The Best Beaches of Kauai

The Best Beaches of Kauai

Kauai, located in Hawaii, boasts some of the world’s most pristine and beautiful beaches.

The following are a few noteworthy selections that stand out from the rest:

  • Kalapaki Beach – A great beach for beginners to surf and kayak with top-notch restaurants nearby.
  • Poipu Beach – Offers clear waters, ideal snorkeling spots, and is perfect for romantic sunset walks.
  • Haena Beach Park – Home to the famous “Tunnels” beach with underwater coral gardens and hiking trails.
  • Lydgate Beach – Ideal for families and novice swimmers due to its enclosed pond-like area and playground facilities.

Along with their natural scenic beauty, these beaches provide visitors with various activities such as surfing, snorkeling, sunbathing, or hiking.

Moreover, it’s worth noting that Kauai also contains secluded beaches for those seeking solitude. One is Polihale State Park, located at the tip of Na Pali Coast, where one can enjoy a mile-long stretch of untouched dunes.

History reveals that Kauai’s unique features include the coconut coast – named after its abundance of coconut trees that once played a significant role in sustaining life on Kauai. Today, tourists can hike among ancient ruins while witnessing breathtaking views.

Get ready to leave your worries behind and catch some waves at Kauai’s killer North Shore beach.

North Shore Beaches

The North Shore of Kauai is a popular tourist destination for its pristine beaches and scenic views. Here are some of the key highlights of North Shore Beaches:

  • Experience the picturesque Hanalei Bay, known for its soft sands and crystal-clear waters.
  • Enjoy a peaceful getaway at Tunnels Beach, famous for its incredible snorkeling and crescent-shaped cove.
  • Witness the beauty of Ke’e Beach, the stunning beach at the end of the road in Haena State Park, with jungle trails and dramatic cliffs.
  • Relax and watch the surfers at Anini Beach, a long stretch of protected water perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
  • Take a stroll along Lumahai Beach, the stunning beach where the movie ‘South Pacific’ was filmed.
  • Feel the warm sand between your toes at Secret Beach, the secluded beach known for its golden sand, turquoise water, and stunning mountain views.

North Shore Beaches are not only famous for their beauty and serenity, but they also provide an opportunity to witness the famous Bali Hai, the peak made famous by the movie South Pacific.

Located on the northernmost tip of Kauai, this area has numerous waterfalls, lush green forests, and diverse flora and fauna.

Fun Fact: The Hanalei Bay Pier was first built in 1892 to transport people and goods to and from the sugar plantation, and it was later reconstructed in 1982 for recreational use. (Source:

Want to feel like you’re in a postcard? Head to Hanalei Bay Beach and soak up the sun, sand, and wow-factor views.

Hanalei Bay Beach

Nestled on the North Shore lies a beach with idyllic views and white sandy shores, perfect for strolls or sunbathing. The Hanalei coast boasts striking features that make it one of the most sought-after beaches in the area. Its crystal-clear, turquoise waters, rugged mountains, and lush greenery give visitors awe-inspiring views.

As one steps onto the beach, an amazing view awaits. Surrounded by towering cliffs and green hills stretched over two miles of shoreline, Hanalei Bay Beach provides a picturesque environment during any time of day.

The beach has gentle surf, ideal for swimming, boating, and paddle boarding. However, with topsy-turvy weather patterns common in Hawaii, confirm surf conditions with local authorities before venturing out.

When the sun sets over Hanalei Bay Beach’s horizon, beautiful shades of red and oranges fill the sky; it makes an excellent location to capture some scenic photographs or relax while enjoying nature’s beauty.

Sources have reported that in ancient times, this area was known as Wai’oli to Hawaiians, who called it home from at least 900 AD till the contact period.

When it comes to Tunnels Beach, the only tunnels you’ll find are those you must dig to make room for your beach gear.

Tunnels Beach

This North Shore gem of the beach is known for its crystalline waters and breathtaking scenery. A perfect spot for snorkeling, Tunnels Beach’s coral reef boasts diverse marine life. Often regarded as one of Kauai’s premier beaches, with surf-worthy waves during winter months.

The expansive crescent-shaped shore is surrounded by lush, green mountain ridges that provide photo opportunities. The beach gets its name from the underwater lava tubes that resemble tunnels throughout the reef.

Visitors need to watch out for rip currents, and if planning to snorkel past the breakers, it is best to consult with lifeguards first.

Tunnels Beach has ample free parking spaces but fills up quickly during peak season, making it necessary to arrive early. In addition, the bottom floor of Tunnels Beach House offers equipment rentals like kayaks, stand-up paddle-boards, and other gear essential for beach activities.

