Kauai’s Beaches are voted to be some of the most beautiful on the planet. Kauai’s beaches are famous for long stretches of secluded white sand, warm turquoise waters and tropical backdrops. As you go to one of them, choose one that has lifeguards for swimming and snorkeling and check the surf report before going out. Kauai Beaches can be exposed to strong waves, unpredictable conditions and rip currents. Use caution follow beach safety in and around Kauai waters.
Anahola Beach – Anahola Beach is a beautiful white sand fringed bay, with good swimming and decent snorkeling most of the year due to a protective outlying reef. Anahola Beach Park is located just south of Anahola Bay. This family friendly beach is tucked away and hidden from the main road. This secluded beach is an easy beach to drive up to and enjoy without having to carry your beach gear too far. From the shore you can see the beautiful mountains of Kalalea.
The Anahola Beach Park is manned by a County of Kauai lifeguard and offers good shade, a sandy beach, camping facilities and fun for all ages. This beach is popular among the locals and is crowded on the weekends with families picnicking and enjoying the beach.
The North end of the bay at the mouth of the Anahola River is another great beach for shelling, fishing from shore and photo opportunities. Use caution near the river-mouth for strong currents. There are no lifeguard stations at the river-mouth end of the bay. Get Directions to Anahola Beach
Credit Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Kirk Aeder
Anini Beach – There is no lifeguard posted at Anini Beach, but is still considered to be one of the safer beaches on Kauai’s North Shore during the summer months. Anini boasts the longest and widest fringing reef in the Hawaiian Islands and because of the unique conditions it usually has well protected waters and some of the most consistent conditions for water activities. Enjoy snorkeling, beach walks, picnicking, paddle boarding and wind surfing. Anini beach is known to have strong currents in the channels and outside the protective reef. Always use caution especially during high surf. On windy days you are likely to see wind surfers out riding the waves.
Anini Beach is popular for camping and also a great beach for simply relaxing with a book, fishing from shore or paddle boarding above the lively reef. The deeper and clearer water can be enticing, but it is better to be cautious and stay closer to shore.
Anini Beach is usually less crowded than Poipu or Hanalei and is really quite breathtaking. The Beach Park has multiple campsites with permits, shade trees, picnic tables, pavilions, restrooms and showers. My wife and I went here on one of our trips and within a short time snorkeling we saw a sea turtle, some trumpet fish and several other type of fish while we were going across the reef. Get Diretions to Anini Beach.
Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson
Baby Beach – in Poipu is a small, secluded and generally protected beach that is great for families traveling with infants and toddlers. The beauty of this little strip of peach in poipu that it is usually less crowded than nearby Poipu Beach Park and the calm waters are perfect for babies, hence the name. It is not uncommon to view sea turtles and monk seals at baby beach, but remember to keep your distance as these animals are protected.
Brennecke’s Beach -located adjacent to Poipu Beach Park is a very popular boogie boarding and body surfing spot. You can always find a wave at Brennecke’s beach. The small strip of sand is a good spot to watch the waves and occasional rider crash on the shore. This small stretch of beach is popular with the locals and visitors.
Always use caution when playing in the shore break. The waves at Brennecke’s are usually larger in the summer months, but can be rough at other times during the year.
This beach is only for boogie boarding or body surfing. For surfing and other water sports head south to Poipu Beach. Brennecke’s is a fun spot to have lunch and watch the activity. Directions to Brennecke’s Beach. This beach is within walking distance from our Kauai Vacation Rental / Manualoha 601.
Fugi Beach -also known as Baby Beach Kapaa is a great place for children to swim and explore tide pools. Located near the beginning of the Kauai Coastal Path in Kapaa town. Fuji Beach is best during light trade wind days. here is not much shade and is best at lower tides. Kite surfing and diving is enjoyed beyond the protection of the reef and shallow wading area.
Fuji Beach is an easy spot to pull over and enjoy lunch. There are a few picnic tables, some shaded areas and a shower to rinse off. At the North end of this stretch of beach is the start of the paved Kauai Coastal Path for walking and biking. You can also find restrooms and drinking fountains. Get Directions to Fugi Beach.
