Let’s be honest, Kauai has gorgeous beaches everywhere you turn. With crystal clear water and soft white sand, it’s truly paradise. I’ve been visiting for Kauai for years now and have seen my fair share of beaches. On my most recent trip there, I spent most of my days relaxing by the beach and trying to get as tan as possible. I found some incredible beaches that I had never been to before and they made my trip unforgettable.
If you’re heading to Kauai soon, be sure to check out these beaches!
Hanalei has always been one of my all-time favorites. With the extremely calm waters, it’s the perfect place to take a dip, work on your tan, and play some beach frisbee (which we did for about 2 hours). One of my favorite things to do at Hanalei is jumping off the pier but in April of last year, a devastating storm hit the island and wiped out most of the homes and pier of Hanalei. While visiting in September, months later, you weren’t even allowed to drive over to the area. When we talked to some locals, they said that storm repair was supposed to be finished in October but they weren’t expecting anything until next spring. Regardless, it’s still a wonderful spot to spend your afternoon.
Also known as Kauapea Beach to the locals, Secret Beach is exactly what the name suggests: a secret. This 3,000-foot long beach is known for its scenery and privacy. Located between Kalihiwai Bay and Kilauea Point, this beach isn’t the easiest to access. Once you find the trailhead (which is not marked), you’ll find a steep trail that you have to take in order to get to this spot. We went during a pretty wet spell and although it was a bit muddy, I went in birkenstocks and had no problems at all. If it’s been raining pretty hard, it can be slippery so be careful! But once you’re down there, it’s worth it.
Ever wanted to see a sea turtle? Well, Poipu Beach is the place for you. Every single time I’ve gone to Poipu, I’ve seen sea turtles. If you want to get up early and go at sunrise, you’ll likely see 5-10 turtles resting on the beach. This last time we visited, we were there at around 2 in the afternoon and there was one sleeping peacefully on the shore. It helps that it’s also located on the south shore which tends to be the sunniest. So if you’re looking to avoid some rain, head south.
Though we didn’t visit Anini on our last trip, it’s one of the best beaches for snorkeling. It’s a long stretch of sand protected by a long stretch of reef, making it one of Kauai’s most protected beaches. There are 2 miles of sandy shore so it’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy your vacation.
Speaking of great spots for snorkeling, Hideaway Beach is another great option. Located on the north shore of the island, right next to the St. Regis hotel. It gets its name from the fact that it is another beach that is quite hard to find. There is a parking lot (that consists of only about 6 spots) right next to the Pali Ke Kua Condos where you will park and head back to a very steep path. Again, practice caution when going down as it can be very slippery if the weather has been poor. There are ropes for you to hold onto on your way down which makes things much easier. My advice is to get there early because the parking spots fill up very quickly.
Lae Nani Beach
If you don’t feel like driving up to the north shore or you want some nicer weather, another great spot is Lae Nani Beach in Kapaa. We stumbled upon this tiny little coast when we were staying at Kauai Shores Hotel. Although it’s small, it has some of the best shorelines we came across. It was never busy when we went and it’s a super fun spot to play in the waves
This is by far my favorite “beach” on the list. It’s not quite a beach. It’s more of a natural pool. But it’s one of the coolest spots I’ve been to, despite it being quite controversial with the locals. It’s a 15-minute steep hike where you will experience a waterfall and a landscape of lava rock. This one I chose to wear tennis shoes too and it was EXTREMELY muddy from all of the rain that we experienced days before. My legs were covered in mud so if you brave it after a rain shower, don’t wear clothing you like too much. When you reach the bottom of the trail, take a left and head down the lava rocks. Soon enough you’ll reach a small cove where you can cliff jump, snorkel, and swim.
Warning: Queen’s Bath can be very dangerous. Because it’s attached to the ocean, the swells can get very large and currents can be very strong so proceed with caution. Many locals will advise you don’t visit at all so consider yourself warned! I’ve been told from October to May, the waves can get huge which can sweep you out to sea. You have to check the wave height before you go. Anything under 5-6 feet is pretty safe. Anything over can get dangerous. We went at about 9 AM and didn’t experience any huge swells. In fact, it was very calm (as you can see in these photos). This is another one where you will want to get there early because the parking lot does tend to fill up quickly.
Be sure to check out my favorite Kauai excursions here.
PS, I made a short little Kauai travel video. Check it out here!
Are there any beaches that you love in Kauai that I may have missed? I’d love suggestions because I’m sure I will be visiting again in the future..