10 Best Swimming Beaches in Kauai
Kauai is one of Hawaii’s most popular tourist destinations, and it’s no wonder why. The island is beautiful, and there are many things to see and do. One of the main reasons people come to Kauai is to enjoy the fantastic beaches.
The Island of Kauai has some of the best beaches in Hawaii. However, not all of Kauai’s beaches are swimmable. The water can be rough, and the currents can be intense.
Some of the beaches also have dangerous waves and rip currents. So, if you’re searching for the finest swimming beaches on Kauai, here are a few to consider…
Regions of Kauai
Kauai is divided into four regions: the North Shore, South Shore, East Shore, and West Shore.
- The North Shore is known for its dramatic cliffs and lush rainforests.
- The South Shore is home to Poipu Beach, one of Hawaii’s most popular tourist destinations.
- The East Shore is wild and remote, with a rugged coastline and tropical forests.
- And the West Shore offers stunning views of the Napali Coast and the Kalalau Trail, one of Hawaii’s most popular hiking trails.
Staying up-to-date with travel restrictions can be a hassle, but ensuring a safe and enjoyable trip is essential. Following the Hawai’i State Department of Health website is easy to keep on top of travel restrictions.
The website provides information on the latest travel restrictions for the state of Hawai’i and updates on any possible changes. In addition, the website offers tips on how to stay safe while traveling and advice on what to do if you become sick while on vacation.
By following the Hawai’i State Department of Health website, you can be sure that you are getting the most accurate and up-to-date information on travel restrictions.
As an Amazon Associate and Booking affiliate, LoveForTraveling.com earns from qualifying purchases. We may receive a commission for purchases made via our links.
North Shore of Kauai
The North Shore of Kauai is an area that is best avoided during the winter months. This is because the swells and currents are at their peak. While this may be great for surfers who love that thing, most others should just stay clear.
This is because the waves and currents can be hazardous during this time. So, if you are not a surfer or experienced in handling these conditions, staying away from the North Shore during the winter is best.
1) Anini Beach
Anini Beach is one of the most popular beaches on Kauai’s North Shore. The gorgeous white sand, excellent surf, and private stretch of coast make it a top choice for celebrities and locals alike.
Although it can be crowded, there are still some hidden spots where you can find solitude. The best way to find a quiet location on Anini is to walk to the east end of the beach. The coral reef provides a natural barrier from the waves, making the water much calmer.
Though there is no lifeguard on duty, the beach is still considered one of the safer options during the summer months. The deep, transparent water makes it tempting to venture into the open ocean.
However, it is always best to exercise caution and stay close to shore. If you’re looking for a place to relax and enjoy the breathtaking views, Anini Beach is sure to please you. If you’re feeling more adventurous, plenty of activities keep you entertained.
This is an excellent spot for swimming or snorkeling. If you’re looking for even more peace, a small path leads to a secluded cove. This hidden gem is sheltered from the wind and has beautiful coastline views.
2) Hanalei Bay Beach
Hanalei beach is one of the most America’s best beaches. With its turquoise water and golden sand, the bay is simply stunning. Hanalei is also a great place to enjoy all sorts of water sports.
From kayaking to surfing, there’s something for everyone. And the best part is that all of this is set against the majestic Green Mountains.
After your stay, you will see why Hanalei Bay is frequently regarded as one of the finest beaches in the United States.
The bay is large and open, with plenty of space for swimming, sailing, and paddleboarding. The summer brings relatively calm conditions, while the winter brings more giant surfing waves.
There are several lifeguard stations around the bay, so it’s always a good idea to check in with the local lifeguard about the current conditions. Hanalei Bay is a perfect place to spend a day in the sun, whether you’re looking to relax on the beach or catch some waves.
3) Ke’e Beach
ke’e beach is located at the end of Highway 560 and is a half-moon-shaped beach with a vast shoreline. The beach is known for its clear water and abundant sea life, making it a popular spot for snorkeling and swimming.
