Cruising Kauai’s Royal Coconut Coast

By Coco Zickos
Photo:  Hawaii.com member Sue B.

Photo: Hawaii.com member Melissa W.

Feel like a king or queen meandering along Kaua‘i’s Royal Coconut Coast on Ke Ala Hele Makalae, or “the path that goes by the coast.” Located on the east side of the island, this pathway hugs a stunning shoreline and offers sensational panoramic views of the ocean. The sidewalk safely accommodates all kinds of recreational activities including walking, jogging, bike riding or even skate boarding. Set apart from the highway and, at several points completely immersed in nature, the path stretches for some nine miles. On some sections, you might even feel like you’re the only one there. The route follows what was once a railroad line used during Hawai‘i’s plantation era to carry sugar cane.

Sights to See Along the Coconut Coast

Photo:  Hawaii.com member Sue B.

Photo: Hawaii.com member Sue B.

Whale tails, lounging monk seals and soaring seabirds are among the eye-catching sites that will dazzle you as you head down the path. Interpretive signs, scattered along the way, tell you about this native wildlife, as well as some of the Hawaiian plants you’ll see tucked along the ridges, such as the shrub naupaka. The signs also inform passersby about the rich history of the area.

Ke Ala Hele Makalae stops by many of the east side’s prime shoreline locales including Lydgate Beach Park which is an ideal place to stop for a swim. Lifeguards, as well as a protected lagoon, give people of all swimming abilities a safe opportunity to enjoy the water mid-journey.

Biking is the Best Way to Discover the Coconut Coast

Photo:  Hawaii.com member Amy A.

Photo: Hawaii.com member Amy A.

Hopping on a bicycle is one of the best ways to cruise this path. Coconut Coasters lets you rent from their wide range of bikes for as little as $18 for a half-day. This way you can ensure that you’ll get a chance to experience most of the course and soak in all its mesmerizing vistas.

Restrooms are available in several locations along the path and parking is easy to find at any number of the east side beaches and parks the passage connects to.

Ultimately, the goal is for Ke Ala Hele Makalae to link Nawiliwili in Līhu‘e to Anahola. For now, however, nine miles is plenty of ground to cover and the premiere way of experiencing Kaua‘i’s lovely east side.

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