Pro Tip: Be sure to carry proper sun protection, as minimal shade is available on the beach.

Ke’e Beach: where the sand is as golden as your tan, and the waves are as strong as your piña colada.

Ke’e Beach

Located on Kauai’s North Shore, this beach is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking natural beauty and tranquility. Kee Beach is known for its crystal-clear turquoise waters and pristine white sands that stretch out to the horizon.

Visitors can enjoy snorkeling and swimming, and the nearby hiking trails provide stunning views of the surrounding cliffs and ocean vistas.

A unique aspect of Ke’e Beach is its location at the end of the road on Kauai’s North Shore, offering a sense of seclusion and peacefulness away from bustling crowds. Additionally, this area played important cultural significance in ancient Hawaiian history as it once entered a sacred location.

This paradisal beach was featured in several notable media projects, including the movie “The Descendants,” starring George Clooney.

Move over East Shore, North Shore beaches are where it’s Sand-cover.

East Shore Beaches

Covering Kauai’s Eastern Shoreline

Kauai’s eastern coastline is home to some of the island’s most unique and beautiful beaches. With its clear blue waters, sandy shores, and stunning views, these beaches are a must-visit for any beach enthusiast.

The Eastern Shoreline boasts several beaches, including Lydgate BeachKealia Beach, and Donkey Beach. The beaches offer a range of activities, including swimming, surfing, and hiking.

One of the unique experiences you can encounter at the Eastern Shoreline is visiting Kalapaki Beach. With its serene environment and crystal-clear water, Kalapaki Beach is ideal for swimming and sunbathing.

For adventure seekers, hiking through the lush tropical forests surrounding Donkey Beach presents an excellent opportunity to explore the area’s natural beauty. Additionally, Kealia Beach is a popular destination for surfing, with consistent waves and long shoreline stretches.

To make the most of your visit to the Eastern Shoreline, consider bringing a picnic basket and enjoying a peaceful family picnic while taking in the breathtaking views.

Lydgate Beach

Nestled on Kauai’s east shore lies a stunning beach boasting many amenities and picture-perfect views. The beach sits adjacent to the Wailua River, with rentable pavilions and a playground, making it perfect for family picnics. Lydgate Beach Park is also favored by snorkelers who can explore two protected ocean pools teeming with local marine life.

Shaded spaces are plentiful as trees form a natural canopy providing cool relief from the warm Hawaiian sun. Don’t miss Lydgate Beach Park; add it to your itinerary when visiting Kauai’s east shore beaches.

Kalapaki Beach: where you can sunbathe, swim, and witness the occasional surfing wipeout that makes you feel better about your failures.

Kalapaki Beach

Nestled on the eastern shores of Kauai, this stretch of coastline boasts one of the most beautiful and popular destinations in Hawaii – Kalapaki Beach. This crescent-shaped beach offers a picturesque scene with sparkling turquoise waters and white sandy beaches ideal for swimming and sunbathing. Discover many activities here, including surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, or sailing on a catamaran to capture stunning coast views.

Kalapaki Beach is also home to several world-class restaurants overlooking the water and providing excellent dining experiences. Visitors can enjoy sipping tropical cocktails or drinking fresh seafood while watching surfers ride waves in the distance. In addition, find plenty of boutique shops and upscale resorts nearby that offer plenty to explore beyond just what awaits by the shore.

Tourists are keen followers of this beautiful hotspot amongst locals who rate it highly as a perfect family-friendly leisure environment. Kalapaki Beach was crowned “Best Town Beach” by Hawaii Magazine Readers’ Choice Awards (2021).

If you thought the East Shore beaches were good, wait until you see the South Shore…or the ‘Suntan Shore.’

South Shore Beaches

Nestled on the southern coast of Kauai, this beach paradise boasts serene and picturesque beaches that offer a unique taste of island life.

  • Poipu Beach: Known for its calm waters and golden sand, Poipu Beach is perfect for beachgoers who want to relax and soak up the sun.
  • Shipwreck Beach: Famous for its high surf, Shipwreck Beach is a favorite among seasoned surfers who come to test their skills on the waves.
  • Lawai Beach: With its crystal clear waters and vibrant marine life, Lawai Beach is a snorkeler’s dream destination.
  • Maha’ulepu Beach: This secluded beach is a hidden gem and is perfect for those looking for peace, quiet, and breathtaking views.
  • Koloa Landing: Koloa Landing is a hotspot for avid scuba divers with rich underwater flora and fauna.