Haena Beach -is a slice of heaven where lush tropical jungle meets white sand beaches and turquoise waters. The popular and very recognizable Mount Makana (Bali Hai) looms mysteriously above Haena Beach and offers a spectacular backdrop for sunsets and photo opportunities.
Haena Beach Park offers good swimming and snorkeling during calm conditions. This is a fun beach to explore and do a bit of beach-combing and great shell collecting. During the winter months the surf can be extremely large causing dangerous shore-break and strong currents. You can watch from shore as experienced water-men and women ride these awe inspiring giant waves.
Haena Beach Park has a lifeguard station, restrooms showers and camp sites. Camping permit only. One of the popular North Shore attractions the Maniniholo dry cave is across the street from Haena Beach Park. Directions to Haena Beach.
Hanalei Pavilion – Hanalei Bay is a two mile long crescent shaped bay offers activities for the whole family. The center of the bay is known as Pavilions and is a popular beach for swimming, surfing and boogie boarding. Lifeguards man this section of the beach. A large pavilion, restrooms, showers and BBQ areas make this an easy spot for the whole family to enjoy a day at the beach.
Visit Hanalei Bay Pavilion in the summer, where sailboats from around the world anchor in the bay, on there last stop before heading back to the west coast from Mexico or the South Pacific. The two mile long horseshoe-shaped beach is a great spot to get your daily exercise with a walk or run. There is never a lack of activity on Hanalei Bay. Get Directions to Hanalei Bay.
Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson
Hanalei Pier – The Hanalei Pier is located at the mouth of the Hanalei River. This section of beach fronts Black Pot Beach Park, a popular camping area for local families. There is a small boat ramp where you can launch kayaks to paddle the Hanalei River. Hanalei Pier is where you will find the calmest spot for children to play in the surf.
The Historic Hanalei Pier is a popular landmark that at one time was used as a busy working pier used to load and off load sugar and other goods to and from ships. The pier was originally built of wood before 1892. In 1912 it was lengthened to 340 feet, but the wooden deck proved difficult to maintain in the tropical climate. In 1921 the legislature authorized $25,000 for a concrete deck. Conney and Morris were selected as contractors, and the work was completed by the end of 1922.
The Hanalei Pier Canopy underwent a complete restoration in 2012-13 after years of neglect and vandalism. The Hanalei Rotary Club spearheaded Save the Pier, a project that raised over $170,000 toward the restoration project now completed in was reconstructed and finished Today Hanalei Pier is a landmark and favorite recreation spot for water-sports, watching the sun set over Bali Hai.
Because of its popularity with the locals and visitors parking can be difficult on holidays and weekends. Weekdays are suggested days to visit for visitors. Directions to Hanalei Pier.
Hideaway Beach – (Pali Ke Kua) on Kauai’s north shore is a beautiful spot for snorkeling during calm weather. Typically a summertime beach, this spot can be accessed by steep path neer the Pali Ke Kua Condos. Hideaways Beach is true to the name and this secluded beach is worth the trek, but it is advisable to use extreme caution and is probably best left to those who are in good health and physical condition. Parking and access to Hideaways is found at the public parking lot just before the gate house of the Princeville St Regis Hotel. Get Directions to Hideaway Beach.
Kalapaki Beach – is a great beach for swimming, learning to surf, boogie boarding and stand up paddle boarding. Kalapaki Bay fronts the Kauai Marriott Beach Resort and is partially protected from the open ocean by a large break wall. It offers a nice beach for relaxing, sunbathing, picking up a game of beach volleyball or simply watching the outrigger canoes and visiting cruise ships come and go out of Nawiliwili Harbor.
Grab a picnic lunch and shave ice at the Kalapaki Beach Hut, located across the walking bridge at south end of the bay. The Garden Island Inn is located steps from Kalapaki’s white sandy beach. Located on and near Kalapaki Beach are a variety of accomodations, surfboard rentals, stand up boards and beach catamarans rental shacks. Surfboard lessons take place here year-round.
Parking for the beach can be found in the upper parking lot of the Marriot Hotel. There is a public beach access on the east end of the beach. Directions to Kalapaki Beach.
