Kauai is known as the island of discovery and for good reason.  The natural beauty of the island provides endless ways to play.  From rugged mountains to bountiful rainforests and palm tree-lined beaches, the outdoor exploration available is exceptional.  Hiking is a top thing to do in Kauai and some of the most memorable are swimming hikes.  Intrigued?  Read on.

1) Moloaa Bay Coastal Trail

An easy 1.5 miles round trip, the Moloaa Bay hike is perfect for visitors who simply want to explore Kauai’s scenery. Starting an ending on Moloaa Bay, located on northeastern Kauai, the trail begins at the north end and traverses along the coast toward nearby Larson’s Beach. Along the way, you’ll enjoy beautiful ocean views and in the winter months humpback whales can be seen. A fun fact about this bay is Gilligan’s Island filmed some of its episodes here. Fantastic swimming and snorkeling at Moloaa complement the hike.

Moloaa Bay, Image via Avi / flickr

2) Waipoo Falls Trail

This western Kauai hike is one of the island’s best.  The 3.6 mile round trip hike leads you to the two-tiered, 800-foot waterfall known as Waipoo Falls.  Plus, the trail ends at the top of the waterfall along a stream that you can splash and swim in to cool off from your hike.  To find this trail, follow Hwy 550 and along Halemanu Road for .75 miles until you see a trailhead.  Spectacular views of Waipoo Falls are available at the beginning of the hike, where you can get some great photos.  This hike is considered moderate due to the terrain. 

The trail ends at the top Waipoo Falls in Waimea Canyon.

3) Kalalau Trail

Perhaps Kauai’s most famous hike, this northern trail follows the rugged Na Pali Coast and there are several options available.  You can make this hike a 4-, 8- or 22-mile trip.  If you’re interested in a challenging day hike, follow the trail for two miles until you are at Hanakapiai Beach. This beach isn’t great for swimming due to the strong currents but if you continue on an additional two miles you’ll find the 300-foot Hanakapiai Falls.  It drops into a deep, large pool where you can swim.  To complete the full 22 mile round-trip hike you will need to stay overnight in Kalalau Valley.  Although strenuous, the full hike is also very rewarding thanks to its lush hanging valley, iron red and emerald green sea cliffs and cool mountain streams. 

The trail follows the coast and is the original path used by Hawaiians who lived in Kalalau Valley and other valleys along the Na Pali. The Kalalau Trail provides the only land access to the Na Pali Coast on Kauai.  The Kalalau Trail starts on Kee Beach.

Kalalau Trail, Image via Anthony Crider / flickr

4) Mahaulepu Coastal Trail

You can find this trail on the southern coast of Kauai in Poipu. Starting at Shipwreck Beach, directly in front of the Grand Hyatt Hotel, you will hike the undeveloped coastline for about two miles until you arrive at Mahaulepu Beach. Along the way, sand-dune cliffs, Kiawe trees, limestone formations and rocky inlets fill your view and if you’re lucky you might see a sea turtle or endangered monk seal as this beach is a haven for aquatic life. This hike is fairly easy but can be strenuous as there is a lot of sand walking.

Mahaulepu sandstone cliffs, Image via cyrusbulsara / flickr

Kauai Swimming Hikes: Tips

As with any hike you go on in Hawaii, put safety first. Sure, you’re there for the experience, photos and seriously gorgeous views. However, it’s best to keep to the marked trails, wear comfortable shoes, bring snacks and water and always have a healthy respect for your surroundings. These places are beautiful–make sure you leave them that way!


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Hawaii to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

The island of Kauai is an exotic escape featuring a vast variety of landscapes and natural attractions.  In Lihue, Kauai, which is located on the eastern side of the island, is an old sugar mill town.  Situated between beautiful Kalapaki Beach and the soaring mountains  of Waimea Canyon, Lihue is home to numerous historical spots and natural wonders. Want to know which places are the best to explore? Discover more on our list detailing seven unique places to see in Lihue, Kauai. 

