Due to the flooding in April 2018, the roads are closed past Hanalei towns. The furthest that you could drive is just past Hanalei School where you will find a “Road Closed” sign. This will cause you to detour towards the beach access to Wai’oli Beach Park. Access to North Shore attractions such as the Maniniholo Dry Caves, Haena Beach Park, Limahuli Garden and Ke’e Beach are not accessible to the public. You will need a special permit to drive past the “Road Closed” sign.
Maniniholo Dry Cave
Maniniholo Dry Cave and Haena Beach Park is a popular attraction for those visiting the North Shore of Kauai. This ancient site is located across from Ha’ena Beach Park, on highway 560.
Maniniholo Dry Cave is said to have formed naturally thousands of years ago. The sea level was higher and the ocean once used to hit the base of the cliff. As a result, erosion from the waves formed the cave. The sand was brought into Maniniholo Dry Cave during the 1957 tsunami. In addition, stones have been piled in the front of the cave by locals as well as native Hawaiians.
About 300 yards deep, with plenty of standing room, the cave is great for exploration. The floor is covered by sand as well as large stones. Furthermore, keiki love to explore the cave and run around. Consequently, a flashlight is needed to go deeper into the cave. We used the one on our cell phone.
Hawaiian Culture and History
Maniniholo Cave and the surrounding Haena area has its importance in Hawaiian culture and history. In Hawaiian legends, it is told that this dry cave was once used by menehune to escape danger. For that reason, the cave was used as a passage route to get from one side of the island to the other.
Another Hawaiian legend says that this cave was named after Maniniholo, the head fisherman of the Menehune. Maniniholo used it to catch many fish here at Ha’ena. On one account, after catching many fish, he left some of the catch under the cliff. The menehune then carried the rest of the fish to the island’s interior to other menehune. However, when they returned to gather the rest of the fish, they saw an akua (supernatural beast/ spirit) who took the fish that they had left there. In order to catch the supernatural beast, they decided to dig a cave and make a trap. This cave is the remnants of the menehune work. Other legends say that the menehune dug the cave looking for imps that stole their fish.
Parking and Information
Parking is available at Haena beach park across the street. You will also find amenities such as restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and a lifeguarded beach. Haena beach is a popular tourist destination and recommended during the summer months. The beach park is a local family hang out. There is also a food truck that sell drinks and snacks.
During the winter months, the surf can be very high and beachgoers should heed caution. Inevitably, the beach will be closed by lifeguards when conditions are too rough.
The Maniniholo Dry cave is a great place to take a break from a long drive. As a result our boys get a chance to stretch their legs and run around. They also get to explore one of Kauai’s natural wonders. After visiting the cave, they came up with so many stories. This is where the Batman and Spiderman lives. They also claimed to see blood on the rocks. Whether adult or keiki, your imagination runs wild as you enter the cave. Will the space cave in? How was this cave formed? What was the cave used for? What’s in the darkness? Are the Legends of the Evil Spirit true? Maniniholo Dry Cave and Haena Beach Park is great for exploration and play with your keiki.
L.O.C.A.L. Loving Our Community And Lifestyle ™