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Tunnels Beach

w.bob

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This will be our 3rd trip to Kauai. The previous 2 trips we spent a day at Kee Beach snorkeling. This trip we thought we would try Tunnels after reading a lot of good reviews. Many of the reviews stress that you need to get there early in order to get a parking space on one of the two roads near the beach. What time is is considered early? we were planning on Leaving Poipu around 6:00 AM and stop for breakfast on the way. Depending on traffic we hoped to be there around 8 - 8:30. I realize that we could probably park at Haena Beach Park as a last resort. Is the parking on the roads at Tunnels that much of a plus as compared to parking at Haena Beach Park.

Also how much traffic can we expect to hit between Poipu & Tunnels & What times are worth avoiding through Lihue & Kapaa? We are trying to determine where to stop for breakfast between 6 & 7 AM in regards to the traffic.
Thanks for any info you may be able to supply.
 

ciscogizmo1

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I don't know the answer to your question but I can tell you that there are only about 10 spots in each area. We arrived around 2 pm one day a couple of weeks ago and there were tons of parking at the 1st street about 5 spaces. So, I'm sure timing has a lot to do with it. And, as you suggested you could always park at Haena Park and walk down. It won't kill you... The beach was beautiful but limited shade. We put our chairs up by the big tree.

Have fun...

P.S. I think, you'll be fine parking wise..
 

jacknsara

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This will be our 3rd trip to Kauai. ... Also how much traffic can we expect to hit between Poipu & Tunnels & What times are worth avoiding through Lihue & Kapaa? We are trying to determine where to stop for breakfast between 6 & 7 AM in regards to the traffic.
Thanks for any info you may be able to supply.
Aloha,
At that time in the AM, there are 3 lanes going south and just one lane going north from Lihue on week days.
Given that its your third trip, you might want to try some back roads. We take back roads almost as much as we take main roads now, but I don't know their names or numbers by heart. I'm intentionally not giving more detail because there is no way I'd write it error free. Take the road by the Menehune fish pond that cuts off well before Lihue. Pass by the docks where the cruise ships might be. The Beach Hut is a quick food place just beyond Anchor Cove; I believe its run by the same folks that own Ono Burger. We've never had breakfast there. Follow the signs to the airport and keep going straight. Be sure to take the Wailua to Kapaa bypass that starts a bit before you get to the coconut grove (there is a small sign by a timeshare sales office)
Good luck
 

slabeaume

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If there's no parking on either of the dirt roads, there is the big park there (I believe it's Haena, just before Kee). Tunnels isn't too far of a walk down the beach from there.
 

bcat

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Aloha,
At that time in the AM, there are 3 lanes going south and just one lane going north from Lihue on week days.
Given that its your third trip, you might want to try some back roads. We take back roads almost as much as we take main roads now, but I don't know their names or numbers by heart. I'm intentionally not giving more detail because there is no way I'd write it error free. Take the road by the Menehune fish pond that cuts off well before Lihue. Pass by the docks where the cruise ships might be. The Beach Hut is a quick food place just beyond Anchor Cove; I believe its run by the same folks that own Ono Burger. We've never had breakfast there. Follow the signs to the airport and keep going straight. Be sure to take the Wailua to Kapaa bypass that starts a bit before you get to the coconut grove (there is a small sign by a timeshare sales office)
Good luck

We just returned from a stay at the Marriott Kauai Beach Club on August 11. A great place for breakfast is the Market Street Diner. It's almost directly across the road from Anchor Cove. We had breakfast there 3 times last week. A real nice family owns and runs the place.
 

hibbeln

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Often later in the afternoon, we "get lucky" as people pull out and get a prime spot right at tunnels for snorkelling. If that doesn't happen on the first pass, we just go down to Haena Park and park and walk back along the beach. It's not far, even with kids. The nice thing about parking at Haena is that they have outdoor showers there so you can get the salt off before heading back south again (or heading into Hanalei for dinner). Of course, there are also odd hippy type folks that seem to live there at Haena, but they pretty much keep off to the side with their tents, smoking whatever it is they are smoking.
 

Kildahl

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Often later in the afternoon, we "get lucky" as people pull out and get a prime spot right at tunnels for snorkelling. If that doesn't happen on the first pass, we just go down to Haena Park and park and walk back along the beach. It's not far, even with kids. The nice thing about parking at Haena is that they have outdoor showers there so you can get the salt off before heading back south again (or heading into Hanalei for dinner). Of course, there are also odd hippy type folks that seem to live there at Haena, but they pretty much keep off to the side with their tents, smoking whatever it is they are smoking.

Haven't been to Tunnels since Aniki(sp?). It wasn't well marked at that time . Is it now?
 

ciscogizmo1

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Haven't been to Tunnels since Aniki(sp?). It wasn't well marked at that time . Is it now?