Kalihiwai Beach – This little slice of tropical paradise is a secluded bay bordered by the Kalihiwai River and a backdrop of rain forest foliage. This beach is good for soaking up the rays, playing on shore, exploring the river by kayak or paddle boarding. The ocean conditions here can be rough with strong winds. For swimming, snorkeling and boogie boarding it is advisable to choose from one of the lifeguard beaches. Directions to Kalihiwai Beach.
Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson
Ke’e Beach –Ke’e Beach (pronounced Keh-AY) is located at the end of the road. and the farthest you can drive on the north shore. Ke’e is protected by a reef that makes it a safe place for snorkeling and swimming. Ke’e Beach is also the beginning of the Napali Coast and the Kalalau trail that leads to Hanakapiai and Kalalau Beach. This special spot is beautiful at sunset. During the summer months the water can be as calm and clear as a swimming pool.
During winter months dangerous conditions include high surf and strong currents. The facilities at the beach include restrooms and showers. There is no cell reception, but there is a payphone.
The parking at this beach is limited and it is advisable to park in the dirt parking lot about a quarter mile from the end of the road. This is the overflow from the parking at the roads end. By 9 am the parking lot at Ke’e is usually full with hikers setting out on the Kalalau trail. Get Directions to Ke’e Beach.
Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)
Kealia Beach – Kealia’s long stretch of white sand beach is a great spot for beach strolling and whale watching during the winter months. Kealia Beach is a popular beach for surfing and is subject to open ocean swell and wind swell. The north end of the beach on calmer days provides the possibility for swimming and boogie boarding.
Kealia is known to have strong currents and wind swell so use cation when deciding where to get in the water. Kealia Beach does have a lifeguard, restrooms and showers. The Kapaa Coastal Path Ke Ala Hele Makalae follows along Kealia’s long stretch of white sand beach is a great spot for beach strolling and whale watching during the winter months.runs along the coast here and is a great place to explore the coastline on foot or bicycles. Get Directions to Kealia Beach.
Kekaha Beach -Located on the far west side of Kauai, Kekaha Beach Park is best left for watching the sunset and beach combing. This beach marks the start of the the longest stretch of white sand beach in the state. Strong wind, waves and river run off leave the water brown at times. Local surfers and and local fishermen enjoy Kekaha Beach. The island of Niihau and Lehua rock can be seen from here. This is the dry side of the island and if raining elsewhere you are sure to find a lot of sunshine here.
This is the last lifegaurded beach on the west side. You can find picnic area and restroom facilities here. This is a good stop for a restroom break before venturing further. The last time we were here is was nearly a good 10 degrees warmer here compared to Kapaa. Get Directions to Kekaha Beach.
Kaiahuna Beach – Kiahuna Beach is a section of Poipu Beach, a popular beach on Kauai’s sunny south shore. Kiahuna Beach fronts the Kiahuna Plantation condominiums and falls between Poipu Beach Park and Lawai Beach.
Kiahuana is good beach for beginning surf lessons, snorkeling and boogie boarding. Thanks to the outlying reef the waters stay relatively calm. On the outside of the reef experienced surfers ride the waves. Stay close to shore if you are a beginner surfer or body-boarder. There is not a lot of shade so bring your umbrellas. Parking is limited but available at Poipu Beach Park. Directions to Kaiahuna Beach. This beach is within walking distance from our Condo / Manualoha 601.
Lawai Beach – Lawai Beach is a small strip of beach fronting the Lawai Beach resort and the Beach House Restaurant. Not visible at high tide and better suited for snorkeling in calm weather. This is a favorite spot to watch experienced surfers off this reef break. Lawai Beach is also popular for spotting turtles and the rare Hawaiian monk seal. Lawai Beach is also great for capturing the sunset. Located across from the Lawai Beach Resort and adjacent to the Beach House Restaurant. Directions to Lawai Beach.
Lumahai Beach – is a popular and picturesque beach and the subject to many postcard and gallery images. This long stretch of white sand beach was made famous by Hollywood when Mitzi Gaynor spent her time on this beach washing that man right out of her hair, in the movie South Pacific. Lumahai is the subject of many postcards and paintings, but is also known on island as one of the most dangerous beaches for drownings and is not recommended for swimming.
