We often look back on our trip to Kauai as one of the best vacations we’ve ever taken. A big reason we enjoyed the Hawaiian Garden Isle so much is due to its beautiful beaches. Here are 5 of the best beaches in Kauai that we enjoyed on our trip.
The beaches in Kauai are some of the most beautiful in the world! After hiking the Kalalau Trail along the stunning Na Pali coast, we trekked back to our car, got our “swimmies” and snorkeling gear, changed in the nearby restrooms and headed down to Ke’e Beach.
We rented our snorkel gear from Pedal n Paddle in Hanalei. Even though we had the gear for over 24 hours, we only got charged for one day ($10)!
The clouds had started to roll in and it wasn’t as sunny as it was earlier in the day. This meant it was a little cooler outside and the water was freezing!
(Come to find out, the GoPro2 apparently doesn’t take great underwater photos! We have since upgraded to the GoPro Hero 3.)
I was going to muster everything I had to get in that water! I didn’t come all the way to Kauai to sit on the beach! However, this time, it may have been better had I stayed on the beach! The water was way too cold and my snorkel mask kept fogging up! I wasn’t really having much fun, but decided to keep going with it, hoping it would get better. It didn’t, so we decided to go in and try another day.
The following day, we headed to Tunnels Beach and our only goal for the day was to snorkel with turtles! That’s why everyone comes to Hawaii, right?! Well, that, and the absolutely beautiful scenery.
Parking is extremely limited at Tunnels and we didn’t even know exactly where it was located from the road, so we ended up parking at Haena Beach Park (pictured above) and walking along the beach until we arrived at Tunnels.
The sand was rather hot and difficult to walk in, but we made it! We set down our stuff, put on our snorkel gear and got right into the ocean.
The sun was shining and the water temperature was so much nicer than yesterday! I could already tell it was going to be a much better snorkeling experience.
The reefs are right off shore, so we immediately saw lots of colorful fish. It also got pretty deep pretty quickly, so I started to have a little bit of anxiety, but Sam held my hand the whole time.
I wish the movie Jaws had never been made and I wish our helicopter pilot hadn’t pointed out the beach where Bethany Hamilton had her arm bitten off by a shark. I will never be able to relax in the water and just enjoy the sights without thinking a shark is going to pop out of nowhere! At any rate, the reef was incredible and so full of sea life, easily making this one of the best beaches in Kauai!
My mask continued to fog up every now and again, but certainly not as bad as yesterday; I simply rinsed it out and kept going. At one point, I even plugged my nose (with the mask on) and it helped, so I was breathing though my nose too much. Lesson learned! Maybe next time, I’ll put a nose plug on under my mask!
After a few minutes of enjoying the colorful variety of fish, we spotted our first turtle! Sam spooked him a little trying to get too close too quickly and he darted off. We immediately saw another turtle, who looked as big and old as Crush (Finding Nemo reference). We then spotted 3 other turtles! We had hit the mecca of the turtle sanctuary!
(Again, GoPro2s don’t take amazing underwater photos with the stock case, which surprised us, but at least we have proofs that we swam with turtles “honus” in Hawaii!)
It was absolutely incredible to swim with the turtles… our mission for the day had been accomplished! I told Sam that I was done snorkeling for the week, since nothing would top that experience!
I saw that a Hawaiian monk seal had come up on the beach, so I walked over to check him (or her) out!
Spouting Horn is a place along the south shore where ocean waves erupt through the lava rocks like water coming out of the blowhole of a whale.
Our GPS got us lost on the way to Spouting Horn, as it tried taking us down a road that didn’t exist. We looked at a map, saw that there was a botanical gardens right next to Spouting Horn Park and navigated to there; that did the trick!
Nukumoi Point at Poipu Beach Park
It was getting to be high tide when we arrived, so there wasn’t much sea life in the tide pools. It was still neat to see the pools of water in the lava rocks and there was a really cool sandbar that we had to walk across to get to the rocks, so it wasn’t a complete bummer.
There was another beach with tide pools we were going to check out, so we thought maybe we’d have better luck there. Little did we know, we’d have to drive down a pot-hole-filled 2.5 mile dirt road to get there. Although it was only 2.5 miles, it took us 25 minutes to get to the beach because of the condition of the road.
At first, I wanted to turn back. I thought it was too risky and I didn’t want to chance having something happen to our rental car, but I am soooo glad we didn’t. It ended up being one of the most beautiful places on the island! We parked in the first parking lot we came to.
We followed a little tree-lined trail out to a mostly deserted beach.
(I guess not a lot of people decide to commit to the treacherous drive to get here)!
It was pretty windy out on the beach, so we decided to head back and see what else we could find. We drove the car a little down another road leading off the parking lot and hit a gold mine!
There was a trail that ran along the coast, passing cliffs and rocks leading to the crystal clear water below. To read more about our hike along the coast, click here.
Our final stop before heading to the airport was Lydgate Park in Wailua.
We briefly walked along the driftwood covered beach. It was a little too windy, so we walked back to the convertible, put the top down and watched the ocean waves until it was time to turn in our rental car.
Where is the most beautiful beach you have ever been? Tell us, so we can put it on our list of places to visit!
Need help planning your own trip to the Garden Isle? For less than a buck ($1 USD), you can download our printable 4-page Kauai Destination Guide that includes information on: Transportation | Best Time to Visit | Weather | Recommended Lodgings and Restaurants | Suggested Activities Based on Interest | Money Saving Tips | Kauai Facts | Sample 7-Day Itinerary