Kauai is a lush tropical paradise, plain and simple. They call it the Garden Isle because every square inch of the island is alive. It has the only navigable rivers in the state and the central volcano that created the island is the rainiest place on earth.
The Garden Island is the oldest island in Hawaii. For tens of thousands of years, waves have battered the volcanic coast to create beautiful beaches. Kauai has the most beaches per mile of coastline in the entire state of Hawaii. And while you can’t go wrong at any beach on Kauai, there are some gems that are beloved by the locals.
Ke’e Beach Is The Best For An Amazing Sunset
Ke’e Beach is one of the best beaches in Kauai and the drive there is half the fun. You have to drive the long, windy road that hugs the northern coast and travels over a handful of one-way bridges. You’ll pass beautiful Hanalei Bay and river-filled cave tunnels while the island grows greener and greener. When the road ends, you are at your destination. There is a small parking lot and it fills up quickly so get here early in the morning. Don’t park on the street leading up to the parking lot or you’re sure to get a ticket.
Ke’e Beach is the last beach before the roaring Nepali coast. The beach butts up right against the first cathedral cliff of the Nepali coast where the 13-mile Kalalau trail begins. There is great snorkeling at the beach as the waves crash on a shallow reef about 75 yards off the sand. The entire length of the beach is dotted with trees and roots are exposed towards the ocean. There is plenty of shade and you will always find a local cutting up fresh coconuts to drink. Stay here for the sunset and you will not be disappointed.
Lawai Beach Is Tops For The Best Snorkeling
You can find Lawai Beach on the southern end of the island. It is a small strip of sand right next to the Beach House Restaurant. There is a little strip of parking on the inland side of the road while the ocean side of the road dips right into the water during high tide. This is one of the less popular beaches on the south side because of its demure size, but it is packed full of tropical fish making it great for snorkeling. So grab your gear, head down to Lawai Beach and avoid the crowds while having the best snorkeling experience on the island.
Polihale Beach – A True Exploratory Beach
Polihale translates to the house of the dead. The ancient Hawaiians believed your soul left the planet through this West Coast beach. You’ll have to drive to the end of the road on the southern side of the island to the very southern edge of the Nepali coast. The end of the drive includes a rough ride on unpaved roads but your rental car is sure to be able to handle it.
This is the longest uninterrupted beach in the state. It’s a place where you can catch a glimpse of spinner dolphins playing with humpback whales during whale season. This side of the island is incredibly dry and the entire beach is dotted with covered picnic areas. Be sure to stop in Waimea to pick up a picnic meal before heading out to the beach. You can sleep overnight on the beach but be careful where you set up camp because the locals like to drive on the sand.
Lydgate Beach Park for The Whole Family
Lydgate Beach Park is on the coconut coast near Kapaa. It’s not the most beautiful beach on the island but it is perfectly suited for families. Massive rocks have been craned in to create a calm kids pool. The keiki pool remains relatively calm even when the ocean is raging. And you don’t have to worry about any ocean critters getting in the kids pool, either. It’s also a great place to practice your snorkeling skills.
Queen’s Bath Is The Most Unique Beach In Kauai
Queens Bath is a poorly kept locals secret on Kauai. The short trailhead, which gets very slick when wet, is hidden inside a North Shore neighborhood and you’ll have to ask somebody directions. Once you get down to the lava shelf, take a left and keep walking until you see a group of people. An Olympic-sized swimming pool has been naturally carved into the lava shelf while waves throw fish into the pool during high tide. Be very careful before getting into the pool as it is extremely dangerous during high tide or high swells. Tourists have been dragged out to sea at this incredibly beautiful spot because they swam at the wrong time. If waves are crashing into the pool, stay out, and always keep an eye out for rogue waves.