Kauai Beaches

+ The Top 10 Beaches on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai

Best Kauai Beaches

Tunnels Beach - North Kauai

Best Beaches on Kauai

Kauai Beach Guide

Welcome to Kauai! Discover some of the best beaches of the world on this beautiful island. Access these Kauai's beaches either by trail, by helicopter, or solely by the sea. Regardless, all visitors will find these beaches available to them. One thing is sure, Kauai has the perfect beach for every type of beachgoer.

Kauai Beaches are known for their beauty and drama. Miles of white sand meet with crashing surf for dramatic effect, while other more protected areas offer calm, clear seas for swimming, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, and surfing. Kauai’s beaches and oceans are also graced by the presence of abundant marine wildlife, including dolphins, humpback whales, sea turtles, monk seals, and a veritable rainbow of tropical fish. Whether you are shelling, surfing, snorkeling, or simply relaxing, the Garden Isle has the perfect beach for you.

There are beaches full of drama with crashing waves, while others are calm and tranquil. Some Kauai beaches are lovely year-round, while others fade away in the winter months, leaving nothing but rocks behind. Grab your sunscreen and check out some of the best and most popular Kauai beaches here.

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This entry includes resources for Kauai's Top Beaches, including tips, advice, beach rankings, maps, and more.

Top Kauai Beaches Map

Kauai's Top Beaches - All on one map...

Updated with a new high-resolution map of Kauai. Includes each of Kauai's top beaches, all major routes, landmarks, and a key with colored icons for help selecting the perfect beach.

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Top 10 Kauai Beaches

Welcome to our online guide to Kauai's top beaches. Join us as we take you on a journey of discovery, find the best places to relax, swim, surf, snorkel, play in the sand, and enjoy Kauai's beautiful coastline.

You see, before posting it online, we started like you - planning a journey to a tropical paradise. We wanted to choose the very best beaches on Kauai to visit.

After years of exploring Kauai, we decided to compile a list of Kauai's best beaches along with some great tips and suggestions for people just like us. We hope it will prove helpful to those planning their trip to Kauai.

​Please look at our Top 10 Kauai Beaches to find out which ones you should visit first!

Hanalei Beach Park & Bay

North Kauai Region
#1 Rated Beach on Kauai

This is by far the best beach on the island on an average day. It's family-friendly, and the sand is pristine. At 125 ft. wide and with over two miles of sand along the crescent-shaped bay, the surroundings are superb, with views of the verdant mountains rising in the background. Hanalei Bay Beach is bordered by the Hanalei River to the east the Waipa River to the west, and there are two extensive coral reefs at both ends of the bay.

Known as the best beach on the North Shore, Hanalei Bay features a little of everything for those seeking ocean fun and diversity. The right side of the bay features a reef that creates ideal surfing conditions for those looking to catch some waves. Dip into more gentle waves near the pier, making it a perfect location for those new to the ocean or rookie wave riders.

beach_access Lifeguard
Yes
bathtub Facilities
Bathrooms & Showers
outdoor_grill Dining
Picnic Areas
zoom_out_map Size
125 ft. wide
multiple_stop Length
Two Miles Long
my_location Nearby
Hanalei Town
family_restroom Children
Great for Kids
pool Activities
Swimming
Sunbathing
Surfing
Body Boarding

Makua 'Tunnels' Beach

North Kauai Region
#2 Rated Beach on Kauai

Tunnels beach offers some of the best snorkeling anywhere in Hawaii during the calm summer months. The backdrop is similar to Hanalei Beach's; the mountains rising behind the beach are gorgeous. Discover the glorious collection of marine life here.

Surfers also will enjoy the outermost portions of the reef, where waves are more prominent. Tunnels Beach has one major downside- parking. But you can usually find parking at Haena Beach Park and then walk (to the right) to access Tunnels Beach.

beach_access Lifeguard
None
bathtub Facilities
Bathrooms & Showers nearby
pool Activities
Swimming
Sunbathing
Snorkeling
flash_on Hazards
Rougher surf in winter

Ke'e Beach

North Kauai Region
#3 Rated Beach on Kauai

Backed by majestic mountains and fringed with coconut palms, Ke'e Beach is the most spectacular beach on Kaua'i's North Shore. It is also one of the best places on the island for snorkeling. Revel the incredibly clear lagoon-like beach and see reef fish by the score.

Ride Highway 560 to arrive at the island's most famous North Shore beaches.

For more information on where to park, please take note of the new rules for the whole Haena State Park area (including Ke'e Beach access).

beach_access Lifeguard
Yes
bathtub Facilities
Bathrooms & Showers
outdoor_grill Dining
Picnic Areas
pool Activities
Swimming
Sunbathing
Snorkeling
Kayaking
Hikes

Po'ipu Beach

South Kauai Region
#4 Rated Beach on Kauai

Poipu Beach—the star of Kauai’s south shore—splits into two bays, one for novice snorkelers and children and the other for swimmers, surfers, and advanced snorkelers. Head to the sandbar separating the two sections for our animal lovers to witness the endangered monk seal.
Poipu Beach, a crescent-shaped strip of white sand dotted with palm trees backed by cliffs, stretches 50 feet wide and a thousand feet long.