On the South Shore Beaches, visitors can enjoy other activities, such as fishing and hiking, since the region is teeming with life and natural wonders.

Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the tranquility and beauty of Kauai’s South Shore Beaches. So book your trip now and indulge in a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in this tropical paradise.

Poipu Beach Park: where the crashing waves are as soothing as your ex’s apology text.

Poipu Beach Park

Located on the southern shore of Hawaii, this beach park is an ideal spot for sunbathing and swimming. Experience the clear blue waters and embrace the warm sands while relaxing in this serene atmosphere.

Poipu Beach Park features two sections, each offering a different experience to visitors. The eastern section has a playground and a small beach for families with children. Meanwhile, the western side has a fantastic snorkeling area that offers visitors many opportunities to see colorful fish and green sea turtles.

Spend your day at Poipu Beach Park exploring all it has to offer. Rent snorkeling gear from nearby shops or take surf lessons to catch some waves. Hike nearby trails that lead you to stunning views of the shoreline.

One visitor, Sarah, shared her experience at Poipu Beach Park on TripAdvisor: “We spent the day here soaking up the sun and enjoying the crystal-clear waters. Snorkeling was our favorite activity – we saw so many amazing creatures.”

Shipwreck Beach – where the sand meets the remnants of a once majestic vessel, and the ghosts of sailors still haunt the shore.

Shipwreck Beach

The beach on the island’s south shore is named after the numerous offshore shipwrecks. It offers a unique experience for snorkelers and divers due to the shallow water, making it easy to explore. In addition, the clear water and abundant marine life add to its attraction for visitors who come in large numbers.

However, it’s important to note that care must be taken while exploring the area, as some of the wrecks can pose a danger due to their sharp edges.

Snorkeling and scuba diving tours are available for those looking for an adventure that takes you through hidden underwater treasures, including turtles, eels, and other exotic sea species.

Pro Tip: Wear proper safety gear while exploring this region, as it can get quite crowded during the peak season. “Who needs a tan when you can get sandblasted at the West Shore Beaches?”

West Shore Beaches

Located on the western shoreline of the beautiful island of Kauai in Hawaii, this sandy stretch is a tropical paradise.

The following are some amazing things you can experience at the west shore beaches of Kauai:

  • Enjoy a perfect view of the famous Na Pali Coast while sunbathing at Polihale Beach.
  • Take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear turquoise waters of Kekaha Beach.
  • Get mesmerized by the stunning Pacific sunsets at the serene Barking Sands Beach.
  • Witness the majestic beauty of the Waimea Canyon State Park from the secluded beach of Waimea Bay.

For those looking for adventure, several water activities, such as surfing, boating, and snorkeling, can be experienced at some beaches.

The west shore beaches’ history is associated with Hawaiian legends, where the demigod Maui guided the sun to slow down while being chased by the goddess of grief, Hina. Maui had sought Hina’s forgiveness for a cultural taboo, and as a result, Hina agreed to slow down the sun’s pace, allowing more time to enjoy the beauty of the beaches.

Polihale State Park Beach: where the sand is finer than your ex’s excuses.

Polihale State Park Beach

This beach, located within a State Park, offers a serene getaway in a remote location. The long stretch of sand and turquoise waters create a picturesque landscape. Visitors can also enjoy the park’s activities like hiking, fishing, and camping.

The beach is known for its pristine beauty, with the towering Nā Pali coast providing an awe-inspiring backdrop. Its idyllic location provides opportunities for meditation and relaxation on the tranquil shores. This secluded paradise also makes for a perfect spot to watch the sunset.

Polihale State Park Beach is unique for its cultural significance among Hawaiians, who consider it sacred. The beach is said to have therapeutic effects on the mind and souls of visitors. One is also believed to communicate with ancestors and guardians at this mystical site.

It’s recommended to bring along plenty of water, sunscreen, and sturdy footwear for walks along the shore to make the most of your visit to Polihale State Park Beach. Renting a four-wheel drive vehicle is essential to cross rugged terrain before arriving at the beach parking lot. Remember to leave no trace by taking trash when leaving this serene oasis.

Uncovering these hidden gems is like finding a needle in a haystack, except the needle is a gorgeous beach, and the haystack is every other boring stretch of sand.

