Balancing tourism with Hawaii’s delicate environment and residents’ quality of life has been a major topic of discussion since the pandemic shutdown tourism. The State of Hawaii’s solution? To limit capacity and implement fees. So, it comes as no surprise that Kauai parks are to begin charging admission fees.
Actually, this isn’t the first time state parks on Kauai began charging fees. As you’ll recall, in 2018, Kauai was devastated by torrential rains. It took over a year for the island to bounce back, and when it did, officials decided to do things differently. That, of course, resulted in a reservation system and new fees being implemented at Haena State Park and Naupali Coast State Park. And, of course, other state parks across Hawaii already charge nominal fees. Well, that’s expanding now.
Kauai Parks to Begin Charging Admission Fees
The latest parks to begin charging admission fees are Waimea Canyon State Park and Koke’e State Park. Both parks already charge $10 parking fees. However, an admission fee is now being added to the parking fee – a $5 per person admission fee. That means a family of four can now expect to pay $30 to visit either of these parks. And, no, there isn’t a multi-park pass. Kama’aina are exempt from the fees, but you do need to present a valid local ID to avoid them.
This new admission fee goes into effect on Monday, April 19.
Kauai is a fantastic place for hikers of all skill levels. The previous round of fee implementations at Haena State Park and Napali Coast includes some of Kauai’s most famous trails. That includes the challenging – and perhaps infamous – Kalalau Trail. Well, this new round includes more famous trails, including:
- Alakai Swamp Trail
- Awaʻawapuhi Trail
- Iliau Nature Loop
- Kawaikoi Stream Trail
- Kukui Trail
- Nuʻalolo Cliffs Trail
- Nuʻalolo Trail
- Pihea Trail
- Poomau Canyon Lookout Trail
If you’ve ever been to Hawaii State Parks, you’ll know that they need more funding. Often, they’re in terrible condition. So, aside from controlling crowds, I think the fees are necessary to help maintain these treasured sites. That said, I do think the state is going a bit too far. Seriously, $60 for a family of four to visit two parks? The National Park System and other state park systems across the nation have multi-park passes, and I think the State of Hawaii should offer these kinds of passes too.