Poipu Beach ultimately makes this list due to its diversity and popularity.

beach_access Lifeguard
Yes
bathtub Facilities
Bathrooms & Showers
outdoor_grill Dining
Picnic Areas Available
my_location Nearby
Poipu & Koloa
family_restroom Children
Great for Kids
pool Activities
Swimming
Sunbathing
Snorkeling
Body Boarding

Anini Beach

North Kauai Region
#5 Rated Beach on Kauai

Anini Beach's two miles of white sand make it one of the most protected beaches on Kauai's North Shore. At Anini, you'll find showers, restrooms, and camping (with a permit). Not to mention great swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, and windsurfing take center stage here. During the summer months, outdoor activities are plentiful.

beach_access Lifeguard
None
bathtub Facilities
Bathrooms & Showers
outdoor_grill Dining
Picnic Areas
family_restroom Children
Great for Kids
pool Activities
Swimming
Sunbathing
Snorkeling
Wind Surfing
hotel Camping
Allowed with permit

Polihale Beach

West Kauai Region
#6 Rated Beach on Kauai

Despite its remoteness, Polihale Beach is a must-see. It's a long, beautiful beach with a view of the NaPali cliffs. Polihale Beach is a long, secluded strip of sand. The final beach in the Napali Coast, it's guarded by the world’s tallest sea cliffs.

Driving here, you can't help but feel the excitement. The road is treacherous, and a military base occupies over seven miles of the beach, but the view of NaPali's ending cliffs makes it worth it. You might get less of a tropical island and more of a desert highway on your first trip to Polihale. On a bright sunny day, the flat stretch of Highway 50 between Highway 552 and Polihale Beach can resemble a scene that looks more suited to Arizona than Hawaii.

beach_access Lifeguard
None
bathtub Facilities
None
outdoor_grill Dining
Picnic Areas
hotel Camping
Available
multiple_stop Length
Over 12 miles long
flash_on Hazards
Dangerous for swimming
pool Activities
Sunbathing
Short Hikes

Shipwreck Beach

South Kauai Region
#7 Rated Beach on Kauai

Shipwreck Beach (often referred to as "Shipwrecks Beach") is a great place to catch some sun on a beautiful (and relatively quiet) beach, to hold a private and romantic ceremony, or to explore the surrounding terrain. Located in Poipu, this beach got its name from an old wooden ship sunk off the coast that has long since faded into the deep blue. The swimming at this beach is often far from ideal because of strong currents and high surf, but its raw, natural scenery, relative seclusion, and romantic atmosphere make up for the lack of good swimming.

From the east end of Shipwrecks Beach (far left when facing the ocean), a trail leads up to the top of the hill. The trail continues for several miles, following oceanfront cliff tops, skirting the golf course and stables, and finally delivering you at the near end of Maha Ulepu Beach. One of the beach's main highlights is its proximity to Makawehi Point, a lithified dune. These cliffs can additionally be a popular area for locals to fish.

beach_access Lifeguard
None
bathtub Facilities
Bathrooms & Shower
flash_on Hazards
Not great for swimming
my_location Nearby
Poipu
outdoor_grill Dining
Picnic Areas
pool Activities
Sunbathing
Surfing
Body Boarding
Short Hikes

Anahola Beach

East Kauai Region
#8 Rated Beach on Kauai

Anahola Beach is a 1/2-mile long curve of white sand tucked into the back of Anahola Bay. Multiple access points to Anahola Bay exist. The most common is at Anahola Beach Park on Anahola Road, where the restrooms, lifeguards, and campground are located.  

There is an excellent protected area for children to play and swim in the shallows at the far right end of the beach park, where the sand meets the rocks. Because of the bounding reef, this is one of the safest swimming places on Kauai.

beach_access Lifeguard
Yes
bathtub Facilities
Bathrooms & Showers
outdoor_grill Dining
Picnic Areas
multiple_stop Length
0.5 miles long
family_restroom Children
Excellent for Kids at far right end
pool Activities
Swimming
Sunbathing
Paddling
hotel Camping
Available with permit

Ha'ena Beach Park

North Kauai Region
#9 Rated Beach on Kauai

This beautiful, golden sand beach is popular for many reasons: Stunning views, plenty of water activities, camping, surfing, or simply lounging and relaxing are a great way to spend some time here- along Kauai's famed North Shore.

We said it's an excellent place for water activities, and it is. However, it can have hazardous swimming conditions, especially in the winter, so be aware of local needs and your abilities before hitting the water. Surfing can be first-class in the winter, but it's only for advanced surfers as the waves are very steep and fast, so most surfers here are Haena locals.

beach_access Lifeguard
Yes
bathtub Facilities
Bathrooms & Showers
outdoor_grill Dining
Picnic Areas
pool Activities
Swimming
Sunbathing
Surfing
Short Hikes
flash_on Hazards
Surf is dangerous in winter months

Lydgate Beach

East Kauai Region
#10 Rated Beach on Kauai

Lydgate Beach Park is one of the most family-friendly public places on the island of Kauai. The beach park has plenty of amenities, and one of the park's biggest highlights is the large, double-sectioned rock-enclosed pools. This enclosed pool allows for a nice dip without being exposed to the ocean's pull.

The smaller pool to the left is perfect for toddlers and even babies; the larger pool is excellent for children of all ages, and one can often see fish that swim in and out through the holes in the man-made rock walls.

Swimming outside the pools can be tricky, so be mindful before going in the water, even though a lifeguard tower is nearby. 

beach_access Lifeguard
Yes
bathtub Facilities
Bathrooms & Showers
outdoor_grill Dining
Picnic Areas
family_restroom Children
Great for Kids
pool Activities
Swimming
Sunbathing
Snorkeling
Short Hikes
Hikes

All Kauai Beaches

Categorized by Region

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North Kauai Beaches

South Kauai Beaches

East Kauai Beaches

Recommended Kauai Tours
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