We list the best beaches on Kauai, Hawaii and how to get to each one.
|Guide Series: Hawaii's Best Beaches
Kauai is an amazing place to spend some time but if you're heading there on a vacation you really need to make the most of your feet-in-the-sand time. So why waste time hopping from beach to beach in search of the perfect place to set up shop when we have the best beaches on Kauai listed here for you?
Here's our list of the best beaches on Kauai, Hawaii.
Anini is an incredibly popular beach for many reasons, but it never really feels crowded here. Because the beach is protected by Hawaii's longest reef, the waters here are often calm and clear. It can be a great place to do some snorkeling or just splash around in the shallow waters. It's a long beach so there is plenty of room to spread out. Learn more about: Anini Beach Park
Located at the far west end of Kauai's north shore, Ke'e Beach is as far west as you can travel on this side of the island and marks the starting point of the famous Kalalau Trail. When the ocean is calm in the summer months, Ke'e is a great place to swim and snorkel. There is a lot of parking but it often fills up so come early, ideally on a weekday. Learn more about: Ke'e Beach Park
Poipu Beach is a classic beach that's perfect for families and very popular. It's sort of the Waikiki Beach of Kauai, especially on weekends. This beach is really two beaches in one. A tombolo (dividing sandbar) separates the Poipu Beach side on the east from Waiohai Beach Park on the west side. This is a great place to swim and snorkel and if you have smaller kids then you'll love the more protected east side. Learn more about: Poipu Beach Park
Looking for something secluded? Then check out Tunnels Beach which is plenty secluded, but by no means a secret. The parking lot is fairly small which means you may not always find a place to park here. That's annoying when you want a spot, but good when you're here as it keeps the crowds relatively small. If you can't find a spot you can park at next door Ha'ena Beach Park / Maniniholo Beach instead. The scenery here is amazing, truly a picturesque beach. Learn more about: Makua Beach / Tunnels Beach
Hanalei Bay is a massively popular place to beach at and it includes Hanalei Pavilion Beach Park and Hanalei Beach Park (Black Pot Beach). While Black Pot Beach may be where many tourists head, I'd stick with Hanalei Pavilion Beach Park. What's the difference? Not much, it's really all connected on the same stretch of sand but the Pavilion side is more in the center of the bay while Black Pot is on the far north east side where the river empties into the ocean. Any time a river or stream dumps into the ocean the water is usually more murky than it would otherwise be. You know what likes murky water? Sharks. So I prefer water that is as crystal clear as possible! Learn more about: Hanalei Pavilion Beach Park
Polihale is an epic beach in every way. Long stretches of sand? Check. Beautiful blue waters? Check. Not a sole in sight? Check. Camping allowed? Check. It's one of the longest and widest beaches in Hawaii and chances are good there will be nobody there if you go. Ready for the bad news? It's located on the west side of the island and you get to it from the south. The road will end and you're left with a 30 minute drive over a 5 mile dirt road that last saw maintenance during the Crusades. While it can be done in a rental car, you'd better hope you got the rental insurance! We don't advise making the drive in anything less than a good 4x4. Learn more about: Polihale Beach State Park
This is a great beach if you're an advanced surfer or boggie boarder and is just a fun place to hang out. The north end is usually more calm since it's protected by a breakwater but this one is really more about watching the pros do their thing on a board. Learn more about: Kealia Beach Park
This is a great spot for families with children because the beach here can be very well protected from the open ocean. You'll find plenty of sand and clear water as well as full facilities (bathrooms, sinks, water fountains, showers, grills, tables, and even a lifeguard). The locals love this place to but it offers plenty of parking even on a crowded weekend. Learn more about: Salt Pond Beach Park
The blue color of the water here can be absolutely mesmerizing at times, I'd come here just for that. There are parts that are a bit rocky and reefy but also plenty of areas that aren't so it's a good place to swim (and has a lifeguard, bathrooms, and showers). It's located right next to Makua Beach / Tunnels Beach so you're often better parking here if you plan to hang out at Tunnels. Learn more about: Ha'ena Beach Park / Maniniholo Beach
I think a lot of people skip this one but it's worth checking out, especially if you have kids. The beach is actually very nice here and about as protected from the open ocean as it could ever be, so things are very calm and shallow here. Right next to the beach are some amazing playgrounds in the form of Lydgate Kamalani Park I and Lydgate Kamalani Park II. Even without kids, this is still a great beach to spend a day at.
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