Hidden Gems

Kauai’s Hidden Treasures Explored

Beyond the tourist hotspots, Kauai has some lesser-known beaches with pristine natural beauty. Here are six of Kauai’s hidden treasures:

  • Polihale Beach boasts miles of white sand and stunning views of the Napali Coast.
  • Nukolii Beach is a secluded spot for swimming and snorkeling with a breathtaking view of the nearby Wailua River.
  • Mahaulepu Beach is a peaceful marine reserve with good snorkeling opportunities and ancient Hawaiian ruins.
  • Lydgate Beach Park is perfect for families, with a protected swimming area and park facilities.
  • Tunnels Beach, with reef formations for snorkeling and towering cliffs for a dramatic backdrop.
  • Kekaha Beach Park is a local favorite for water sports and sunsets, with views of Niihau and the Pacific Ocean.

Besides, these beautiful strands are mesmerizing attractions too. Some off-the-beaten-path things to do include:

  • Exploring Waimea Canyon offering incredible views from atop
  • Visiting the Kilauea Lighthouse – a bird watcher’s delight
  • The Wailua Falls cascades into a tropical valley area.

If you want an authentic Hawaiian experience, visit Kee Beach. It offers a glimpse of the island’s past and is steeped in Hawaiian history, with visitors reporting sightings of Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles and idyllic sunset moments.

A resident had an interesting story to share about this hidden spot, saying that the very beach was a backdrop to an old blockbuster movie filmed in the early 1960s, which instigated the making of several more movies in this very location.

Mahaulepu Beach: Where the sand is as golden as a retriever’s coat, and the waves are as relentless as a telemarketer.

Mahaulepu Beach

Mahaulepu is a secluded shoreline on the southern coast of Kauai. Surrounded by majestic cliffs and sandy dunes, this paradise reflects the pristine beauty of Hawaii’s natural wonders. Engage in outdoor activities such as beach walking, birdwatching, or simply basking on the beach.

This hidden gem resonates with a rare, organic serenity, making it an ideal place for a day trip or picnic outing with your loved ones. The shore appears to shimmer in sunlight due to its crystalline water, which is also perfect for enjoying swimming and snorkeling.

The nearby Makauwahi Cave Reserve adds more value to this experience with its splendid ecosystem and cultural significance.

Though getting there is challenging, as it calls for an adventurous hike through rocky terrains, the view is worth every struggle. Therefore, we advise you to wear proper hiking gear, carry plenty of drinking water, and approach cautiously, as natural factors are unpredictable.

Pro Tip: Plan your visit early in the day when dearies reside nearby, especially around caverns near the coastline where fossils dated over 10,000 years ago.

Who needs to travel to exotic destinations when you can have the ultimate beach day with some donkeys at Donkey Beach?

Donkey Beach

This obscure destination, nestled away from the hustle and bustle of tourists, is a true hidden gem. With its secluded location and clear waters, this coastal retreat offers a peaceful escape from the stresses of daily life.

The shore’s fine sand and tranquil atmosphere make it perfect for couples seeking solace or individuals searching for a serene break. In addition, its breathtaking views and pristine environment provide visitors with an unforgettable experience.

In addition to its scenic beauty, Donkey Beach boasts a unique feature that sets it apart from other destinations – its namesake. As the name suggests, donkeys roam freely on the beach, adding an endearing touch that gives travelers a more interactive experience with nature.

This site is especially heartwarming during sunrise or sunset when the animals leisurely graze amongst their surroundings.

Take advantage of this opportunity to visit one of the world’s most charming locations and witness what makes it so special. Immerse yourself in this idyllic spot and cherish every moment as you create memories to last a lifetime.

Don’t miss out on this enchanting hideaway; plan your visit today!

Who needs a boring old beach towel when you can bring a yoga mat and impress everyone with your downward dog on these beaches for activities?

Beaches for Activities

In Kauai, you can find beaches that offer a range of activities for visitors. These beaches are perfect for those seeking adventure and thrill during their vacation on the island.

  • At Ke’e Beach, visitors can go snorkeling, scuba diving, and even hike the Kalalau Trail, which starts from the beach.
  • Tunnels Beach is popular among surfers, offering great waves for experienced riders. Visitors can also go snorkeling here.
  • Poipu Beach Park is ideal for families with children. This beach has calm waters, perfect for swimming, and is also a great spot for beginner surfers.
  • Hanakapi’ai Beach is known for its beautiful scenery and shorelines. Visitors can go hiking, swimming, or relax on the beach.
  • Kalapaki Beach is on Kauai’s east coast and offers kayaking and windsurfing activities.
  • Anahola Beach Park is a great spot for fishing and offers camping facilities for those wishing to stay overnight.

For visitors seeking adventure and excitement, Kauai’s beaches provide a range of activities to choose from. When planning your itinerary, visit these beaches for an unforgettable experience.

