Living in Kekaha, Kauai

Kekaha is the last town westward along Highway 50. It is a collection of rural neighborhoods sewn together with a mini-mart, a neighborhood center, and a school. Stretched out in near-constant sunshine, the town sits at the base of Waimea Canyon. If it's raining everywhere else on Kauai, chances are it’s dry and hot in Kekaha. Residents enjoy a laid-back atmosphere with pristine beaches, enchanting views and a small-town lifestyle.

Surfers and fishermen, family gatherings and pau hana (end of the workday) celebrations head to McArthur Beach, the last lifeguarded beach on the west side, complete with a picnic area and bathrooms.

The stack from the now unused Kekaha Sugar Mill overlooks the town. Sugar was the staple of this area for most of the 20th century until the industry ended in Hawaii and the mill closed in 2000. Kekaha’s development sprang from the sugar mill, which employed generations of families.

Now, Kekaha is in the midst of expansive land, home to seed companies doing research and development on genetically modified crops, as well as agricultural land.

Just down the road, the U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility stands as one of the island’s largest employers. Known locally as PMRF, residents can obtain passes to the base to visit the picturesque Majors Bay, popular for surfing and whale watching. PMRF also hosts community events like the annual Independence Day Freedom Celebration, drawing hundreds from around the island to the west side.

Polihale State Park attracts adventurers from around the globe and extends from the border of PMRF to the cliffs that mark the beginning of Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park. A dirt road leads to the longest white sand beach in the state along with views of Ni’ihau, and it’s neighbor island Lehua. 

A rural retreat for outdoor enthusiasts and sunset lovers, Kekaha is served by several charter and private elementary schools, Kekaha Elementary School and Waimea High.