Na Pali Coast | Sea Kayak Camping – 2024

Last edited: 11/16/22
Na Pali Coast Sea Kayak Camping



Sea Kayaking from Ha’ena to Polihale


Sea Kayaking from Polihale to Miloli’i

 Guided  & Outfitted

May 15 thru September 8, 2024


We can do all that you ask.

We are offering both the Traditional route from the more challenging North shore of Ha’ena and also  “mellower” South-West  Polihale approach. 

After 39 year of pioneering and offering this service we feel guiding regardless of experience, is the way to go. 

If going with a guide is an issue, STOP, you don’t need to go further…we only outfit with guide(s).

Guiding Insures:

  1. Safety
  2. Malama/caring  & Respect of the natural resource
  3. Interpretation

Weight Limit Rule of Thumb: 

Our double kayaks can comfortably handle 500 pounds or less.
If participants surpass this weight limit we encourage a motor boat alternative.


Typical Cost quote for guided tour for two:

  • $385/guide
  • Logistics:
    • Drop Off Ha’ena or Polihale = $65 to $70 respectively each way per person + equipment
    • Pick Up Polihale = $70 each way per person + equipment
  • Double kayak rental = Varies from $75 to $85 per day per kayak
  • Miscellaneous services and rentals: car/bag storage, dry bags, tents, stove, sleeping bags/pads, etc.


Spending a few days down the Na Pali coast is a marvelous way to experience the coast,…but not for everyone.

Often in a group there are members who have no business undertaking this paddle.

We don’t  guide kids under 16 years; come back later when they can paddle you!

Organizing this expedition is not a popularity contest; you may have to ask some member not to participate.

Share the Sea Kayaking Camping  link below with all members.

You will need for all paddlers, to have permits for the amount of night/days stated.

For Camping Permits:  (presently become available 30 days before your chosen dates)

Na Pali Camping Info & Booking:

Maverick Application for Cost Quote:

On the Maverick Application:

  • Detail if members have paddled the Na Pali
    • If so, weather conditions, how many paddlers, etc.
  • Go into detail of  everyone’s outdoor experience
    • e.g. where have paddled, winds, waves, other extreme sports,  etc.
  • Which segment(s) you want us to guide?
  • Rental  gear want us to provide?
  • Logistical support you want us to provide?

With the above we  can come back  with a  quote.

Here for you.

Head Guide

Booking Calendar 

Scroll down to the bottom


Traditional vs the Polihale Route

The Polihale  approach to Na Pali, has real  merit for not only the remarkable sea life typically encountered on mornings i.e. pods of dolphins but also offers a much less challenging and “easier” approach to Miloli’i vs the “rock and roll” and much rougher, longer, and challenging traditional route from Ha’ena to Kalalau or Miloli’i.

During the summer we provide both approaches:

  1. Polihale to Miloli’i
  2. Ha’ena to Kalalau and/or Miloli’i

Who should go?

No kids under 16 years old.

Pick your ship-mates carefully! If you flip over, will you flip-out? Paddling Na Pali coastline is not for everyone. Good upper body strength is essential.

It is a misnomer to call the body of water that surrounds Kaua’i, “pacific”. While the sea kayak paddling camping season is from May through September, chances are you will not find the seas to be pacific.

We believe Na Pali coast to be one of the premier rough water paddling areas on the planet and for the ill prepared, it can be a nightmare!

Only those participants that are at home in the water, and who like white water should go. This is not a journey to talk someone into.

Before you sign up or sign up others:

With over 39 years of outfitting, we have learned a few things. We have learned most of all that paddling the Na Pali is not for everyone. It is not an activity to talk someone into. You may enjoy someone in one arena, but this may not be the arena to share.

We feel it to be the roughest and longest sea kayak trip offered on the planet. Depending on approach it can be a 10 mile round trip (Polihale to Miloli’i) or Traditional 17 mile paddle from Ha’ena  one way to Polihale with surf launching and landings often the norm.