Pro Tip: When participating in water activities, check the weather conditions and follow safety guidelines. Don’t be fooled by its calm waters; Anini Beach is where Jaws goes for a holiday.

Anini Beach

Sitting in the northern part of Kauai, the beach surrounded by an extensive reef system named after a legendary ancient Hawaiian navigator has the characteristics that distinguish it from others. Anini Beach is popular among locals for its calmer water conditions, making it perfect for paddlers and swimmers. In addition, the two-mile-long lagoon provides ample space for kayaking, windsurfing, and fishing.

On top of that, picnic areas on-site offer great spots to relax with family and friends while surrounded by scenic views.

The beach boasts a large campground at the west end, providing enough space for multiple groups of families and friends who visit together. With over 50 campsites available, tent campers can also find themselves close to washrooms facilities. During the peak season, from June to August, reservations are recommended.

Visitors should also plan to snorkel throughout the reef that extends the length of the beach while keeping an eye out for green sea turtles and colorful fish species that inhabit these waters.

This spot offers one of Hawaii’s best coral reefs within a bay, protected from big surf swells, making it ideal for beginners.

An interesting fact about Anini Beach is that it was used as a location during filming for various Hollywood films such as “South Pacific.”

If you’re looking for a beach that’s more than just sand and water, Hanalei Pavilion Beach has covered you with activities like surfing, kayaking, and beach volleyball.

Hanalei Pavilion Beach

This beach is renowned for its fun activities and water sports. Hanalei Pavilion Beach offers a picturesque view with crystal clear water surrounding the sandy shore. Here, visitors can indulge in surfing and bodyboarding or try their hand at paddleboarding.

The beachfront amenities include public restrooms, picnic tables, and a kids’ playground, providing ample opportunities to relax with family and friends.

Besides well-known attractions like swimming or sunbathing in the warm Hawaiian sun, Hanalei Pavilion Beach is popular among beginner surfers due to its smaller waves on calmer days. In addition, a pleasant walk by the shoreline allows visitors to catch glimpses of whales breaching offshore during winter.

Once upon a time, a visitor accidentally left his safety vest by the water while paddleboarding. The vest drifted away but was quickly retrieved by some local surfers who returned it to him while he was still on the board. The man thanked them warmly, thankful for their kindness, which shows their passion for Hanalei Pavilion Beach and respect for visitors enjoying it.

Whether you’re a beach bum or just looking for an excuse to procrastinate exercise, these activity-filled beaches will have you trading sunscreen for a sense of adventure.


Having explored the Best Beaches of Kauai, it’s evident that these locations offer exceptional beauty and a serene environment to unwind. Each beach has unique features, ranging from remarkable shorelines, turquoise waters, towering cliffs, and palm trees that sway in the wind.

In addition, visitors can indulge in recreational activities such as swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing.

Moreover, the beaches on the south coast provide favorable conditions for surfing enthusiasts. Therefore, one can enjoy various sports while soaking up the tropical ambiance. Additionally, most beaches have ample parking space and facilities like restrooms and showers.

Besides their natural allure and convenience amenities, some areas have historical sites where visitors can learn about Hawaiian culture’s significance. For example, Ke’e Beach’s sea caves are unique attractions popularly known as the birthplace of Goddess Pele. It is an excellent opportunity to learn about Hawaiian mythology.

Amidst all this beauty lies a heartwarming story of how locals came together to preserve Kauai’s natural splendor by initiating beach cleanups regularly. This dedication keeps Kauai pristinely beautiful, ensuring that locals and tourists alike continue having unforgettable experiences on its scenic shores.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the best beaches on Kauai?

Some of the best beaches on Kauai include Poipu Beach, Hanalei Bay, Tunnels Beach, and Ke’e Beach.

2. Are there any secluded beaches on Kauai?

Kauai has several secluded beaches, such as Polihale Beach and Secret Beach.

3. Can you swim in the ocean at Kauai’s beaches?

Yes, you can swim in the ocean at most of Kauai’s beaches, but it’s important to be aware of ocean conditions and potential hazards.

4. Are there any beaches with good snorkeling on Kauai?

Some of the best beaches for snorkeling on Kauai are Tunnels Beach, Anini Beach, and Poipu Beach.

5. What is the water temperature at Kauai’s beaches?

The water temperature at Kauai’s beaches is usually around 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit (24-27 degrees Celsius).

6. Are there any beaches on Kauai that are good for surfing?

Some popular surfing beaches on Kauai include Hanalei Bay, Kealia Beach, and Tunnels Beach.