Larsen's Beach or (Ka'aka'aniu) is located on the northeast shore, just north of Moloa'a Bay. Access to this long, lovely and secluded, beach is by way of a dirt road and a 5 to 10 minute walk down a gentle sloping, easy but somewhat rocky trail. This is a good beach to pretend you're on a deserted island; it still feels undiscovered. From the bottom of the trail the beach appears to go on forever and you won't see many people along its two mile stretch especially on weekdays. Bring a book, and some drinks and anything else you'll need because once you hike down to it, you won't feel like hiking back to the car for anything you've left behind. The beach is backed by beautiful green brush and low trees where you can find a few shady spots (at least in the afternoon) to sit in the sand and enjoy the experience.
Larsen's Beach as Seen From the Top of the Trail
This is good beach for long walks, runs, beach combing, and especially for just getting away. It is not a good place for swimming as the reef is very shallow with sharp rocks and coral and with strong currents. If the ocean is calm and you are experienced, there are some great snorkeling spots in the deeper channels that run through the reef. The water is very clear with lots of fish, coral, and an interesting underwater topography. Especially if you stay to the right (southeast) end of the beach. There is a rip tide that pulls water northwest across the reef draining into Pakala Channel where the long beach is interrupted by the outcropping of black lava rock (seen in the picture above). Avoid getting in or near this channel as the current is very strong here, flushing everything out to deeper water or across the sharp reef. Of course there are no life guards.
The beach is sometimes known for attracting naturists (nudists). Going topless on Kauai beaches is not illegal but it is illegal to go completely nude or to engage in acts with "intent to offend." What this means is sometimes debated because public nudity, topless or otherwise, offends many people; especially families visiting the beach. If you feel inclined to enjoy the beach "au naturel" please use discretion.
Larsen's Beach is named after L. David Larsen (1886-1944), a former manager at Kilauea Sugar Plantation Co. from 1918 to 1930. (more info). The original Hawaiian name for the beach is Ka'aka'aniu.
Click for other beautiful Kauai Beaches.
Pictures and Comments By Doug Porter