The Absolute Best Beaches In Kauai, Hawaii

July 27, 2022

The following beaches are great for lone beachgoers, couples, and families, and they make the most of all that Kauai has to offer. There is something for everyone at each of these beaches.

Polihale Beach

The drive to Polihale Beach in Kauai, Hawaii is well worth it in order to see the breathtaking scenery that awaits you once you get there, despite the fact that it is more difficult to reach than some of the other beaches on the island. For the longest length of the beach in the state, you will need to take a rough gravel road that was formerly used to transport sugar cane. 

Polihale is a popular place for residents to go camping (although you need permission to do so), however, swimming is not recommended there owing to the strong current and the absence of lifeguard posts. Do not forget to pack an umbrella or a canopy for the lengthy beach, which lacks much shade. It is impossible to miss a stunning sunset from the NaPali Coast’s cliff-top perches, which are perched right close to the beach.

Hanalei Bay

The two kilometers of coastline that comprise Hanalei Bay on the north shore of Kauai have much to offer visitors of all ages and interests. The outer reef has waves that are bigger and better suited for experienced surfers, while the reef adjacent to the famed pier has waves that are smaller and more suited for beginners. 

The harbor provides access to the Hanalei River, which, during the more tranquil summer months, provides conditions that are perfect for paddling a kayak or stand-up paddleboarding ( Permits are required to camp at Black Pot Beach on the eastern edge of the bay. Originally used to transport sugarcane, the Hanalei Pier has subsequently become a historic site and a popular location for water sports.

Mahaulepu Beach

Those in search of excitement will find Mahaulepu Beach to be a veritable paradise since it comprises a magnificent stretch of undeveloped coastline along the coast. Even though it is privately held, the area is accessible to the general public every day from noon until six in the evening. 

Explore the peaceful tidepools and coves that are close to the coast by going on a hike along the Mahaulepu Beach Heritage Trail, which is located nearby. The high trade winds are often used by local kitesurfers. The region immediately around Mahaulepu is significant to Hawaiian history and is home to a number of native Hawaiian flora and animals that are on the verge of extinction. The Malama Mahaulepu group protects and preserves the beach, which is just a few kilometers from Poipu.

Shipwreck Beach

Shipwreck Beach in Kauai used to have a rowing boat that was damaged by hurricanes. On the south side of the island, it may be found just in front of Mahaulepu. Even if you are not a good swimmer, you may still enjoy beautiful sunsets and leisurely strolls down the beach. Parking, restrooms, and showers may be found next to the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

Ke’e Beach

Those who are going on the north coast of Kauai will eventually reach Ke’e Beach, which is the terminus of the route. In addition to that, it is the gateway to the well-known Na Pali Coast as well as the Kalalau Trail. Click here for more on the Kalalau Trail. It doesn’t matter how far away the beach is — when the sun is shining, it is always packed with people. If you want to avoid the crowd, the ideal time to go is early in the morning or late in the day to watch the sunset. 

Owing to Ke’e protected lagoon, snorkeling is at its best during the summer months; however, during the winter months, the water may get choppy due to the increased wave activity. As a result of the high volume of hikers who start their journeys here and park their automobiles, parking in this lot may be difficult during peak season.

Kalapaki Beach

Kalapaki is 2 miles from Lihue Airport and near a Kauai Marriott Island Resort. Swimming and stand-up paddleboarding are both excellent activities here due to the presence of a sandbar and the calm seas. The beach is encircled by a wide variety of hotels and restaurants, making it possible to find lodging nearby for the duration of a whole day’s worth of activities. 

Surfing classes, beach volleyball, and relaxing in the sun are all activities that are highly popular in this area. The nearby Nawiliwili Harbor provides excellent vantage points for watching cruise ships arrive and depart. Since it’s in a developed neighborhood, parking might be restricted; the best choice is to park at the Marriott and walk down.

Anini Beach Park

About a mile and a half in length, Anini Beach is home to one of the longest reefs in all of Hawaii. Since then, Anini has been preserved as a tranquil and safe haven. It is less congested than Hanalei and has bathrooms, showers, tables and chairs, a boat launch, and campsites. 

The waters of this particular body of water are often fairly tranquil, particularly during the warm summer months when the residents like to go camping and have barbecues along the beach. Outside of the protection of the reef, the waves and currents are both much more intense. At Anini, you may often see windsurfers perfecting their trade, and some firms even provide instruction to novice riders as part of their services.


The beach in Kalalau is breathtaking, but getting there may be challenging, because of its remote location. It is situated at the conclusion of the Kalalau Trail, which is a well-known and infamously difficult 11-mile journey that passes through rolling valleys and waterfalls. 

Some of the best things about Kalalau Beach are its hidden coves, its seemingly limitless lengths of fine sand, and the once-in-a-lifetime experience that may be had there. Though the sea may look quiet, the currents are treacherous, therefore many advise against swimming here. Camping is only allowed with  permission, and it is not uncommon for the places to be taken up a whole year in advance.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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