No it is not. The only way I can find it is by using the directions in the Kauai Reveal Book. Otherwise you wouldn't know it is there. The other beach Haena is easy to find as it is a parking lot right across the street from the cave.
 

w.bob

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If we are lucky enough to get a spot on the side road is it easy to get to the beach. Is it visible from the road?
 

rifleman69

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Haena and Tunnels are "basically" the same beach. Haena is the western portion of the reef where Tunnels is the eastern part of the reef. You can see Tunnels Beach from the parking lot at Haena very easily, you just don't know that it's Tunnels until you're there.

The better snorkeling is of course at Tunnels.
 

ciscogizmo1

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If we are lucky enough to get a spot on the side road is it easy to get to the beach. Is it visible from the road?

No you cannot see Tunnels from the road. Parking is at a premium and there are lot of no parking signs on the Highway.. You can see Haena from the road so, a good tip is that if you see that beach then you have gone too far.

However, just a little past mile marker 8 you can find the public access roads. You'll see a bunch of cars parked along a very narrow road. You will turn on to them from Hwy 560. There are homes on these roads too so, don't park in their driveways. Parking is limited and tight. We've never had problems because either someone is leaving when we are arriving.

Otherwise... just park at Haena and walk down to tunnels.

P.S. It isn't really a crowded beach in my eyes... 2 weeks ago when we went there was maybe 20 people there. Not crowded at all... Trust me there really isn't anything CROWDED in Hawaii unless you live out in the middle of nowhere and aren't use to city life.
 

rifleman69

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If we are lucky enough to get a spot on the side road is it easy to get to the beach. Is it visible from the road?

Tunnels is visible from the road, the problem is that you don't know actually know that you're looking at Tunnelis until you get out there and look at the ocean/reef from the beach. The places not to park are clearly marked, don't block anyone's driveway and you'll be ok.
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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Also how much traffic can we expect to hit between Poipu & Tunnels & What times are worth avoiding through Lihue & Kapaa? We are trying to determine where to stop for breakfast between 6 & 7 AM in regards to the traffic.
Thanks for any info you may be able to supply.

There is currently road construction on the highway at the Kaliwihai stream bridge. Traffic in both directions is subject to delays of up to one hour. That means no traffic going either direction for up to one hour (maybe longer; that's a Hawai'i hour). There is no alternate or detour. Ever since the tsunamai of 1957 the main highway is the only road that crosses Kaliwihai stream.

Aloha,
At that time in the AM, there are 3 lanes going south and just one lane going north from Lihue on week days.

Contra flow is 2 lanes southbound and one lane northbound in the mornings. All other times it's two lanes northbound and one lane southbound.
 

hibbeln

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If you park on the little "Tunnels" side streets, it is actually a little hard to get down to the beach. I guess it depends on the year and what the surf was like the winter before, but we've often found ourselves scrambling down a shortish "cliff" (maybe 5-6 feet tall) to get to the beach and climbing back up using the exposed tree roots. Anyone been there this summer that can confirm this? From Haena, it's an easy stroll. If you have small children or anyone who can't climb well (even a heavy person) then I would park at Haena and walk back to the "Tunnels" part. Basically you know when you're at Tunnels because there are more people snorkelling in the water.
 

w.bob

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Thanks for all of the good info. As far as the parking goes I will probably try the side road & if there is no parking I'll just go down the street to Haena.

Is it worth taking the Kapaa by pass between 6 & 8 in the morning? I never tried it before. I imagine that if I am traveling North & traffic is extra heavy I can just try it. Just do not want to go to far out of the way. We are thinking of stopping for breakfast in Kapaa, Kountry Kitchen. If we do we wil already be past the bypass.

I am not sure I want to try any other back road short cuts without knowing where we are going.

Steve, any idea how often the bridge shuts down traffic? Is there any specific schedule?
 

rifleman69

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Kountry Kitchen is past the bypass, you won't miss it by going on the bypass.
 

Werner

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We were at Tunnels last summer. We watched all the cars on parked on the side of the highway getting tickets. Haena State Park is the safest and best choice. The "up current" start of Tunnels is a short walk down the beach. Once you start snorkeling the current drift carries you further down the beach.

Tunnels is also one of the most dangerous beaches on Kauai in numbers of drownings. Rip currents flow out through the gaps in the reef, carrying snorkelers that aren't paying attention to where they are relative to the gaps. Once outside the reef you can't swim back through the gap and can't come over the reef.
 

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We were there last week. Around 8:30 all parking spaces on the side street were gone. It's may be easier to drop everyone off with the gears and park at Haena.

The road construction starts around 8:30 (I think). You may consider having breakfast in Princeville if you cut close to this time. (Definitely check the construction start/end time).

The current was very strong in the afternoon. Not many people in the water after ~2:00 pm.
 

Kauai Kid

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Isn't Tunnels where the young woman from Princeville was mistaken for a seal and had her arm chomped off by a shark?


Sterling
 

Henry M.

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Yes, that was at Tunnels.
 

w.bob

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Thanks for all of the info.

I have another question about the Kapaa bypass. When is it worth taking that route? Is there a certain time in the morning or afternoon when traffic is bad? How much time do you actually save by taking the bypass? My main concern would be heading north in the morning.

Thanks again
 
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