Barking Sands. Kauai’s Hottest Non-Resort Beckons Missile Lovers

There’s a state law in Hawaii which says all the beaches (what we have more of in Hawaii than anything else except aging Democrats) belong to the people. So, all beaches have public access. No single individual or company can own a beach. If you can make it to the beach, you can sit on it. Getting there, of course, is your problem.

That means you’re welcome to walk, sunbathe, surf, snorkel, and do pretty much whatever on any beach in Hawaii. Even those multi-million dollar beach homes don’t own the beach and they can’t keep you off the beach. If you can get there—public access to all beaches is sometimes limited.

For missile lovers, there’s a special beach on Kauai. It’s called Barking Sands. Don’t ask. I’ve talked to as many folks as I care to and no one knows exactly why it’s called Barking Sands. The beach area is located on the extreme northwest side of Kauai—an area known as the Mana Plain. Barking Sands is a long and narrow site bordered by nothing on both sides.

Barking Sands Kauai

We’re talking remote here, so your cell phone may not connect to anything except mosquitoes and ear wax.

Today, the whole area is run by the military (that branch of the government with bad haircuts, odd uniforms, and a bi-polar attitude about others in that part of the military that isn’t the same part of the military they’re in).

That means you can’t get on the beach despite what the state law says about the beach being “public” access. Blow up one Pentagon building and knock down a couple of skyscrapers and the government tends to get a bit paranoid about who strolls up to the remotest beach in the US; south of Alaska, of course.

Barking Sands is now occupied by the Pacific Missile Range Facility. Back in the 1930s, Kingsford Smith, an Australian charcoal tycoon, made an historic flight carrying charcoal from Australia to Barking Sands via Fiji. He used a Ford tri-motor plane to make the journey as it was the only plane available with a built in hibachi pot.

Local Barking Sands residents cleared the runway, filled in holes, and marked the runway so he’d find it. He must have landed OK because Kingsford charcoal is available at every 7-11 grocery store in the country.

Many years later, Barking Sands was transferred to the Navy and placed under the control of the Cammanding Officer, Naval Air Station, Barbers Point. Then it was transferred within the Navy to the Department to the Commander, Pacific Missile Test Center, at Point Mugu, California, and renamed pacific Missile Range Facility Hawaiian Area.


Local folks just call it Barking Sands.


  1. Here is your answer brah!

    Legend of Barking Sands.

    A time long ago, an old Hawaiian fisherman lived in a hut near the beach with his nine dogs. During his fishing trips he would tie his dogs to stakes in the sand, three to each of three stakes. He would then get into his canoe and go fishing.

    One day while he was at sea and the dogs were tied as usual, he was caught in a very bad storm. For hours he battled the heavy seas until he was finally able to return to land. He was so exhausted that he crawled into his hut, forgetting to untie the dogs. When he awoke the next morning and went outside, the dogs were nowhere in sight. All he saw were three small mounds of sand where the dogs had been tied. As he stepped on one of the mounds, he heard a low bark. Another step brought another bark, still he couldn’t find the dogs. Believing the dogs had been buried in the sand because of the storm, the fisherman began to dig. As each shovelful was removed, more sand took its place. He finally gave up, and every day after that when he crossed the beach he could hear the low barking. The dogs were never found and to this day the sands of Mana have been known as the Barking Sands. After a time, the old fisherman died, some say from a broken heart for losing his dogs.

    Science explanation:
    The scientific explanation of this phenomenon is that the grains of Mana sand are tinny, hollow spheres. When rubbed together, the give off a popping sound similar to the barking of dogs. This only occurs when the sand is very dry. Wet sand gives off almost no sound.