Visitors can also enjoy picnicking and sunbathing on the sandy shores. Kee Beach is one of the most popular beaches on Kauai so that it can be crowded during peak times. However, the breathtaking views and stunning sunsets are worth the effort to find a spot in this Hawaiian gem.
The water is generally calm, making it an excellent place for families to play. And there’s always the chance of seeing a sea turtle or two! Kee Beach is also known for its stunning sunsets.
Ke’e Beach is one of the most popular Kauai wedding beaches for a good reason: its turquoise blue waters, white sand, and lush mountain backdrop make it an extraordinary place to stay.
And, with a large grassy area behind the Beach, Ke’e is also an excellent spot for post-ceremony gatherings and photos with your guests. If you’re looking for a Kauai beach that has it all, Ke’e should be at the top of your list.
4) Lumahai Beach
Lumahai Beach is one of the most popular beaches on Kauai’s North Shore. The wide, white sandy beach is almost a mile long and 300 feet wide, with plenty of room for everyone.
Abundant trees provide a beautiful green backdrop, as well as shade. The crystal clear waters are perfect for swimming, boating, and stand-up paddleboarding.
However, the beach is also known for its dangerous strong currents. The rip currents at Lumahai Beach are caused by the giant waves that break on the shallow reef offshore.
These waves create a powerful current that can quickly sweep swimmers out to sea. The rip currents at Lumahai Beach are hazardous during winter when the waves are larger and more powerful. If visiting Lumahai Beach, check with lifeguards for current conditions before entering the water.
One of the most popular areas of the beach is at the mouth of the Lumahai River, where visitors can wade in the calm water or use the rope swing.
5) Tunnels beach
Kauai’s Tunnels Beach is truly a snorkeler’s paradise. The rock cliffs, stunning views, and coral reef abound with marine life, making it a haven for adventure seekers who enjoy camping, hiking, and exploring caves.
The best time to visit is when the water is calm and clear in the summer. Be sure to bring plenty of sunscreens, as there is little shade on the beach. There are also several options for renting equipment to explore the reef to your heart’s content.
Tunnels Beach refers to the lava tubes that run through the reef and into the ocean. These lava formations create a unique and beautiful landscape that is perfect for exploring.
The coral reef comes right up to the shore, so you can enjoy the underwater world without swimming too far. And there’s plenty to see, with sea turtles often swimming along the reef or resting in small caves. You might even see a turtle up close if you’re lucky!
Kauai’s Eastside is known as the Coconut Coast, a nod to the island’s early economy. Most islanders live on this site, making transportation cheaper and more accessible. The east side is home to Wailua River State Park, Opaekaa Falls, and Rainbow Falls.
- Kauai Visitors Bureau recommends going to the east side to experience an “authentic” Kauai.
- You’ll find Family-owned businesses, quiet neighborhoods, and traditional Hawaiian culture.
- The Eastside is known for its calm waters, ideal for swimming, stand-up paddle boarding, canoeing, and kayaking.
6) Lydgate Beach Park
Lydgate Beach Park is one of the top beaches on the island due mainly to its convenient location. The beach features two protected pools, one shallow and one deep, which are perfect for children and adults.
Visitors are strongly encouraged to stay within the pools, as the outside waters can be dangerous. Lifeguards are on duty at all times to ensure that everyone remains safe.
In addition to its pristine pools, Lydgate Beach Park also offers a variety of amenities, such as changing rooms, showers, and a snack bar. Whether you’re looking to take a dip or simply relax in the sun, Lydgate Beach Park is the perfect place to spend a day.
Lydgate Beach Park is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a fun and family-friendly beach experience. The facilities include picnic areas, Kamalani Playground, and the 2.5-mile paved coastal path. This is an excellent choice for the whole family, so if you’re in the area, check it out!
7) Kalapaki Beach
Kalapaki Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on Kauai. It is located in the town of Lihue and offers many amenities, including restaurants, bars, shops, and hotels.
