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3 Best Places to Visit in Lydgate State Park on Kauai’s East Side

Most of the time I have lived on Kauai I have been on the east side of Kauai in Wailua. I really like Wailua for the following reasons:

  • Location, beauty, and weather
  • Within 15 or 20 minutes of my home, there are at least six different beaches I can get to easily
  • It’s a convenient drive to either the north or south shores, about 40 minutes either way, and is easy to get into both Kapaa and Lihue for shopping, dining, errands, and other activities

One great place that is just a short drive from upcountry Wailua is Lydgate State Park. This is one of the places I like to go to take long walks, or sometimes I will take my lunch and find a shady spot to sit and enjoy lunch, and watch the ocean.

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This is Nukoli'i Beach – it is one of my favorite places on Kauai to take long walks

This is also a great place to explore the east side of Kauai a little bit, as it offers plenty of beaches and play areas. Below are 3 of the best areas to explore when visiting Lydgate State Park:

#1. Kamalani Playground & Morgan’s Ponds

Kamalani Playground is located at the north end of Lydgate State Park. It is a giant wooden playground with slides, swings, and castle-like structures. When my kids were little we spent a lot of time playing here.

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Kamalani Playground is a giant structure with swings, slides, and lots of room to play

Nearby, there is a man-made swimming area with lifeguards, called Morgan’s Ponds. Just a little north of the playground and Morgan’s Ponds you will find some historical sites including:

  • Hikina a ka lā (rising of the sun) Heiau
  • Hauola (place of refuge) or Puʻuhonua
  • Petroglyphs

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Morgan's Ponds, at Lydgate Beach Park, are man-made swimming areas

#2. Kamalani Kai Bridge

If you walk South on the sidewalk (or bike or roller skate, etc.) you will pass the Kaha Lani condominiums, and then eventually get to another play structure. This is the Kamalani Kai Bridge. It is a series of ramps and slides that you can explore, and it connects the sidewalk to the beach area below.

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Step on to the Kamalani Kai Bridge; you can take the straight path, or wander

Some people find the Kamalani Kai Bridge even more entertaining than the playground; my kids did a lot of running up and down, exploring, and hiding and seeking on the various ramps. If you are not in a playful mood, there is a direct path to get up or down.

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If you are in a hurry or just don't want to wander, there are signs on the bridge to point to the direct path "up" or "down"

#3. Nukoli’i Beach

From the bridge you can walk on to Nukoli‘i Beach. If you head South, the beach stretches all the way to Kauai Beach Resort and Kauai Beach Villas. This is a really beautiful and quiet area. Do keep in mind that most of this area of beach is not considered safe for swimming – the waves are rough and there are strong currents. Always check with lifeguards before going in the water.

Lydgate sunset

A warm glow at sunset – Nukoli'i Beach near Lydgate Beach Park on Kauai

Because this is the east side of Kauai, we see beautiful sunrises and moonrises, but we don’t see the sun set. Sometimes, though, we get a spectacular show of color when the sun goes down.

Directions to Lydgate State Park

There are two ways to get to Lydgate State Park:

  • From Lihue, take Kuhio Highway going North until Mile Marker 5. Turn right onto Leho Rd., then right on Nalu Rd.
  • From Kapaa, take Kuhio Highway going South, heading out of town. You will go over the Wailua Bridge, then go left on Leho Rd. (You will see the Aston Aloha Beach Hotel as you make this turn.) Take a left onto Nalu Rd., and follow the road until you see beach parking.

Map to Lydgate State Park


View Larger Map

Moving to the East Side of Kauai

If you think you might want to live here, there are many homes and condos available in and near the Wailua area. For more information, please give me a call. You can reach me at (808) 936-7386 or Monica@HawaiiLife.com.

~ Monica

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Shaylyn Kimura

August 20, 2013

Great blog, Monica! As a born & raised Kaua’i girl, “Lydgate” was THE beach on the east side. While we didn’t have Kamalani or Kamalani Kai, we spent many a summers swimming and snorkeling at Morgan’s ponds, Nukoli’i and Wailua Beach, fronting the beloved Coco Palms resort. Love!!

Monica Hayward, REALTOR (B), CDPE, SFR, ABR, ePRO

August 26, 2013

Aloha Shaylyn, Thank you! I think it is such a sweet area – really beautiful, and lots of room on the beach so you don’t feel crowded. Also, for people who are up bright and early, it’s a great place to watch the sun rise 🙂 Thanks for your comments! ~ Monica

Shaylyn Kimura

August 20, 2013

Great blog, Monica! As a born & raised Kaua’i girl, “Lydgate” was THE beach on the east side. While we didn’t have Kamalani or Kamalani Kai, we spent many a summers swimming and snorkeling at Morgan’s ponds, Nukoli’i and Wailua Beach, fronting the beloved Coco Palms resort. Love!!

Monica Hayward, REALTOR (B), CDPE, SFR, ABR, ePRO

August 26, 2013

Aloha Shaylyn, Thank you! I think it is such a sweet area – really beautiful, and lots of room on the beach so you don’t feel crowded. Also, for people who are up bright and early, it’s a great place to watch the sun rise 🙂 Thanks for your comments! ~ Monica

Laurel Johnson

December 16, 2014

Aloha Monica,
Just found your website and blog. I travel to Maui frequently but have not been to Kauai yet. Thanks for your wonderful insight on such a beautiful island, can’t wait to visit!
Many thanks, Laurel

Laurel Johnson

December 16, 2014

Aloha Monica,
Just found your website and blog. I travel to Maui frequently but have not been to Kauai yet. Thanks for your wonderful insight on such a beautiful island, can’t wait to visit!
Many thanks, Laurel

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