5 Must-Visit Beaches on Kauai
The Garden Isle is famous for its over 50 miles of magnificent sandy shores, more than any other Hawaiian Island. Not surprisingly, you’ll find all sorts of picturesque beaches, some practically untouched by human development.
Visitors really shouldn’t miss experiencing at least one of these five beaches while on Kauai.
Tunnels Beach, also known as Makua, is found on the north shore. It stretches for two miles from Hanalei Colony Resort to Ha’ena Beach Park, offering unsurpassed scenic beauty as well as some of the best snorkeling on the island during the summer months. A half-moon shaped reef can be found just an eighth of a mile offshore, teeming with all sorts of marine life.
In the winter time, surfers line up on the outside break. Some say the beach gets its name from the divers who have found the deep water caverns, tunnels and arches, while others believe it came from the surfers who were, and remain, impressed by waves that form a perfectly shaped tunnel.
Even if all you do is come to this beach to relax and watch the spectacular sunsets, you’ll leave happy.
Hanalei Bay Beach
Hanalei Bay Beach may be Kauai’s most well-known. It’s even been named the No. 1 beach in America due to its breathtaking beauty. Waterfall laced mountains provide the backdrop for this wide stretch of sand with picture-postcard views from every angle. Locals and tourists come here to surf, swim, walk, or just relax and take in the scene.
Poipu Beach made the list of No. 1 beaches in the U.S.A. for three consecutive years, drawing locals and tourists with its excellent swimming, opportunity to explore tide pools as well as outstanding reefs for snorkeling and diving. A lava-rock jetty protects a sandy-bottom pool, providing an ideal spot for children to swim. This is also a great spot to watch for endangered Hawaiian monk seals.
Inside Polihale State Park lies a remote 3-mile long stretch of sand that is part of Hawaii’s largest beach, the 17-mile long Barking Sands Beach. The bumpy drive down to the westernmost point of Kauai is well worth the reward, including gorgeous views and a tranquil setting that feels completely untouched by humans.
This isn’t a great spot to swim, however, as the beach is unprotected from the ocean with a severe shore break and rip currents that make swimming dangerous. Polihale is one of the best places to enjoy a walk along the sand – you can stroll for miles and miles before you have to turn around.
Kalapaki Beach is considered the best beach on Kauai’s east coast. This is the beachfront at the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club, with its beautiful half-moon of golden opening out to Nawiliwili Bay and the Hoary Head Mountains.
The quarter-mile long bay is partially protected by a jetty, making it safe for swimmers. The waves are good for surfing during a winter swell; windsurfing, bodysurfing and boogie boarding are popular here while surfing lessons, catamaran cruises, kayak tours and sailboat rentals are all available nearby.