Begin your exploring at Wailua Falls. Then, trek to the famous Fern Grotto on the Wailua River. Up next, there are numerous historical spots to visit including a sugar plantation, harbor and museum.

places to see in Lihue, Kauai

Majestic twin Wailua waterfalls on Kauai, Hawaii

1) Wailua Falls

Drive Highway 583 to the south end of the Wailua River, this waterfall is easy to see from a roadside lookout.  It cascades into two into two streams, dropping 80-feet below.

places to see in Lihue, Kauai

Image via Michael Napoleon / flickr

2) Fern Grotto

You need to take a leisurely ride up the Wailua River to access the picturesque fern-fringed cave that is the Fern Grotto.  Dewy and emerald green, the grotto is a natural lava-rock lush with hanging ferns and tropical foliage.  It’s a pristine setting making it one of Kauai’s top natural attractions. 

Image via Joel Bradshaw / Wikimedia

3) Grove Farm Homestead Museum

Formerly the 80-acre plantation home of George N. Wilcox, Grove Farm Homestead has been preserved as a depiction of life on a sugar plantation.  Reservations needed.
places to see in Lihue, Kauai

Alekoko Fishpond / Wikimedia

4) Menehune (Alekoko) Fishpond

Built nearly 1,000 years ago, the Alekoko Menehune Fishpond, minutes from Lihue, has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973.  It can be viewed from an overlook 1/2 mile up Hulemalu Road.

places to see in Lihue, Kauai

Nawiliwili Harbor via James Brennan / flickr

5) Nawiliwili Harbor

The official harbor of Kauai since 1930, Nawiliwili Harbor is a picturesque setting that ports many cruise ships.  It is located at the mouth of the Hule’ia Stream, the harbor got its name from the Wiliwili trees which once ruled the area.

places to see in Lihue, Kauai

Kauai Museum/ Wikimedia

6) Kauai Museum

Stop by this museum to see work by local artisans as well as learn about Hawaii culture and history.  Located in a lava rock structure, it’s easily one of the most unique places to see in Lihue, Kauai. Moreover, a stop at the Kauai Museum is a convenient way to learn more about the island you’re visiting. 

places to see in Lihue, Kauai

Image via Bob Linsdell / flickr

7) Kilohana Plantation

Get a glimpse of life on the islands in the 1930s and this restored plantation estate.  A 16,000 square-foot mansion is open for tours and the 35-acre estate now features tropical gardens and an old plantation village.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Hawaii to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Dreaming of a Kauai vacation? There are plenty of things to do on the island known as known as “Hawaii’s Island of Discovery.” Lush landscapes, amazing scenery and plenty of adventure await you. Kauai is a true nature lover’s paradise with beautiful beaches, hiking trails, waterfalls and diverse landscapes creating endless ways to play. Wondering what to do on your vacation in Kauai? I’ve got a Kauai itinerary covering all the highlights of this breathtaking island.

Kauai itineray

Here’s a look at a sample Kauai itinerary for your vacatiob:

Day 1: Settle into your hotel
The first things to do on this Kauai itinerary is check-in to your hotel. A couple of options we recommend are Poipu Shores Resort and Kiahuna Plantation. Then, head to the beach and being your vacation! Poipu Beach Park is great for snorkeling and sunset gazing, while Hanalei Bay and Anini Beach are ideal options if you’re staying on the North Shore.

Kauai Itinerary

A Kauai helicopter tour is a splurge-worthy, once-in-a-lifetime treat.

Day 2: Go on a helicopter tour
Blue Hawaiian Kauai Helicopter Tours give guests the opportunity to see Kauai’s awe-inspiring sights that are inaccessible from the ground. Departing from Lihue, the flight lasts about an hour and is sure to a highlight of your vacation. Afterwards, head to the North Shore for sightseeing, swimming, snorkeling and even hiking. The famous Kalalua Trail in Na Pali Coast State Park will give you a spectacular view of the coastline, but if you’re up for a more strenuous trek try the hike to Hanakapiai Falls, a 3-hour trip one way. Snorkel at Ke’e Beach, have lunch at Hanalei Bay and be sure to go to the Kilauea Lighthouse for fantastic photo opportunities and wildlife viewing.

