Kauai Beaches

Kauai beaches are some of the best in Hawaii. Which are the best for you? That really depends on what you want to do there...What is your idea of a perfect day at the beach?

  • Riding waves?
  • Snorkeling?
  • Sunbathing?
  • People watching?
  • Enjoying the scenery?
  • Playing with your kids?
  • Having privacy?

Let me show you my favorite Kauai beaches...Rest assured, one of them will become your favorite!

TIP--Keep in mind that the sun rises in the East and sets to the West. Generally speaking, the beaches on the East and North shores will be in the shade by mid afternoon. This is especially true where there are steep mountains. Kauai beaches on the South and West shores will see sun late into the afternoon.


West Shore

  • Polihale Beach Park
  • This Kauai beach is located at the end of the road on the leeward (west) shore. Well actually, it's past the end of the road...you have to go through miles of dirt road in the sugar cane fields. Once you do get there, you will be greeted by the longest beach in Hawaii.

    Polihale Beach Park

    Polihale is connected to Barking Sands Beach creating 17 miles of secluded white sand. Barking Sands Beach used to have its own entrance through the U.S. Navy military facility down the road. That entrance is now closed to the public.

    At the north end of Polihale Beach is one end of the Na Pali Coast. On the south end of Polihale is an area that is protected by the reef known as Queen's Pond (pictured). This is the only area that is safe for swimming. I would not recommend swimming in other areas unless you are a very strong swimmer with fins.

    This beach catches surf that wraps around from the north in the winter, and from the south in the summer. It is a great beach to find a secluded spot all to yourself.

    Tip--The distance from your car to the water is at least 100 yards. The sand gets really hot so be sure to bring slippers and water.

    Amenities:

    • No lifeguard
    • Restrooms
    • Showers
    • Picnic tables
    • --Don't count on using these. It is like a desert here...very hot. The bees tend to congregate in this area...They must be thirsty too.


South Shore Kauai Beaches

  • Poipu Beach
  • This Kauai Beach is located in sunny Poipu. It was named America's Best Beach in 2001 by "Dr. Beach." (Once a beach is given this honor, it cannot win again.)

    Poipu Beach


    Poipu Beach is actually two beaches divided by a sandbar (called a tombolo). The left side of the beach is calm and great for swimming. The open bay on the right side is great for snorkeling, swimming, boogie boarding, and surfing.

    Amenities:

    • Lifeguards
    • Restrooms
    • Showers
    • Picnic tables


  • Shipwreck Beach
  • Shipwreck Beach Also located in Poipu, this Kauai Beach gets its name from an old shipwreck that is no longer there. It is a popular beach for surfers, boogie boarders, and body surfers. It is not a good beach for children or inexperienced swimmers.

    Amenities:

    • No lifeguards
    • No facilities


  • Lawai Beach
  • Lawai Beach

    This Kauai beach is located right down the road from Poipu Beach. The sand area is small, and is actually washed away when there is high surf on the south shore. Swimming is good when the surf is not big.

    Three popular south shore surfing spots are located here: PK's, Centers, and Acid Drop. The Beach House Restaurant, a perfect place for a meal with a view, is located next to the beach on a grassy plateau.

    Amenities:

    • No lifeguards
    • Showers--across the street
    • Restrooms--across the street


  • Salt Pond Beach Park
  • Salt Pond Beach Park


    This Kauai beach is still used by native Hawaiian people to make sea salt. It is the only such beach in Hawaii. This is a great beach for swimming and snorkeling as the water is usually always calm.

    Warning--Do not enter the salt-making area without permission.

    Amenities:

    • Lifeguards
    • Showers
    • Restrooms
    • Picnic area


East Shore Kauai Beaches

  • Kalapaki Beach
  • Kalapaki beach is located on the southeast shore in Lihue in front of the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club. It is a beautiful beach with sheer cliffs that looks out into Nawiliwili Bay. It is great for swimming as the water is usually calm. There are all kinds of activites available here including surfing lessons, catamarran rides, and windsurfing.

    Amenities:

    • No lifeguards
    • Showers
    • Restrooms
    • Picnic area


  • Lydgate Beach
  • This Kauai Beach is located on the east shore in Wailua. There are two pools enclosed by boulders that make this beach perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and children.

    Lydgate Beach

    There is also a huge play area for kids called Kamalani Playground. Down the beach is a great walking beach. It is long and secluded, but like much of the windward (east) coast, it is not ideal for swimming.

    Amenities:

    • Lifeguard
    • Showers
    • Restrooms
    • Picnic facilities


  • Anahola Beach
  • This Kauai beach is on the northeast shoreline. It's a great beach for swimming, snorkeling, and children because of the offshore reef that keeps the waves out. There is also trees behind the beach for some much needed shade.

    Anahola Beach

    Amenities:

    • Lifeguards on weekends and holidays
    • Showers
    • Restrooms
    • Picnic area


North Shore Kauai Beaches

  • Kalihiwai Beach
  • This is a great spot for experienced surfers in the winter...so it is not good for swimming during those months. However, in the summer, it is usually calm and great for swimming.

    Kalihiwai Beach

    Amenities:

    • No lifeguards
    • No facilities



  • Anini Beach
  • Anini Beach

    This Kauai beach is protected by Hawaii's longest reef. This makes it great for swimming, snorkeling, and children. It is also a very popular spot for windsuring lessons.




    On the bluffs overlooking this three-mile beach are some beautiful homes. I know many celebrities own homes along the north shore of Kauai...I'm just not sure where they are. Speaking of celebrities, here is Ben Stiller filming a movie on Kauai.

    Amenities:

    • No lifeguard
    • Showers
    • Restrooms


  • Hanalei Bay
  • This Kauai beach is a beautiful stretch of white sand. With Hanalei Pier in the foreground and the mountains behind, there may not be a more picturesque beach scene in Hawaii. This is especially true in the morning or evening when the water looks like sheer glass.

    Hanalei Bay

    The summer months are generally calm and perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking. It is great for children in the summer, but it may be a little rough in the winter for smaller children.

    Sidebar--Pine Trees, a popular surf spot, is located in the middle of Hanalei Bay. It is three-time world surfing champ, Andy Iron's home break. If you're lucky, you may spot him when he's not on tour.

    Amenities:

    • Lifeguard
    • Showers
    • Restrooms
    • Picnic areas


  • Ke'e Beach
  • Ke'e Beach

    This Kauai beach is at the end of the road where the north side of the Na Pali Coast begins. This is also where the Kalalau Trail begins. Because of the great beach and the Kalalau Trail, the parking lot fills up quickly so you may have to walk a little.

    The water is usually calm making it perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and children. There is a channel on the left side of the beach that goes into the ocean. This channel may have strong currents and should be avoided.

    Amenities:

    • Showers
    • Restrooms
    • Picnic area



WARNING--Respect the power of the ocean. All that energy that comes toward the shore in the form of waves has to go out somewhere. Rip currents go back out to sea in the channels between the breaking waves.

For the most part, you cannot see these rip currents. Be careful...Obey all posted signs, and ask a lifeguard if it is safe to go in the water.

My favorite Kauai beach would have to be either Poipu Beach or Lydgate Beach. Kalapaki Beach would be a close third. Here are my reasons why...

  • Poipu and the Lihue area are generally more sunny. The north shore is undeniably beautiful and picture perfect, but it can be cloudy. When it is sunny, I love being up there.
  • Poipu Beach, Lydgate Beach, and Kalapaki Beach are more kid-friendly than other beaches. They offer consistent calm conditions that work best for our small children.

I hope you enjoy exploring all the exquisite Kauai beaches, and finding your favorite!

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