Which Beach is Best?
With beaches galore, visitors can choose from an array of fantastic options! All of the beaches in Hawaii are public so it’s really more a question of accessibility, as some beaches require 4-wheel drive vehicles while others might require a bit of bouldering and rock-hopping. Of course, there are plenty of drive-in beaches that include parking areas but being the laid-back island, it is, Kauai does not provide typical tourist-style signage. Not to worry, we have curated a list of our favorite Kauai beaches as an easy go-to guide for your upcoming getaway!
North Shore Beaches:
The North Shore is what Kauai dreams are made of, the quintessential scenery that you have most likely seen while planning your trip. The lush, tropical foliage is brought to you by the frequent rain showers, but don’t worry as micro-climates are abundant and it rarely rains everywhere at the same time.
Anini Beach Park is great for families and boasts one of the largest reefs in Hawaii, making it perfect for families looking to snorkel and enjoy the shallow, warm pools that kids will love to splash around in. This beach is safe in the summer and throughout most of the winter. There is also a lot of grass and shade as well as lifeguards, parking, showers, and toilets.
Haena Beach Park (Tunnels Beach) is home to Makua Bay and shows best conditions in July and August. This beach is popular with campers and also features lifeguards, parking showers and toilets. The ultimate snorkeling and scuba divers beach, this crescent shaped bay is bordered by palm trees and offers lush golden sand. Lava tubes form the many underwater caverns that give this beach it’s nickname and features some of the most fantastic sunsets on the island. Often there is a food vendor selling sandwiches but don’t forget to bring along snacks and water!
Hanalei Bay is what Kauai is known for with the Pacific on one side and the towering cliffs on the other. Attracting pro surfers when the surf is up in the winter, this beach is wide enough for walks and sunbathing and long enough for long walks to enjoy sunrise and sunset. This beach is worth an entire day and in lieu of packing a large cooler of food, head inland and enjoy a famous Hawaiian plate lunch!
East Side Beaches:
The windward side of the island, the Easy side receives the onshore winds with only a few beaches that are protected. On really windy days, these beaches are perfect for kiteboarders and windsurfers, a fun spectacle while relaxing with your toes in the sand.
Baby Beach is a family-favorite that is great for parents with young kids and there is a narrow and lagoon-type area between the beach and the reef, great for small children to enjoy. However, there are no beach facilities so be sure to watch the kids closely!
Kalapaki Beach is just five minutes south of the airport fronting the Kauai Marriot. Located in a cove on the backside of a peninsula, this beach is almost always safe from rip currents and undertows. There are also plenty of activities to enjoy such as body-boarding, swimming, and body surfing. There are also outrigger canoe clubs that paddle in the bay and you will also most likely see Yacht Club sailing boats taking advantage of the winds. This is also the only beach where double-hulled canoes are available to rent, as well as snorkel gear, surfboards, kayaks, and bodyboards.
South Shore Beaches:
The driest side of Kauai, the South Shore only sees about thirty inches of rain per year making it the sunniest option for beachgoers. Accessible via the windy Highway 520, the beaches feature wonderfully fine sand and plenty of seclusion.
Poipu Beach Park is the most popular beach on the South Shore and when the sea is calm, visitors will love snorkeling, swimming, and enjoying the soft grass lawns. Perfect for families and couples, this beach is easy to access and is awesome for people-watching. If you’re lucky, you might get a glimpse of the Hawaiian Munk seal and there are also plenty of amenities including lifeguards, parking, showers, toilets, and food and drink vendors.
West Side Beaches:
The leeward side of the island, the breezes a few and in-between making for sunny and warm conditions. Although it’s protected from the wind, there is also no reef so the beach drops off quickly and there are currents so beware.
Polihale State Park is the best option on the west side and is the longest stretch of beach in Hawaii coming in at 5 miles long and featuring over 140 acres. This beach is remote and is often used for long walks, running and exercising, or those looking for ultimate solitude.
With so many options, consult with your Villa specialist to find out which of the beaches are best for you and your group!