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Best Beaches on Kauai

Best Beaches on Kauai

Sleepy Kauai is the antithesis of bustling Oahu. The island’s laid-back surfer vibe, lush interior jungles, and uncrowded beaches make for the peaceful retreat most visitors anticipate on their Hawaii vacation. Looking for a good spot to stretch out on the sand? Here’s a list of Kauai’s best beaches.

Hanalei Bay

The gorgeous curve of Hanalei Bay on the island’s North Shore has two unobstructed miles (3.2 kilometers) of golden sand. Four beach parks along this stretch provide water access, amenities such as showers and lifeguards, and varying ocean conditions. Be sure to walk down Hanalei Pier and take in the panorama, or try out a surf lesson. If you already know how to surf (or enjoy watching those who do) you’ll find expert waves at Wai’oli (Pine Trees) Beach Park.

Waikoko Beach

Just around the western edge of Hanalei Bay and past Makahoa Point, you’ll find Waikoko Beach. Stop there for excellent snorkeling; there are also beginner surf breaks great for boogie boarding.

Makua Beach (Tunnels Beach)

Further west along Kauai’s North Shore is Makua Beach, also known as Tunnels Beach. Edged out in the west by the start of the wild, green Na Pali Coast, Tunnels is a golden sand beach with coral reef just offshore. It’s reportedly called Tunnels for both the underwater caverns that make it such an interesting snorkeling spot and the barrel waves seen in winter.

Ke’e Beach

Popular with hikers fresh off the Kalalau Trail, the historically spiritual Ke’e Beach has attracted Hawaiians coming to practice hula for years. It continues to be a great place to catch gorgeous sunsets.

Anini Beach

Though the white sand strip at Anini Beach is relatively narrow, it’s one of Kauai’s calmest ocean entries for swimming in summer. The beach park, east of Hanalei, is usually less crowded than other North Shore spots and boasts restrooms, picnic tables, shady trees, and campsites.

Poipu Beach Park

Not all of Kauai’s best beaches are on the North Shore. The golden arches of Poipu Beach Park, on the island’s South Shore, has been dubbed America’s best beach by the Travel Channel. A sandbar divides the beach in two parts, and both sides are close to many of Kauai’s best resorts and great for year-round swimming.

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8 Tours and Activities

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Ni'ihau and Na Pali Coast Snorkel Boat Tour
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Ni'ihau and Na Pali Coast Snorkel Boat Tour

star-4.5
215
Go big or go home on one of the most ambitious tours Kauai has to offer—a 60-mile ocean adventure up the Napali Coast and across the Kaulakahi Channel to Lehua Crater and the “Forbidden Island” of Ni’ihau. We’ll experience Kauai’s sacred and breathtaking northwest coast and then head offshore into the deeper and more remote waters of Lehua and Ni’ihau where there are superior wildlife viewing opportunities and world-class snorkeling conditions. Snorkeling gear and instruction are provided, and our sleek and comfortable Kauai-built 65’ power catamaran is the vessel to take you and your loved ones there and back safely and in style. Breakfast, lunch, and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) are included in this beautiful, exciting, informative, and valuable 7-hour ocean experience that’s very likely to become the highlight of your visit to Kauai.
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  • 7 hours
From
$308.11
From
$308.11

Na Pali Sunset & Sightsee Boat Tour
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Na Pali Sunset & Sightsee Boat Tour

star-4.5
647
Find a sunset state of mind, cruising in comfort along the Napali Coast, one of Hawaii’s most stunning and humbling landscapes. Come aboard our clean, sleek 65’ Kauai-built power catamaran and let us hand you a beverage (craft beer, wine, Koloa Rum Ginger Mai Tai, juice, soda) to sip and enjoy as we cruise north and west, keeping our eyes peeled for wildlife such as spinner dolphins, green sea turtles and, seasonally (December-April), humpback whales. Oooh and Aaah the afternoon away as we travel along Kauai’s most sacred coast, witnessing her unthinkable beauty and learning about this historical area that was once home to tens of thousands of people. We’ll stop somewhere amazing to serve you a delicious meal, and we’ll raise a toast as the sun falls below the horizon and another night begins. Treat yourselves to the best, and come cruise with us.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
From
$194.59
From
$194.59

Kauai Learn to Surf GROUP for 2/Private for 3/Private for 4 (your own people)
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Kauai Learn to Surf GROUP for 2/Private for 3/Private for 4 (your own people)

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80
Learn to surf Kauai’s famous waves with this 2-hour surf lesson on the shores of beautiful Hanalei Bay. Your instructor, a local surfing expert, will teach you fundamentals of paddling, reading the waves and standing up. It’s a great introduction to surfing for beginners, and group size limited to four people to ensure a personalized experience. Toward the end of your lesson, enjoy free time in the mellow waters of Hanalei Bay to practice your new surf skills.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$94.24
Price varies by group size
From
$94.24
Price varies by group size

Kauai: Hawaii Movie Tours
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Kauai: Hawaii Movie Tours

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27
See the Garden Island through a filmmaker’s lens on this full-day tour of Kauai’s most famous movie locations. Travel aboard a comfortable minibus to the beaches, towns, waterfalls and lookout points that you may recognize from movies like ‘Blue Hawaii,’ ‘Tropic Thunder,’ ‘Pirates of the Caribbean,’ ‘Castaway’ and ‘Jurassic Park.’ Watch clips on board the bus, and then compare the Hollywood scenes to the breathtaking beauty right before your eyes.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$149.00
From
$149.00

Private Luxury Tour of Kauai: North & East Shores

Private Luxury Tour of Kauai: North & East Shores

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36
Make the most of your time on Kauai with a private tour tailored to suit your interests. Select from an East and North Shore itinerary or a tour of the island’s West and South Shores. Your private guide takes you to numerous local highlights, including charming towns, the best beaches, secluded waterfalls, and other natural attractions.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$334.68
From
$334.68

Hanalei River Paddle and Bay - Snorkel Tour in Kapa'a, Hawaii

Hanalei River Paddle and Bay - Snorkel Tour in Kapa'a, Hawaii

star-4.5
104
Explore the tropical waters of the Hanalei River and Hanalei Bay on this guided kayak and snorkeling tour. Paddle through the lush tropical surroundings as you make your way down the Hanalei River out into the open Hanalei Bay, where you can glimpse the famous cliffs of Makana Peak (also known as Bali Hai). Snorkel through the marvelous underwater world of the Bay Reef Lagoon, home to sea turtles and brightly colored tropical fish.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$139.00
From
$139.00

Private Kauai North Shore Tour

Private Kauai North Shore Tour

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30
Discover Kauai’s highlights and hidden gems on a full-day private tour that offer a personal glimpse of the island’s local culture and history. Navigate the Garden Isle in a private minivan, and feel the mist from a pair of beautiful waterfalls. Look out to sea from the Kilauea Lighthouse and Hanalei Bay, and watch for whales and endangered geese at a wildlife refuge. Visit Kauai hidden beaches and ancient sites and learn about Kauai's history and local culture along the way.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$275.00
Price varies by group size
From
$275.00
Price varies by group size

Kauai Yoga on the Beach

Kauai Yoga on the Beach

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17
Invigorate your mind and body with a 1.5-hour beach yoga session in Kauai. Practice right on the sand of glorious Kapaa beach with a friendly, certified instructor, letting the gentle ocean waves and balmy island air inspire guided breathing and stretching. Conclude this morning class with a brief meditation for perfect balance. Namaste.
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  • 1 hour
From
$30.00
From
$30.00