Kauai Itinerary

The stunning sea cliffs of the Na Pali Coast.

Day 3: Tour the Na Pali Coast
You can’t vacation in Kauai without touring the Na Pali Coast. As a result, it’s a must-do on this Kauai itinerary. The stunning 17 miles of coastline features hanging valleys and steep ridges thousands of feet above the ocean. Numerous excursions are available for the Na Pali coast. We recommend a Na Pali Coast Sunset Dinner Cruise for romance and gorgeous sightseeing, a Na Pali Snorkel Rafting Expedition for up-close views and underwater sightseeing and if you’d like to enjoy both Kauai’s lush interior is one of the few ways to see the lush jungle of Kauai.

Alternatively, you could venture out onto the Wailya River. Rainbow Kayak Tours and Kayak Adventures both operate Wailua Kayak Tours. After paddling past numerous Heiaus (hallowed shrines), you will view ancient Kamokila Village. Soon you will come to the North Fork where you will paddle leisurely through the Garden Isle’s most beautiful jungle river until you come to the trail head for Secret Falls, where you’ll enjoy a short hike to an enchanting 80’ waterfall.

If you plan your day right, you could kayak in the morning. Then, go on a sunset dinner cruise of the Na Pali Coast at night. Pure Perfection!

Kauai Itinerary

Rainbow over Waimea Canyon in Kauai, Hawaii.

Day 4: Visit the West Side of Kauai
Make time to visit the historical towns of Hanapepe, Waimea and Kekaha. You’ll want to make time to hike Waimea Canyon as well. Known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” highlights include stunning scenery, colorful canyons and scenic overlooks into the valley of the Na Pali Coast. On your way to the Waimea Canyon there are ample scenic overlooks and photo opportunities as well.

Kauai Itinerary

Escape to the paradise that is Tunnels Beach.

Day 5: Hit the Beach
Time to do some full-on relaxing–it is vacation after all. Hit up Kauai’s treasured beaches for a free day of fun under the sun. Some of my favorite spots are Poipu Beach, Hanalei Bay and Tunnels Beach. Throw a towel on those golden sands, soak up some relaxing rays and let the ocean take the rest of your cares away.

These are just some of the adventures waiting for you when you travel to Kauai. Activities in Kauai are endless and the sights to see are breathtaking. Start planning your vacation today and see all the island has to offer.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Hawaii to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

One of the most unique things you can do in Kauai is kayak the Wailua River. Kauai is the only Hawaiian island with navigable rivers, and the Wailua is the most popular one to explore. The tranquil Wailua River weaves by gorgeous waterfalls and lush, jungle landscapes. It’s an escape to the past, as the original Wailua River was the home of the first Hawaiians almost 1500 years ago. It’s also an incredible modern-day look at the beauty, and preservation, of this natural treasure. Interested in learning more about a Wailua River kayak adventure? Follow along as I guide you through my excursion with Rainbow Kayak Tours, one of the premier outfitters for the Wailua River.

Rainbow Kayak Tours

Entrance to the Rainbow Kayak Tours headquarters.

The location of Rainbow Kayak Tours, at 440 Aleka Loop, is a nondescript shopping mall. You might think you’re lost, but circle around the parking lot and look for the kayaks and shuttles–a sure sign you’re in the right place.

Rainbow Kayak Tours

All aboard the Rainbow Kayak Tours shuttle!

After waking up extra early for my 7:15am check-in time at Rainbow Kayak Tours, I was feeling less than bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed. However, I was eager to start the day and was happy to hear the shuttle ride from the shop to the kayak put-in place was a short one.

Wailua River Kayak

Pick a kayak, any kayak!

At Rainbow Kayak Tours you can choose to kayak solo or as a team.  Just be sure to let your choice be known at time of reservation so they can bring the correct number of kayaks to the banks of the Wailua River.

The beginning of my 4 1/2 adventure tour.

