Hanakapiai Beach: The most dangerous beach in Hawaii

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Ominous warning sign at Hanakapiai Beach, Hawaii.

Hanakapiai (Hanakāpīʻai) Beach on Kauai’s Napali Coast is the most dangerous beach in Hawaii and perhaps in the world. Many daring swimmers, thinking they can handle the somewhat innocent looking waves on this beach get caught up in an extremely strong rip current and swept to sea. Some are aware of the danger and some are not, although it is difficult to miss the ominous sign (above) posted along the trail to the remote beach.

The remote beach is only accessible by hiking and is about two miles into the popular along the Kalalau Trail. During winter months high tides and strong waves wash away the shoreline.

Although the sign above indicates more than 80 people have drowned at the beach, a local newspaper reported that it could document only about 30 in the last 40 years. Because of the extremely powerful rip currents, the bodies of at least 15 drowning victims have never been recovered, according to Wikipedia. Whatever the exact number of drownings, locals are well aware that Hanakapiai Beach is Hawaii’s most dangerous.

Video of waves on Hanakapiai Beach:

Where is Hanakapiai Beach?

View Hanakapiai Beach, Kauai, Hawaii in a larger map


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