Wednesday, July 24, 2013

North Shore Travel Advisory Summer 2013

Very few fish can be seen on the algae-covered reef at Ke'e Beach

Ke'e Beach has been touted as one of the most beautiful beaches on the island of Kauai and twenty years ago, it was! It is still really beautiful, but this location is also ecologically fragile. Kauai is visited by one million people annually, and lately, it seems like all of those folks have been visiting the beach at Ke'e.

Many people come to Ke'e to snorkel. While the water is clear and the lagoon is fairly protected, the reef has been covered with algae and the fish populations have diminished. Despite the efforts of many tourism groups, visitors are not practicing reef etiquette and the lifeguards spend more time trying to save the reef than saving lives (they do a darn good job of that too). The beach here has also suffered from erosion and if you visit, you are likely to notice the exposed tree roots.

Visiting Ke'e, especially during the summer months, can also be frustrating. There is limited parking, and you may have to park about 1/4 mile away and walk in. That is, if you are lucky enough to find a parking spot at all. There are only a couple of restroom stalls, so folks that have been driving all morning may have to wait in a long line to use the restroom.

We keep hearing visitors comment that "they" should build more restrooms and put in more parking, BUT, a more likely scenario is that traffic will be limited here.

If you are traveling with your family this summer, we advise you to steer clear of Ke'e. The snorkeling is not that good, the travel distance is far, and the environment is fragile. Instead, visit Haena Beach Park just down the road and you can do some snorkeling at Tunnels where you will see way more fish.

We always advise you to check in with the lifeguards and practice reef etiquette, because all of the reef is delicate here and the sheer number of visitors is beginning to have an impact. However, you are sure to enjoy the beauty of the beach at Tunnels. Besides the amazing marine life that lies beneath, the mountain views are second to none. As always,we are sure you will enjoy your family vacation here on the Garden Isle.

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