During the summer months the conditions at Luimahai are calmer, but still use caution. Lumahai is exposed to open ocean and strong currents. Do not underestimate the power of the waves, currents and backwash. Enjoy you walk on the beach and your many opportunities for great photos. Great photo opportunities of Lumahai Bay can be had at the scenic lookout from the main road above the beach. Directions to Lumahai Beach.
Lydegate Beach Park – is located on the East side of Kauai adjacent to the Wailua River. The two rock enclosed ponds create a safe haven from the open ocean waves, while still allowing the small reef fish to move into the pond through the crevices. This spot will almost guarantee that you will see a variety of tropical fish. The protected calm waters, posted lifeguard and variety of fish make this the perfect beginner beach for snorkeling.
Lydgate State Park is a great family beach for swimming, picnicking and snorkeling in two protected lagoons. Lifeguards, full facilities, picnic areas, Kamalani Play ground and the 2.5 mile paved coastal path makes this a great choice for the whole family. Directions to Lydegate Beach Park.
Mahaulepu Beach – is located along an isolated and windswept coast this magical stretch of coastline is so deserving of preservation. The Mahaulepu Beach Heritage Trail leads you from the East end of Shipwrecks beach along a coastline of sand dunes, lava tubes, tide pools and stretches of white sand beaches perfect for beach combing.
Mahaulepu Beach is better suited for the experienced swimmer and snorkeler. Stronger trade winds on this stretch of coastline make it a haven for wind surfer and experienced kite-boarders. This section of coastline includes a variety of landscapes to explore including; lava tubes, sandstone cliffs, blow holes and isolated coves make this a fantastic place to discover on foot. Tread lightly as you discover this sacred part of the island. Always pack out what you brought in.
To learn more about the preservation of Mahaulepu Beach contact Malama Mahaulepu, a nonprofit working to protect the area. Directions to Mahaulepu Beach.
Poipu Beach -is actually two beaches in one. A tombola (known as Nukumoi Point) separates the two bays. A tombola is a narrow sand spit that extends from shore to an island. The tombola at Poipu Beach is the favorite spot for the napping , endangered Hawaiian monk seals. The area on the western side of the beach, is a favorite for beginning body boarders. Small waves break gently on the shallow sandbar and create a fun area for children to play.
On the left of the sandbar is a lava rock protected and shallow area for swimming. This is usually the play area for families with small children. Poipu Beach Park has been voted the #1 beach in America. During the weekends this is a favorite spot for birthday parties, picnics, lawn games and family activities. The outdoor playground was built by donations from the community. You can find parking , snorkel rental and surfboard rentals near by. Directions to Poipu Beach.
Polihale Beach is by far the longest stretch of beach in the state of Hawaii. Polihale Beach and State Park is located at the end of Highway 50 and is accessed down a unpaved old cane haul road. The seventeen mile stretch of white sand beach and sand dunes offer endless beach-combing and shelling fun. Polihale Beach sits at the end of NA PaliCoast and the edge of the Mana Plains. This is a spectacular stretch of wilderness, with 100 foot sand dunes, desert cactus and remarkable sunsets over the Forbidden Island of Niihau.
This is the last beach on the west side marks the beginning of the Napali Coast. Polihale Beach is hot and shade is far from the waters edge, so don’t forget an umbrella and lots of water if you plan on spending any time here.
Polihale Beach has some facilities and camping is by permit only. Strong currents and no lifeguard make it is a notoriously dangerous beach for swimming. This is a great beach for shelling, long beach walks and spectacular sunsets. Directions to Polihale Beach.
Salt Pond – On Kauai’s South-Western shore, Salt Pond Beach Park has a number of protected shallow pools that offer great snorkeling for the little ones. The water is generally quite clear here and the natural fringing reefs help keep the water fairly calm. Tide pools on the East side of the beach are a great place to discover additional Hawaiian marine life. A lifeguard is posted here and you will find restrooms, showers and shade pavilions in the park.
