous Kalalau Trail, as well as one of the cited birthplaces of Hula. The Napali Coast is home to a series of rugged seaside cliffs and is not navigable by vehicle. There are hiking, kayaking and camping tours through the Napali and Ke’e Beach is either the beginning or end of these tours.
The protected bay and reef of Ke’e Beach make it a perfect spot for families and snorkeling, which also added to its popularity. Of course, one of its most striking features is being able to view the amazing cliffs of Napali from the beach. It is a perfect scenic day at the beach.
New Rules for Visiting Ke’e Beach
If you have ever been to this wondrous place, you will also remember its overcrowding issues. Those days are gone, as visitor limits have been imposed and access restricted to the state park and beach by a reservation system for both visits and parking. Previous limits were placed at 3000 visitors per day for Napali Coast and Hā’ena State Park; that has been reduced significantly to only 900 for non-Hawaiian residents.
Also, you will need to make reservations to get one of these coveted visitor spots. These reservations can only be made online at the link above. No matter your entry mode – walk-in, shuttle or driving – all visits now require a reservation, and must be made at least the day before your visit. However, I’d suggest, with the lower volume of visitors allowed, that you make a reservation as far out as possible, up to the 14-day in advance allowance.
If you want to contribute to the Hawaiian economy, see its beauty at a time when it is in rebirth, and before the crowds return, early 2021 may be your best chance. We have bookings available, contact us today.
Tags: Hawaii, natural revitalization, ecotourism, sustainability, COVID-19, Ke’e beach, Napali Coast, Hā’ena State Park, tourism