The beginning of my 4 1/2 adventure tour.

The start of the Wailua River kayak tour is rather leisurely, especially if you kayak tandem-style. I paddled past historical Heiaus (hallowed shrines), the ancient village of Kamokila, and under the canopy of swaying palm trees and other vegetation. It. Was. Beautiful.

162_rsz-2

Paddling to Secret Falls.

 

Before I knew it, I had paddled past North Fork and the famous Fern Grotto and was on my way to Secret Falls.

Wailua River Kayak

Time to drop off the kayak at the Secret Falls trailhead and hike into the Kauai rainforest.

Part of the Wailua River Kayak experience is hiking through the natural Kauai rainforests, discovering and learning about the floral and fauna around you from your trusty guide, and, of course, splashing into the Secret Falls Waterfall.

Wailua River Kayak

Hiking into the Kauai rainforest.

The hike through the Kauai rainforest is a moderate one, but I cannot stress enough to bring proper shoes. The path can be rather slippery (I had flip-slops on so I ended up going barefoot most of the time). Bring some water shoes or comfortable sneakers.

Hawaii 2012 Round 2 882 RSZ1

The Rainbow Kayak Tour guide sharing his expertise.

As I hiked through the rainforest, the extremely knowledgeable Rainbow Kayak tour guide shared his expertise regarding local flora and fauna. At one point, he pointed out edible plants that I volunteered to try. It was surprisingly good!

Lunch is served

Lunch is served.

The Wailua River kayak experience includes a fresh lunch, served on the banks of the Secret Falls Waterfall.

Wailua River Kayak

Time for waterfall fun!

It’s hard to beat playing in a Kauai waterfall! Secret Falls is an enchanting waterfall descending 80 feet into a natural pool surround by rocks and vegetation. To avoid the crowds from Wailua River kayak tours, be sure to book the early morning tour. The afternoon tours are notorious for being busier which means you won’t have as much solo time underneath this amazing natural feature.

Wailua River Kayak

Scenic sights along the Wailua River.

After frolicking in the waterfall and enjoying a delicious lunch under a warm Hawaiian sun, I hiked back to my kayak with my group. From there, we paddled along the same route in which we came.

I found the Wailua River kayak tour to be one of my favorite activities on Kauai. I felt like I got to experience the natural side of Hawaii, but in a trusted, guided atmosphere. Plus, I got to swim under a Hawaii waterfall, which is kind of the best thing ever. It’s hard not to give this tour two enthusiastic thumbs up!

Add the Wailua River kayak tour from Rainbow Kayak to your Hawaii itinerary to see why this Kauai activity is one of the best.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Hawaii to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Planning a vacation to Kauai? If so, you know there are numerous Kauai attractions and activities available in Hawaii, many of which highlight the beauty of the island. Get the full scoop on how to do Hawaii on a budget with our list of free things to do in Kauai.

wailuafallsthinkstockphotos-617885844-text1

1) Wailua River State Park
Wailua River State Park is home to Fern Grotto, a fern-covered cave set in a tropical garden, Opaeka’s Falls and Wailua Falls.  The state park also features the Wailua Complex of Heiau, a national historic landmark.

Waimea Canyon in Kauai, Hawaii Islands

Waimea Canyon

2) Waimea Canyon
Known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” the park offers stunning views at several lookout points, picnic areas and a variety of hiking trails to waterfalls and other scenic locales. Entrance into the Waimea Canyon State Park is free.

3) Koke’e State Park
Koke’e State Park, home to hiking trails, the Koke’e Natural History Museum, the Koke’e Lighthouse, as well as interpretive programs and exhibits. There are beautiful lookouts to take advantage of and scenic waterfalls to see at this state park. Entrance to the park is free.

Hawaii 582_rsz

Spouting Horn

4) Spouting Horn
A popular photography spot, Spouting Horn is easily accessed on the Poipu Coastline. A natural lava tube flooded by the surf creates a frequent 50-foot spouts of surge and swells. A legend is built around the sound the Spouting Horn makes, hissing and roaring as the waves come in and out.