You usually have surf to negotiate at our put in and at Ha’ena, the landing at Kalalau and at Polihale.

The wind is a double edged sword. When the winds don’t cooperate, as in contrary winds, it is a long …long…and for some, a very strenuous day. When the winds are up and going your way, you will “sail”, down the coast for a cost. These same winds that help, can also agitate the ocean and when accompanied by a ground swell, can make your kayak harder to manage with consequent “flip overs” the norm, with the real possibility of getting separated from your group.

Sea Sickness:

We often have paddlers suffering from sea-sickness, and some have to be rescued by motor boat. Sea Sickness is our #1 malady and is a real concern. There is no refund if we pull you out for “blowing chunks”. A seasick person does not paddle very well and can hamper an expedition.

For many experienced sea kayakers, they find the water off the Na Pali Coast to be generally some of the biggest waters that they have paddled. We have had many paddlers bail out because the seas were simply intimidating. So pick your shipmates well and be galvanized for long and hard days on a capricious ocean ready to test your mettle.

Motor boat rescue:

Motor boat rescue cost, is your responsibility for whatever reason!

Motor boat rescues run more or less $1,500 for a half day charter.

When a kayak is left abandoned on a remote beach you are charged per day for the kayak rental and the cost of personnel and logistics it takes to retrieve your abandoned kayak.

Guided or Un-Guided:

Generally with very few exceptions we guide

We guide in the order of importance:

  • Safety
  • Malama/caring & Respect for the natural resource
  • Cultural interpretation

The guide requirement and whether it will be waived will be determined on a case by case basis.

Filling in and returning the Maverick Application  with the experience of all members and all the services you want us to provide will help in providing a “ball park” cost quote.

Guide Service:

The competency and local knowledge of our guides not only ensures safety but enriches the experience.

We have found that our guide program also cuts down on the amount of motor boat rescues that generally take place along Na Pali coast, especially, the roughest and loneliest segment from Ha’ena to Kalalau.

There are several segments that we offer a guiding service:

  • From Ha’ena to Kalalau
  • From Ha’ena to Miloli’i
    • We generally insist on guiding the above segments
  • Polihale to Miloli’i
  • Any segment within Na Pali State park
    • Kalalau to Miloli’i
    • Kalalau to Polihale
    • Miloli’i to Polihale

Guide ratio is: 1 guide to 6 paddlers.

All guides carry:

  1. VHF radio
  2. Safety Flares
  3. Emergency Position Indicating Radio beacon (EPIRB)
  4. Bilge Pumps

Duties of the Guide(s):

The guide(s) are there to see problems on land before launching and on the water.

Specific Guide duties:

  • Consult in the packing of your kayak. Make sure you are not carrying more than is prudent and which may compromise the integrity and flotation of your boat.
    • The guide reserves the right to ask you to leave items behind for storage.
  • Help launch and land kayaks
  • Keep group together in the water
  • Depending on water condition and time–sight see and tour the highlights
  • As needed: Emergency water response

Price: Guiding 

Sea Kayak Shakedown Program

For novices and first timers our pre Na Pali Shakedown paddle, will give you an idea of what is in store when paddling Na Pali coast.

We try to approximate the same ocean conditions and scenarios encountered along Na Pali. Examples: flipping over, getting back in kayak, negotiating “rock gardens”, surf work, etc.

We can tailor it to your concerns.

Na Pali Shakedown Program:

  • $75/hour/person (2 person minimum)

E-mail Micco to set up this custom lesson: Micco

What To Bring:

Take no more gear than what you would dare carry on your back!

We reserve the right to refuse service or cull gear and store at your expense if you are carrying too much gear.

Your kayak can be equated to a “floating backpack”, with one area dedicated to your own personal gear and the second area to communal/team gear. Clothing should be kept to a minimum.

The Na Pali uniform is:
  • Hat
  • Shorts
  • T-shirt
  • Sandals
Sleeping Gear:

A simple combination of long johns, warm shirt, thin sheet or blanket, with a sleeping pad and tarp is the Spartan sleeping system.


