Hiking Kihei: wildlife beach walk

Beach walk: Hiking from Kulanihakoi to Halama

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Tidal pools, seashell hunting and bird watching make this one of our favorite wildlife adventures.

Location: Kulanihakoi street to Halama street on the beach

Best time to go: low tide

What to bring: drinking water, sunscreen and hat, slippers or comfortable shoes for walking in sand and rocks, bag for collecting treasures and trash

Adventure level: 2, flat path along the beach but uneven footing in sand and on rocks.  Suitable for ages 4 and up.

Facilities: free street parking on Kulanihakoi street. Bathrooms at Waipuilani park, bus stop at end of hike

Yes you can hike Kihei!  I hiked this beach every day when I was pregnant; after my son was born, we walked here at sunrise with baby in the sling.

We love to walk this beach at low tide early in the morning to look for “treasures”.  Along the tide line, we have found lots of coral rubble, some seashells and other marine life such as sea cucumbers, ghost crabs, sea urchins and algae.

Finding sea cucumbers drying out in the sun

Finding sea cucumbers drying out in the sun

Reviving a sea cucumber marooned by the tide

Reviving a sea cucumber marooned by the tide

My four year old loves to look for sand crabs, called ghost crabs because they are usually seen for only second before they dash back into their sand burrows. We find crab claw markings on clumps of sand furiously thrown out and the crab deepened it’s hideaway.

Finding sand tunnels dug by ghost crabs

Finding sand tunnels dug by ghost crabs

Just south of Waipuilani park at the point, there is a rubbly plain that forms tidal pools. At low tide, we find baby fish, crabs, and sea hares in these coral rubble ponds.

Baby fish nursery : manini and mamo

Continuing south along the beach, there is a great swimming area where the sand becomes deeper and there is also street access to Lipoa street.  Just around the rocky point there is another great stretch of beach for exploring.

A note about collecting treasures: we only collect shells that have been abandoned by the inhabitants.  Any rocks or coral with live algae attached and any brightly colored rubble and rocks contains live algae and are protected by Hawaii State law.  We always “give the algae rocks back to the ocean”.  Also when the rocks dries and the algae dies the pretty colors die too.  However coral that is bleached white or tan, empty shells, and beach glass are legal and  fun to collect. We also carry a bag for trash to help keep plastics out of the mouths and stomachs of marine creatures.

From South Kihei road at Kulanihakoi street, follow the path past the yellow county gate to the beach. Turn south (left)  and you can walk along the beach for about 1  mile until you reach the sea wall and sandbags. To get back to south Kihei road, follow the beach access path to Halama street.  From there turn right and walk south on Halama street. You can take Welakahou street to south Kihei road to catch the bus back or continue south on Halama street to  Kalama park  .

 

 

 

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