Kauai Beaches


On Kauai, here’s nearly an endless variety of beach experiences to choose from. Kauai’s beaches stretch nearly 50 miles around the coast of the island. Here are some of Kauai’s best beaches, any of which is easily worth a day — or more — of pleasant diversion.

If you plan to go into the water at Kauai, be aware of the risks. As Hawaii’s northernmost island, Kauai is exposed to the full force of the ocean, especially in winter. This can produce huge waves and dangerous currents, and many beach parks do not have lifeguards on duty. Whether you plan to swim, surf, or snorkel, it’s important to know your limitations, read the signs, and listen to the lifeguards. If you’re not completely confident of your aquatic abilities, stick to safer, reef-protected beaches like Anini, Lydgate, Kee, or Lawai.

* Anini Beach: Anini’s water is extremely clear and calm, thanks to a protecting reef, so even a total novice swimmer or snorkeler can get in the water. While the water is poor for surfing, it’s an excellent spot for windsurfing.

* Hanalei Bay: This gently curving half-moon harbor lined by two miles of golden sand offers a beautiful vista of mountains and sea — and a totally awesome surfing experience. The water can be rough at Hanalei, and it gets even rougher in winter, but that only makes the surfing better.

* Poipu Beach: One of the most popular Kauai beaches for families because of the Baby Beach, an area protected by sandbars and rock jetties to produce an immense natural wading pool. Poipu isn’t just for kids, though. It also offers excellent opportunities for snorkeling, bodysurfing, and bodyboarding, and some areas have a wicked surf break that will challenge even experienced surfers.

* Polihale State Park: Hawaii’s largest beach, on the western side of Kauai. Polihale is remote and wild — you’ll need a four-wheel-drive vehicle to even get out there. It can also be blisteringly hot, and swimming is unsafe. But if you want to really get away from it all, Polihale is the place. And the sunsets are astonishing.

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