5) Kauai Coffee Company
Tour the Kauai Coffee Company on the south side of Kauai. It’s the United States’ largest coffee farm, offering a free self-guided walking tour of the farm and free coffee tasting.

Tunnels_163651027

Tunnels Beach

6) Beaches
Tunnels Beach. Hanalei Bay. Poipu Beach. Waimea Bay. These are just a few of the sun-soaked beaches Kauai is known for. These free natural attractions offer endless days of pleasure and are some of the best free things to do in Kauai.

7) Hiking
There are endless epic hiking trails in Kauai. All
of them are free to access, too, so you can spend a day under the island sun exploring some of the best attractions the island has to
offer at no charge. The Kalalu Trail is one of the best with views of the Na Pali Coast. Canyon Trail at Koke’e State Park has panoramic views of Waimea Canyon, making it an amazing free thing to do too.

Kilauea 181165077

Kilauea Lighthouse

8) Koloa Heritage Trail
A self-guided 10 mile trail, the Koloa Heritage Trail has a series of 14 monuments educating visitors of the history, culture and heritage of this site.

9) Kilauea Lighthouse
Pristinely white against a deep blue ocean, the Kilauea Lighthouse draws visitors for its postcard perfect views. After snapping about 100 photos (seriously, it’s so pretty!), take the guided tour of the lighthouse to gain insight into this historical landmark.

These are just a few of the free things to do in Kauai. Plan your Hawaii vacation today to discover all Hawaii has to offer.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Kauai to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

While on a Hawaii vacation you’ll find plenty of Kauai activities to fill your agenda. One of Hawaii’s most beautiful islands is Kauai. Known as the “Garden Isle,” this island is home to some wonderful sights, including the beautiful North Shore.

Add these 10 Kauai activities to your vacation for an unforgettable tropical escape.

Hawaii 876_RSZ Kauai activities

1) Na Pali Coast State Park
This Park is 22 miles long and features volcanic cliffs rising up to 4,000 ft. To get a good view of the area, visitors can hike, boast or go a helicopter sightseeing tour.

Hanalei Pier at sunset Kauai activities

2) Hanalei Bay
Hanalei Bay features nearly two miles of beach surrounded by mountains. It is a great place for water sports. However, it also offers serene waters perfect for relaxing.

Kilauea 181165077 Kauai activities

3) Kilauea Point
Located on the northernmost section of Kauai, Kilauea is home to exquisite beauty. The Kilauea Point Wildlife Refuge, home to a number of protected aquatic birds, and Kilauea Lighthouse, a 52-foot landmark, are two key standouts.

Kee Beach Kauai activities

4) Kee Beach
One of the most popular beaches on Kauai, Kee Beach is home to great snorkeling and diving. The Trailhead for the Kalalau Trail is located here, plus visitors can get a great panoramic view of the Na Pali Coast by taking a short walk towards Ha’ena.

Glass Beach 169257064 Kauai activities

5) Glass Beach
The shoreline of Glass Beach is covered with millions of sea glass pieces – brown, aqua-colored, clear and blue. It is perfect for beachcombing, but not recommended for recreational swimming due to the rocky surface.

510568563 Kauai activities

6) Na’Aina Kai Botanical Gardens
Spanning 240 acres, Na ‘Āina Kai is a living mosaic of diverse and bounteous gardens, a hardwood plantation, a moss- and fern-draped canyon, and a pristine sandy beach stretching between a meadow and the aquamarine waters of the Pacific.

Waimea Canyon in Kauai, Hawaii Islands Kauai activities

7) Waimea Canyon and Koke’e State Park
Waimea Canyon is quite majestic, as is spans ten miles, has a width of two miles and depth of 3,600 feet. The river cliffs boasts red, browns and greens. Plus, Koke’e State Park offers more than 45 hiking trails on its more than 4,000 acres.