The standard compact backpack stove in some sort of waterproof bag or container is recommended.

All food should be taken out of their wrappers and double bagged in zip-lock bags. Labels on cans that can peel off  should be taken off and labeled with a waterproof marker.

A net bag is good way to carry canned goods (net bag can also be used as a anchor).

Ice can be kayaked in soft-pac coolers.

We recommend the chemical treatment of your water. Chemical works 100%, while water filters are less reliable. Boiling always works. At Miloli’i there are some springs up the valley where you can safely draw your water.

Packing Your Kayak

All storage is on top. There is no storage inside our kayaks.

To utilize space more efficiently in your kayak, try to package your gear in small bowling ball size parcels.

What works well is a regular sized nylon stuff sack (Cordura/Nylon) with a trash compactor or garbage bag inside. The plastic bag acts as a waterproof liner and the nylon stuff sack prevents the snagging of the plastic bag.

For a very light weight and waterproof solutions check out * Hyperlite Mountain Gear

*This discount link is valid for 15% off any order, one time per person.

We sell and rent waterproof dry bags.

Be aware you are taking a considerable risk taking optics or anything electronic.

Please no lawn chairs or any ungainly articles strapped outside your kayak.

Again…do not carry more than you would dare carry on your back!

Shuttle: Airport/Wailua Marina

For Ha’ena kayak launch: we can arrange pick up along the road at points north of the Lihue Airport – Kapa’a, Anahola, Kilauea, Princeville, Hanalei and Ha’ena.

For Polihale kayak launch: we can arrange pick up along the road at point south of the Lihue Airport, Lihue, Waimea or can meet at Polihale.(Po’ipu pick up-meet at Lawai)

We offer a Pick-Up service from to Polihale:

  • Lihue Airport
  • Wailua River Marina

Polihale Pick Up Times:

  • *11:00 a.m. reaching Lihue Airport by 12:30 p.m.
    • (custom time: only groups of 5 or more)
  • 3:30 p.m. reaching Lihue Airport by *5:00 p.m.

*11:00 am. custom time for Ala Carte bookings.

*To be safe we recommend that you buffer your  airport departure time by several hours.

Price: Shuttles

Food Shopping

North of the Lihue Airport, stop at the town of Kapa’a for best variety of foodstuff. Safeway is  conveniently located on the mauka (west) side of Kuhio Highway (#56).

Princeville has a Foodland with a nice variety of food.

In Hanalei you are left with the limited selection at Big Save.

Camping or Hotel before your paddle

The kayak put in spot at Ha’ena County Beach Park no longer allows camping; closest alternative camping area is Anini County Beach Park  which is East of Hanalei.

Another popular camping spot is nearby from our Wailua Shop at Lydgate County Beach Park. This is a good choice if coming late in the day and are going to be shuttled from our Wailua Shop the next day.

  • Anini Beach Park (closed every Tuesday from 10 am to 12 noon on Wednesday for maintenance)
  • Camp Kumu Pretty neat camping location on Anahola Bay
  • Lydgate Park Camp Ground  (closed every Tuesday from 10 am to 12 noon Thursday for maintenance)

You can now get County beach camping permits at Kilauea and other Neighborhood Center around the island.

For County Parks Information:

County of Kauai Division of Parks and Recreation
4193-A Hardy St.Building # 5,
Lihue, Hawaii 96766
Tel: 808-241-6660 Fax: 808-241-6807

County Camping Permits Web Site

Hilton Garden Inn: Kauai, Wailua Bay

Nice and conveniently located and in walking distance from our Wailua River Marina:

Stove-Fuels/Camping Rentals

By law you are forbidden to carry fuel on airlines.

Leave your fuel behind.

We carry a full line of propane, butane, and white gas fuels for most stoves on the market.

If bringing over your own stove, make sure your stove is “purged” and has no residual fuel odor before trying to take it on any aircraft.

We also rent Camping Gear:  tent, stoves, sleeping pads and/or bags, soft-pac coolers,  and dry bags.

