Haena State Park, Kauai, Hawaii
Haena State Park, Kauai, Hawaii – Travel Photography Hot Spots. This was one of the top spots of Kauai’s island, located in the northernmost section of the island. We only found three good locations on this entire island. I would not travel to this island to do photography by itself. We hated it here for photography. Searching for photography hot spots was a real challenge here. We searched and searched for dynamic locations and spent a lot of money doing it. This island is all hype. “Beach and sand, beach, and sand.” We said that for days as we traveled here in total frustration.
At this location, things start to get good finally; then, the Road ends here! You can fly over this Jurassic Park area or boat around it. You can hike this steep trail that starts here, but it is considered one of the world’s most dangerous hikes. That is mostly due to the homeless people who live along the trail who steal from you. Yea, we did not enjoy this trip, but we did get some magnificent sunrise and sunset pictures and probably a few top-notch photos from the entire journey. We usually get about 50 high quality to die for images. Not here. Sunrise and sunset are pretty much all this island are suitable for except Queen’s Bath, Hanalei Bay, and Milky Way photography.
The locals will not tell you anything. They do not want tourists in their harder to find locations. Do you blame them? This spot is obvious for sunset photography. Watch for that big wave which curls and try to get a zoomed-in shot. We were just so depressed on this trip, stuck on the island the week of Christmas, and took expensive to get out, that we were not in the zone. That rarely ever happens.
Be prepared to walk at this hot spot. The parking lots are jam-packed, and the people and tourists flock to this location. There is a cool cave to explore across from the parking lot. If you want to get this same shot, bring a flashlight. When you walk out onto the rocks, it’s not an easy hike, and if you’re going to stay you until the sun goes below the horizon and the colors burst, you will need it to get back. You can also get this shot from the beach, and the rocks will be in your foreground.
DIRECTIONS: Drive the only main road on the eastern side of the island north – Route 560. Go through Princeville and Hanalei. There is one cool spot to stop near the one-way bridge on a side street to get a shot of the fields and mountains. Then keep going to the end where you will find this location. There is also a spot to stop at with horses and a mountain view on your left before reaching the end of the road. It’s a beach parking lot on your right where you can park. It’s not busy here at all. Everyone is at the State Park at the end of the road. You will also find some cool birds here.
FOOD: There is only one convenience store near the park at the end of the road, and they barely have anything available. Next door to it is a cool artists gallery you can pop in. There is one restaurant near the park that had great food at a reasonable price. There is a coffee shop next door that gets very busy. It has a great view of the water. Stop in Hanalei on your way to the park if you want a few more options for food.
Photography Hot Spot Location Information
Lens: This area is a wide-angle lens location. We did see one section of cool birds along the way. That was all the wildlife we found besides chickens on this island. We would not suggest lugging a zoom lens around since there is a walk, but you might see that one cool bird if you want to carry it around.
Gear: Bring your tripod and your circular polarizing filters. The CPL will make your white puffy clouds burst and deepen the blue sky color around them. It will also take the glare off the water and replace it with the reflection. Bring your tripod too. If there is not enough light when you are shooting, you will want to use it to get the depth of field (higher F-stop). Don’t forget your ND filter; you will want to do long exposure, milky water photography here, and during the day, you must have an ND filter to do that.
Gear List at a Glance: Circular polarizing filter, neutral density filter, tripod, shutter release, wide-angle, and zoom lens.
When to Go: All year long depending on how you like your weather. There is a lot of rain on this side of the island in the winter months, and the waves are harsh and high.
Haena State Park and Area Information:
Entrance Fees: There are no entrance fees to this location. There is a pavilion and bathrooms.
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