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Lydgate State Park -- This coastal park has a rock-walled fishpond that blunts the open ocean waves and provides one of the few safe swimming beaches on the Coconut Coast and the best snorkeling on the eastern shore. The 1-acre beach park, near the mouth of the Wailua River, is named for the Rev. J. M. Lydgate (1854-1922), founder and first pastor of Lihue English Union Church, who likely would be shocked by the public display of flesh here. This popular park is a great place for a picnic or for kite flying on the green. It's 5 miles north of Lihue on Kuhio Highway (Hwy. 56); look for the turnoff just before the Kauai Resort Hotel. Facilities include a pavilion, restrooms, outdoor showers, picnic tables, barbecue grills, a lifeguard, and parking.

Wailua Beach -- This popular beach includes Wailua River State Park and Wailua Bay. The draw here is the 100-foot-wide beach that runs for about a half mile from the Wailua River to a rocky area north. Surfers love this area for its generally good surfing conditions. However, when the high swells kick up in winter and into spring, the conditions can become dangerous, with strong rip currents, sharp shorebreaks, sudden drop-offs, and high surf. At the Wailea River end of the beach you can see boats being launched into the river for water-skiing, jet skiing, kayaking, and outrigger canoeing. Located where the river meets the ocean is one of the best archaeological sites in the state: a series of Hawaiian heiau (temples) and other sacred sites, identified with markers within the state park. Wailua Beach is located just past the intersection of Kuhio Highway (Hwy. 56) and Kuamoo Road (Hwy. 580), across the street from the now-closed Coco Palms Resort. There is a part-time lifeguard, but no public facilities.

Anahola Beach Park -- Local residents, who love this park and are here almost every day, say this is the safest year-round swimming beach and great for small children. Tucked behind Kala Point, the narrow park has a shallow offshore reef that protects the sandy shoreline from the area's high surf. Another plus is that board surfing is prohibited in this area. Surfers have to head to the north end of the beach to the sandbar where surfing is allowed. To get here, take Kuhio Highway (Hwy. 56 north) to Anahola. Turn right onto Anahola Road and right on Manai Road. There are no facilities, but there is a part-time lifeguard.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.