Check In Wailua River Marina Shop:

Meet at the Wailua River Marina Shop at 5:30 to 6:00 a.m.

Expect to be on the road by 6:15 a.m.

You need to be in the water and paddling before  8:00 a.m.

If you can not be paddling by 8:00 a.m., you may have to, depending on weather conditions,  postpone your departure until the next day.

After 9:00 a.m. , due to rougher seas,  we don’t as a rule, dispatch kayaks for paddling Na Pali.

Na Pali Camping Permits:

You can  Book On line for Na Pali camping permits at Kalalau and/or Miloli’i.

Camping by kayak is permitted only at:

  • Kalalau
  • Miloli’i (only accessible by kayak)

The Na Pali Coast State Park is administered by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR).

Permits for sea kayak camping are issued from May 15  to the first week of September (usually a few days after Labor Day) and are available 30 days in advance.

Note: No camping permit…no kayak rental!

Permits can also be obtained:

Dept. of Land and Natural Resources
Division of State Parks
3060 Eiwa St., Room 306
Lihue, HI 96766-1875
Tel: (808)274-3444.


From May through September the ambient temperature can vary from 73° to a high of 84° Fahrenheit.

Water temperatures vary from 74° to 78° Fahrenheit.

During the summer,  Trade Winds blow steadily 10-15 mph and periodically 20-30 mph from the North East to South East. There are occasional calm and variable breezy days, more common early and later during the summer season. Winds are calmer in the morning, picking up as the day progresses and calming down before dark.

The best paddling strategy is to be in the water any time between 6:30 to 8:00 a.m. before the winds complicate matters.

We reserve the right to cancel or postpone all departures due to inclement wind and sea conditions! In these instances you will be refunded.

Kaua’i Weather information:

Sea Sickness

If you are susceptible to any motion sickness, we recommend several over the counter remedies: ginger, Dramamine, Bonine, or Marazine.

Scopolamine, which is administered via a skin patch, works the best but needs a doctor’s prescription.

For some, the Acu-Band wrist straps work well.

No refund if you get sea sick and bail out.

Recommended Reading

  • Paddling Hawaii by Audrey Sutherland, The Mountaineers-Seattle
  • On The Na Pali Coast by Kathy Valier, University of Hawaii Press


  • Kauai Island Atlas & Map (we have in stock)
  • US Topographical Maps – Ha’ena and Makaha


We use self bailing kayaks by Ocean Kayak

  •  Doubles: with or without rudders
    • Zest Expedition
  • Singles: all come with rudders
    • Prowler

All boats come with:

  • Bow line
  • Backrests
  • Personal Flotation Devices (i.e. life preservers) with whistle
  • Paddles
    • One spare paddle per group
  • Paddle leashes
  • Bilge pump(s)

Kayak Rentals do not come with:

  • Dry bags (we have them for rent)

Single Prowler Angler 13 TW with *rudder system

Prowler 13 Angler Classic

Ample hatch in front allows internal storage. The stern tank-well allows outside storage for one or two dry-bags to be strapped on top. Wider and more stable than the Scupper Pro/TW.

For the angler, comes with two fishing rod holders

*Rudder system not depicted.


  • Length: 13′ 4″ | 4.1 m
  • Width: 28″ | 71.1 cm
  • Weight: 56 lbs | 25.4 kg
  • Seat Width: 17″ | 43.2 cm
  • Leg Length: 52″ | 132.1 cm
  • Bow Hatch: 16.5″ x 10″ | 41.9 x 25.4 cm
  • Max Weight Capacity (including paddler): 400-450 lbs | 181.4-204 1 kg

Tandem Zest Expedition (*with or without rudder system)

*Rudder system not depicted.

As depicted in photo, the  Zest Expedition with no rudders have  NO hatches for internal storage.

Zest Expedition with rudder does have one middle oval hatch that allow for internal storage.

Both, have tank-wells forward and aft, and in the middle that  allows on deck lashing of several dry bags.

