Often referred to as “The Garden Isle” for it’s lush greenery and dramatic mountainscapes, Kauai is also home to some spectacular beaches that people from all walks of life can enjoy. Whether you are a stoked surfer, a vacationing family, or leisurely honeymooners, the abundant beaches on Kauai are everything you would expect on an idyllic Hawaiian getaway.
Here are a few of our favorite beaches all around the island. Each has it’s own individual character and charm, and depending on your taste you will definitely find one or two that stand out above the rest.
Ideal for snorkeling, this lagoon setting sits at the end of the Kuhio highway on the north shore. It’s been the setting for many hollywood movies over the years. It also marks the start of the Na Pali Coast, where a hiking trail takes you along one of the most scenic hiking routes found anywhere. Mornings are best here before the family crowds fill up the beach.
This massive bay winds around for miles, giving you plenty of space to find your own area to relax. This is the most famous surf break on the island, with massive waves out on the edge coming into the bay where beginners and kids can enjoy as well. There is a wave for all abilities somewhere in the bay. The pier is great for a signature sunset, as well as a popular spot for kids to jump from–just be careful that the waves aren’t pounding too hard.
This beach hosts a campground that is popular for both locals and tourists. Out in the water, a massive offshore reef protects swimmers from the high winter surf, allowing for a safe beach for swimming and snorkeling. It also is a popular area for kiteboarding, with several schools available to show you the ropes. In the summertime the sunsets over the water are some of the best anywhere.
Located just north of the central town of Kapa’a, this beach is a popular spot for locals to congregate after work. Surfers enjoy the waves that break nearly every day due to the easterly wind swell, but it’s not for beginners. However, a rocky outcropping protects the north side of the beach from larger waves, providing a good place for swimming and bodysurfing. Several pavilions and barbecue facilities also make for a great afternoon picnic, so bring the whole family along.
Shipwreck’s is one of the most famous waves on the island, especially in the summertime when the surf begins to pump. Located right next to the Grand Hyatt resort, it’s a great beach for watching some seriously talented surfers show off only a few yards from the shoreline. Afterward you can treat yourself to a fancy meal at the Hyatt.
Located on the far western side of the island, this beach is a popular destination for locals to camp out on the weekend. If you come here be sure to have a shade structure, as it’s on the dry side of the island and there are not many trees. For safe swimming go to the queen’s bath, or in the summer months you can enjoy lower swells on the sandy-bottom beach for some excellent ocean conditions. The views here are otherworldly at night with no city lights for miles.
This is one of the most spectacular beaches on the planet, period. Just getting there is half the fun, as the only way to get to Kalalau is an 11-mile hike. Once you get to the end of the trail you are treated with a 1-mile+ long white-sand beach with towering mountains coming straight out of the sea. It is also at the head of a lush, green valley that has an abundance of plants and waterfalls – pretty much the ideal tropical Hawaiian image.
So those are a few of our favorites. Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments some of your favorite beaches on Kauai and the surrounding islands!