Salt Pond’s salt beds are a natural wetland and while salt forms naturally here, the salt beds are quite man made. Salt Pond is named for the natural wetlands that Hawaiians use to produce salt used for cooking and medicinal purposes. Salt Pond Beach Park lies adjacent to the only natural salt ponds on Kauai. These Salt ponds are strictly for the use of Native Hawaiians. Salt Pond it is also an excellent beach for small children due to semi protected ocean conditions.
Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Dana Edmunds
Tunnels Beach – (pronounced Makua) is the ultimate snorkeling and scuba divers beach. This crescent shaped bay is fringed by palms and Ironwood trees. The golden sand beach has a backdrop of lush jungle and mountains making this a picture perfect beach. Tunnels is a favorite surfing, winds surfing and kite surfing beach. Lava tubes form the many underwater caverns give Tunnels it’s name as well as a magical underwater world to explore. Don’t miss the spectacular sunset from this North Shore beach.
Wailua Beach – is a spot for surfers and kite boarders. Located along the corridor of the coconut coast and at the mouth of the only navigable river in the State of Hawaii, this wind swept beach often has strong surf and equally as strong currents. Even though the access to this beach is easy, parking is difficult and conditions are not ideal for swimming.
On the north end of Wailua Bay you will find a little stretch of beach fronting private condos. Known as Lae Nani this stretch of beach has a small rock protected pool for small children. The public access is located across the street form the Shell gas station just after the stretch of beach along the highway. Turtle watching and the pebble like sand make this a nice beach on the East Side. Lydgate Beach just a few minutes south of here is as better choice for swimming, snorkeling and has better facilities. If you love to surf and are experienced, Wailua Beach has some very nice conditions for surfing. Directions to Wailua Beach.
Waimea Beach – sets itself apart from other Kauai Beaches. The rare black sand beach is a spectacular vantage point for sunsets over Niihau, the Forbidden Isle, off Kauai’s West Side. The Waimea Pier and the lovely cottages along the beach take you back to a nostalgic plantation era.
Coconut palms, large grassy lawns and breathtaking old growth Banyan Trees, line the shore of this charming stretch of waterfront. This makes most who visit want to just stay a while, sip a lemonade and let the time pass you by. Waimea beach is a great spot for a romantic sunset strolls. Waimea Plantation Cottages is a quaint and beautiful setting for a destination wedding and vacation retreat. Directions to Waimea Beach.
Waioli Beach Park – also known as Pine trees on Hanalei Bay is located toward the middle of Hanalei Bay. Named Pine Trees for the multiple ironwood pines that grow on the sands edge. Pine Trees has one of the two lifeguard stations on the bay. This beach is popular with surfers and can have serious currents when the waves are large. World Champion surfers Bruce and Andy Irons grew up on this beach and are icons for many of the young local surfers. The Pine Tree Classic is an annual contest for beginner surfers to compete and win prizes.
Pine Trees is a fun spot to watch avid surfers show off their skills during the winter surf season. Restrooms and showers are available north of the lifeguard stand as well as a beach volleyball court where you can usually pick up a game or two. Directions to Waioli Beach Park.
Waipouli Beach – is a nice quiet stretch of beach located in front of the Waipouli Beach Resort. Located on the east side of the island this beach is easy to access and great for watching the sunrise. A public beach access to this small strip of beach is found on the south end of the Waipouli BeachResort. Often a rest spot for Kauai’s monk seals this little stretch of beach is also an easy to stop for a quick beach trip or rest stop after exploring the Ke Ala Hele Makalae pedestrian and biking coastal path. For visitors looking for convenient and family friendly lodging the location is ideal with shopping, coffee shops, activities, hiking and more all with in walking distances. Don’t ever miss a sunrise from this perfect vantage point for sunrises. Directions to Waipouli Beach Resort.
Kauai Beach Safety
Choose beaches with a lifeguard.
Before entering the water check for any warning signs indicating hazardous conditions.
Avoid swimming during high surf.
Never swim alone.
Never allow small children to swim or play in water unattended.
Never swim in murky water and never swim in river mouths.
Never turn your back on the ocean, an unexpected wave can knock you down and drag you out.
Listen to weather and surf forecasts on local radio or check the surf report
Featured Header Image Credit – Hawaiian Tourism Authority