Kauai is the most amazing piece of the world what we’ve seen in our lives so far – and that includes its beaches, of course!
Our ultimate favorite: Tunnels Beach
The long, sandy Tunnels Beach on the north shore has not only perfectly crystal clear water, but it also offers stunning views of the Na Pali Coast cliffs.
It looks just like a postcard! 🙂 Swimming with sea turtles and colorful tropical fish, lying on the beach with Hawaiian monk seals was a paradise for us.
This beach is protected by a coral reef which is very close to the shore – especially at the east part of the beach – and offers the best snorkeling opportunities on Kauai.
Oh, and it’s fun to explore the caves and tunnels both on land (behind the beach parking area) and in water.
For some reasons (maybe because it’s more remote and can be hard to access in the rainy season) it is not as popular as Poipu Beach or Hanalei Bay. Those are usually mentioned as the best beaches of Kauai. But this was an advantage for us, because it’s much less crowded than those superfamous ones.
So romantic and so tropical: Hanalei Bay
Hanalei Bay is not only our favorite, it is often mentioned as the best beach of Kauai in the travel guides – and for a good reason.
Everything is here what you imagine when daydreaming about a tropical beach: sandy shore, turquoise bay, palm trees bending with the wind, views of the lush green mountains and roaring waterfalls behind the bay, small pier to take a walk while enjoying the sunset colors…
This beach is not for snorkeling though, because there’s not much to see under the water in this sandy bay.
Sunny south: Poipu & Kiahuna Beach
Poipu Beach lies on the sunniest south shore and it’s the most developed beach on Kauai. It is often highlighted in tour guides and I think it’s the most popular and also the most crowded beach.
Poipu is full of palm trees and full of life! Surrounded by fancy resorts, there’s restaurants and cocktail bars on the beach – and a lot of picnic benches, too.
Its two beautiful bays have moderate waves as they are protected by a reef – yes, a perfect snorkeling spot!
I can’t talk about Poipu without mentioning Kiahuna Beach which is the bay right next to it. It’s very similar to Poipu except the waves.
Waves can be higher here and what I noticed is that surfers and swimmers usually divide the bay so everyone can enjoy the waves safely – be careful, though, both with the waves and the surfers when you swim.
Poipu’s calmer water and snorkeling spots and Kiahuna’s adventurous waves were a perfect beach day mix for us.
Calm getaway: Anini Beach
This perfectly sandy north shore beach has the most calm, shallow water on Kauai. Big trees give shade on the shore, their branches are even above the magically blue water at some spots.
We have so good memories of Anini Beach! This was the place where we’ve seen humpback whales jumping in and out of the water while we watched the sunset.
In the shade of Na Pali Coast: Ke’e Beach
This hidden, remote gem is right at where hikers start the Kalalau Trail along Na Pali Coast on the north shore. This means you have amazing views of Na Pali Coast from here – and you have a wonderful view of Ke’e Beach from Kalalau Trail, by the way. 🙂
It was such a charming beach to refresh ourselves after we did our 8 hour long Na Pali Coast hike!
Just so lovely: Salt Pond Beach
This south shore beach has a deep, clear, protected bay for swimming and two smaller ponds for children. There’s nothing really special about it – other than it’s a typically beautiful tropical beach and just such a lovely place to relax!
This is probably the only beach on Kauai where you are allowed to camp on the beach.
…and don’t forget to respect the ocean
While enjoying the beauties in Hawaii, you should never forget about being careful and respect nature whatever you do – and that applies to swimming and snorkeling, too.
I mentioned beaches which are usually safe to swim, however you always need to check the current conditions and the typical water and wind conditions of the season of your visit.
Other than that… just dive into the beauties of these magical beaches!
Have you ever been to Hawaii? What is your favorite beach?