Kauai’s Best Beaches
Are you looking for the Kauai’s best beaches? Well look no further. Kauai is the oldest of the eight main Hawaiian Islands, and is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. With so many beaches to choose from, one could spend an entire vacation visiting multiple beaches a day and still not see them all. Nearly half of the Garden Island’s coastline is covered by sand. That’s more than 55 miles of sand and beaches in 111 miles of coastline! Each stretch has different sand texture, color and ocean conditions. ActivityKauai.com’s list of Kauai’s best beaches will help fine-tune the perfect sandy playground for your desired activity.
When building your own personal beach list, its good to first think about ocean safety. Kauai ocean safety is a serious matter. Having a deep respect for the ocean in Hawaii is the best way to keep you out of trouble. All beaches on the Garden Island can be dangerous at some point during the year. Learning about what makes them dangerous is part of being a responsible traveler. Swimming at life guarded beaches, asking for advice, educating you, and exercising caution in remote areas is the common protocol. Enjoy our best beaches safely and have fun doing it!
On the Garden Island, locals break down beaches by the regions of North Shore, East Side, South Shore, and West Side. Residents rarely leave the side of the island they live on unless they are working, doing Kauai activities, or visiting a favorite beach. The north shore of Kauai is a charming landscape marked by extensive Taro fields, magnificent sea cliffs, captivating vistas, and tropical jungles extending to the shoreline. Some of the Kauai’s best beaches are found on the north shore. Hanalei (Crescent Bay in Hawaiian) is the quintessential Kauai surf town on the north shore. The bay surrounding this quaint town is a legendary stretch of sand.
Hanalei Bay is the largest bay on the north shore and offers a variety of different conditions throughout the year. Travelers also love the scenic beauty of Hanalei Pier. A few more beaches you won’t want to miss on the north shore are Tunnels, Lumahai, and Kee. Tunnels Beach can provide great snorkeling during the summer months if the ocean conditions agree. Lumahai Beach gained popularity in 1958 after the classic South Pacific movie scene was filmed there. Today Lumahai is still a favorite of residents and travelers. Kee Beach, at the end of the road on the north shore, is at the trailhead for Kalalau and the beginning of the beautiful Napali Coast.
On the east side of Kauai, the areas of Kapaa and Lihue are where most of the business happens on Island. Large areas of livable land allow for populations to live in interior communities. This area is most known for the trade winds that blow onshore 85% of the year. Due to “relative” commercialization and population, the east side does not offer the same abundance and remoteness of beaches as other shores of the island. If you have a small child and are looking for a tide pool area, try Baby Beach. Fuji or Baby Beach is a small area of sand that an outer reef system protects for wading. Kealia Beach is a beautiful east side destination to add your list of Kauai beaches. This is a great place to observe wind wave surfing. Although the conditions are typically dangerous here, the northern end of the beach can be safe for swimming with lifeguard approval. Almost any east side beach is a prime destination for watching the sunrise.
The sunny south shore of Kauai offers some of the best snorkeling during the winter months. Take a drive through the legendary Tree Tunnels Road towards the south shore. This area of the island is consistently less rainy, boasting some of the most consistent clear Hawaiian weather on island. Many choose to stay on the south side in Poipu for the beautiful weather and close proximity to some great beaches. Poipu Beach Park is one the best life guarded locations, often safe for swimming and snorkeling in the winter months. Mahaleupu Beach is also a favorite when searching for a more remote south shore beach.
Kauai’s west side is in the lee of the trade winds and commonly is the hottest, driest place on Kauai. This side of the island has large expanses of land that was used by the last sugar plantations on Kauai. Today you can visit Kauai coffee Company, the largest coffee plantaion in US.
Look for the best sunsets on the west side of Kauai. Almost every beach on the west side will provide optimal viewing for watching the sunset. A few of our favorites are Polihale State Park and Salt Ponds Beach. Both of these beaches are county or state maintained with restrooms, showers, and camping facilities. Polihale is only accessed by driving an eight-mile dirt road that will take at least 45 minutes. This incredible beach is worth the adventure. Salt Ponds is the local sunset beach for residents of Hanapepe. Here you will also get the opportunity to see real Hawaiian sea salt mines.
We can’t give away all of Kauai’s best beaches, but ActivityKauai.com’s beach list is a good start for any beach hunting vacation on the Garden Island. So pack up your sunblock, beach chairs, snorkel and family for an epic beach hunt Kauai style!
Are you looking to camp on Kauai’s best beaches this vacation? There are so great opportunities at our Kauai county beach parks. Check out our Kauai Beach Parks Camping list