Ke Waena Beach access - Pipeline south
Beautiful and lesser known Ke Waena beach access is actually at the lifeguard tower to the south of the famous surf break known as "Bonzai Pipeline".. When the world is flooding into the Ehu Kai Beach Park to the north to watch spectacular surfing, they are passing right by this shoreline access unaware that the same beach stretches between the two entry points. A tree-lined uncrowded sweeping expanse of white sand with flat blue horizon reaching as far as the eye can see awaits the visitor who locates this lesser-known beach access.
AT A GLANCE:
HIGHLIGHTS: Gorgeous long interconnected series of sandy beaches. World class surf watching in winter, calm swimmers' paradise in the summer. The southern end of legendary "Pipeline" surf break.
ACTIVITIES: Swimming, long beach walks, beach lounging, expert level surfing watching.
LIFEGUARD: YES 9 am to 5 pm
WARNINGS!: The ocean can be extremely powerful here, with the most swimmer rescues of any North Shore beach. Please note the orange flag warnings for the day of your visit, and check in with the lifeguards.
AMENITIES: None, but it is located between two county parks with full amenities. See Pupukea or Ehu Kai
There are a few tricks to parking, but once you have figured that part out, you will have less crowds to deal with than at any other beach within 2-mile radius. There is no official parking lot here, but plenty of roadside parking between both ends of Ke Waena Street which connects to Kamehameha Highway on its ocean side.
There are no facilities, so plan accordingly as the nearby parks have restrooms and picnic facilities but this beach does not. There is no signage to give this spot away to the general public, so once you have parked and situated, look for a single-lane one-way road paralleling Kamehameha highway on the ocean side.. This is Ke Waena Road and it stretches in front of the driveways of the ocean front homes, heading one way from south to north. Look carefully for blue signs with white lettering stating "Shoreline Access" or "Beach Access ", these are the walkways to the beach. At the northern termination point of Ke Waena there is an actual county lifeguard tower, and 200 hundred yards north of that is "Pipeline" surf break and the hub of the North Shore surf scene.
Trees lining the beach vary from coconut palms to low native shrubs called "naupauka" and provide some shade during the hot afternoons as well as lingering shade in the morning, making the morning sun come slower to the beach. As in most places in Hawaii, the water and wind are calmest in the mornings.
In general the mornings at the North Shore beaches are noticeably less crowded than the afternoons, same situation with parking. If you get an early start, your drive would be more relaxing and your parking opportunities abundant. The "Foodland" grocery at Pupukea road traffic light is your last, best , and closest supply stop.
Ocean safety link for Ke Waena:
Closest town: Pupukea/Haleiwa
Heading in from the north: go south on Kamehameha Highway aka HI-83, past 8-mile marker and look for the Sunset Beach Elementary School on your left. Beach access is about half-a-mile ahead on the right and parking is safest off the shoulder of the road.
Heading from the south: go north on Kamehameha Highway aka HI-83 past 7-mile marker and then look for a small side street on the left called Ke Waena. You may turn onto this road and drive through slowly to the end to see if any of the 8 or so parking spaces next to the lifeguard tower are available. If none are available, keep driving and look to your right along the tree line to see if any roadside parking is available. If you have to turn out of the main parking area by the lifeguards' tower, these spots are your best bets.