The waves here are generally shallow, which makes them great for swimming. Beautiful mountains also surround Kalapaki Beach, with an accessible access beach and grassy area.
Paddleboarding is also popular at Kalapaki Beach. The calm water makes it a great place to paddleboard, and the stunning views of the coastline are a bonus.
If you’re looking to relax, Kalapaki Beach is the perfect place to do it. The beach is well-known for its beautiful sunsets, so stick around for one of those! You can also walk along the coast, build sandcastles with the kids, or simply soak up the sun.
This makes it a great place to enjoy some relaxing beach time. If you’re looking for a fun and convenient place to spend a day at the beach, Kalapaki Beach is the perfect spot.
8) Kealia Beach
Kealia Beach is located on the island’s east side and is a great place to surf, bodyboard, and swim. However, the ocean conditions at Kealia Beach can be dangerous.
In winter, the waves and currents are strong. The beach does not have a reef to protect it from high swells. As a result, swimming is not recommended when the surf is up.
Surfers and bodyboarders often gather at the beach’s northern end, where the waves are better. Kealia Beach is a great place to enjoy the ocean, but it is essential to be aware of the dangers of rough conditions.
The northern portion of the beach was formerly used by interisland steamships that brought supplies to plantations. The remains of the pier, formerly known as Kealia Landing, are still visible.
This area is best for swimmers or novice bodyboarders because a breakwater makes for slightly more protected waters. Surfers should make their way to the northern end to avail themselves of the great waves.
If it’s swimming, you’re after, the north end also contains a ruined jetty which provides some protection from the more substantial swells. Further south, the beach widens and becomes perfect for picnics and sunbathing.
This is also an excellent spot for families with small children, as the water here is shallow and calm.
South Shore of Kauai
The south shore of Kauai is often referred to as the island’s sunny side. This is because most of the shoreline faces the east, making it perfect for catching those early morning rays.
The south shore is also home to the resort area of Poipu. Here you’ll find plenty of beaches to relax on and historic Old Koloa Town. Old Koloa Town is great for learning about Kauai’s rich history and culture. Make sure to stop by one of the many shops or restaurants there!
9) Poipu Beach Park
According to Travel US News, Poipu Beach Park is one of the best beaches in America. It’s located in the Poipu resort area, which is a bit more expensive than other beaches.
But you get what you pay for; the beach is beautiful, with shallow water perfect for snorkeling. And plenty of shopping, dining, and golf options are nearby if you need a break from the sun. Poipu Beach Park should be on your list if you’re looking for a safe, family-friendly beach vacation spot.
Poipu Beach Park is one of the best places on Kauai to see humpback whales. From December to May, these massive creatures can be seen breaching and spouting offshore.
If you want a closer look, you can join a whale-watching tour. Just be sure to obey the rules set by the Monk Seal Watch program.
These endangered animals are often hauled out on the beach, and the lifeguards are there to ensure they’re safe from disturbance. So please give them space and enjoy the show from a distance.
West Side of Kauai
The west side of Kauai is a beautiful and historic part of the island. Captain Cook, the first European to set foot in Hawaii, landed here in 1778, and the area has been popular with visitors ever since.
The west side is separated from the North Shore by the Napali Coast, which is worth a visit in its own right. The west side is generally drier than the rest of the island, so flora and fauna here differ.
Many small towns in the west, each with a unique charm. And, of course, there are also plenty of historical sites to explore. Check out the west side if you want a genuinely memorable Kauai experience.
10) Salt Pond Beach Park
Salt Pond Beach Park is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a bit of sun and surf. The reef protects the shoreline, making it safe for swimming, but you should be aware that the conditions can vary depending on the season.
September is the hottest month, and there isn’t much in the way of shading, so if you’re visiting, make sure to bring your beach umbrella.
The park has all the amenities you need for a day at the beach, including toilets, showers, and picnic areas. Plus, there are lifeguards on duty to keep everyone safe.