Expect to store most of your gear in dry bags on deck.


  • Length: 16′ 4.5″ | 5 m
  • Width: 30.5″ | 77.5 cm
  • Weight: 75 lbs | 34 kg
  • Bow Seat Width: 19″ | 48.2 cm
  • Stern Seat Width: 18″ | 45.7 cm
  • Bow Leg Length: 47″ | 119.4 cm
  • Stern Leg Length: 49″ | 124.5 cm
  • Max. Weight Capacity (including paddlers): 500-600 lbs | 226.80-272.16 kg

Doubles vs. Singles:

Doubles make for a stronger group.

We insist on double kayaks for most group; this allows for a safety margin should someone gets seasick, tired, or injured and it increases the odds of large group keeping together.

Prices: Kayak rentals

Sea Kayak Safety Kit

An option, especially when not being guided on a particular segment, is to rent our Sea Kayak Safety Kit. The safety kit comes in a clear water-resistant bag:

  • Rents for $50/day. (when guided the first day free).
  • Three night/day rocket flare gun
  • One EPIRB (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon)
  • VHF Radio


Car and Luggage Storage

Overnight park at Kayak Kauai’s off premise private parking lot in North Kapa’a and arrange for a custom shuttle.

Vehicle –  $25 per day/vehicle
Luggage – (below 50 lbs) $ 12 per day/bag
Luggage – (if over 50 lbs) $20 per day/bag

Kayak Guide Service

Ha’ena County Beach Park to Kalalau Valley $385/six paddlers
Ha’ena County Beach Park to Miloli’i $385/six paddlers
Kalalau Valley to Miloli’i $385/six paddlers
Miloli’i to Polihale $385/six paddlers
Polihale State Park to Miloli’i $385/six paddlers



*2 person minimum to honor the shuttle prices below.

Ha’ena County Beach Park (start of paddle)

Lihue Airport to  Ha’ena $75/person + equipment/each way
Wailua River Marina to  Ha’ena $65/person + equipment/each way


Polihale State Park Drop Off and/o Pick Up (start and end of paddle)

Wailua  Marina to Polihale State Park $70/person + equipment/each way
Polihale to Airport/Wailua River Marina $70/person + equipment/each way

*Polihale Pick Up time at 11 a.m. and 3:00 p.m

Logistical Support: Kayak Transport

If drop-off  & pick-up kayaks ONLY:  To Ha’ena  and to and from Polihale

 –Drop off  kayak(s) from  Wailua River Marina to  Ha’ena or Polihale

–Drop off and/or Pick up of kayak(s) Polihale  back to Wailua River Marina

*Prices applicable if can “piggy back” on a scheduled tour.

 Kayak Rentals

Day Addl
Prowler 13/TW – rudder Sgl $55 $55
Zest Expedition (no rudder) Dbl $75 $75
Zest Expedition- rudder Dbl $85 $85

Cancellation due to weather – full refund

….you should book after the Maverick Application has been submitted and a cost given.

To Book: A La Carte Adventure Package

Pick and Choose (guide and/or kayaks, shuttle…etc.)

Before you call

  • Make sure:
    • Maverick Application has been  filled in and you have received cost quote.
    • Send Camping Permit: Fax: Scan to email
  • Have credit card handy

For more information:

E-mail Kayak Kaua’i

To Book

Reserve Na Pali Coast | Sea Kayak Camping - 2024:

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Cancellation/Rescheduling Policy

Kayak Kauai observes a firm 24 hour cancellation policy. Any cancellations within 24 hours will receive no refund;(All Na Pali Coast kayaking tours or GROUPS of 6 or more require a 48 hour cancellation notice). Cancellations made by Kayak Kauai due to inclement weather conditions are 100% refundable.

Travel Insurance

Safety is no accident and on every tour we pay special attention to this fact. That said, travel insurance is not a bad idea, especially if a “dark cloud” decides to follow you. Find a company that offers medical, security evacuation and rescue services in the event of a medical or security emergency.