Wailua 97021744 Kauai activities

8) Wailua River and Hidden Valley Falls
Kauai has the only navigable rivers of all the Hawaiian Islands, and the Wailua River is the perfect spot to spend some time meandering in a boat or kayak. It weaves through gorgeous waterfalls and lush jungle landscapes. A trip here features Opaekaa Falls and Wailua Falls. In addition, there is Fern Grotto, a natural lave rock cave sheltered by draping ferns.

Waterfall 484471681 Kauai activities

9) Kalihiwai Falls & Kipu Falls
Both of these Kauai waterfalls are gorgeous sights to see. Kalihiwai Falls, a two-tiered waterfall, is accessible by car, hiking or horseback. To reach Kipu Falls, simply follow a short 5-minute trail. A 20-foot rock wall surrounds the falls, which empties into a crystal clear pool perfect for swimming.

Poipu_iStock_000021017083Small Kauai activities

10) Poipu Beach Park
On the South Shore of Hawaii you’ll find Poipu Beach. It’s an excellent place to spot humpback whales and is also home to endangered Hawaiian monk seals. Snorkeling is also very popular at this beach.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Kauai to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

When you’re in Kauai there are so many things to see and do. Luckily, some of them are even free! Check out these free things to do in Poipu, Kauai that’re fun and totally free of charge.

Hawaii 2012 Round 2 542 RSZ

The famous Spouting Horn on Koloa Trail

1. Trek the Koloa Heritage Trail

Go on a self-guided tour of Koloa Heritage Trail, were history and culture combine to give insight into the region you’ve visited.  A series of 14 monuments highlight significant sites on the trail, including Koloa Landing at Hanakaape Bay and Spouting Horn.  Click here for a full guide. 

Kauai Coffee Co FB

Kauai Coffee Company/Facebook

2. Perk Up at Kauai Coffee Company

Come for the free coffee samples, stay to learn how Kauai coffee is grown, harvested, processed and graded.  Visit their museum, take a self-guided walking tour and try to decide which flavor of coffee is your favorite.  Ours was the coconut caramel crunch blend.

Poipu Shopping Village FB

Poipu Shopping Village/Facebook

3. Watch Tahitian and Hula Dance Shows

On Mondays and Thursday at Poipu Shopping Village at 4:30pm enjoy the art of Tahitian and Hula by the women of Urahutia. They take you on a trip to the South Pacific islands of Tahiti. The show is free and lasts for about 30 minutes long. It can be viewed at center stage under the Banyan Tree.

mahaulepu trail near Poipu, Kauai , hawaii

The coastal beauty of the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail

4. Hike the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail

Kauai’s southern coastline is the showcase of this 2-mile roundtrip hike.  Trek from the southeast corner of Shipwreck Beach (Keonela Bay) along sand-dune cliffs, Kiawe trees, limestone formations and rocky inlets all the way to Mahaulepu Beach (Kawailoa Bay).

Farmers Market in Venice with selective Blur

Fresh and delicious finds at the Farmers Market

5. Savor Local Flavor at the Kauai Culinary Market

Visit the Kukui`ula Shopping Village on Wednesdays between 4 and 6pm, in the heart of Poipu for fresh, locally-grown fruits, vegetables and coffee, along with spices, jams, bread and cheeses as well as live contemporary Hawaiian music.  Chef demonstrations with Kauai grown and Kauai made products happen at the Wine and Beer Garden. 


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Hawaii to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Kauai is famous for its white, sandy beaches.  The Kauai North Shore beaches are particularly stunning, as the sun-drenched waters are framed by rugged mountains and sea cliffs.  Bursting with beauty, the enchanting setting of Kauai North Shore beaches create an exceptional way to unplug from the everyday and reconnect with a natural paradise. Trust me, relaxing never felt so good.

These four Kauai North Shore beaches are totally bucket-list worthy and should be on your Hawaii hit list.

Hawaii 979_RSZ
Hanalei Beach
The half-moon bay of Hanalei Beach is naturally beautiful. High sea cliffs, sheer volcanic ridges and golden sand surround the ancient sunken valley. Hanalei Bay stretches two miles from point to point and indents the coast a full mile inland.  There are coral reefs are on either side of the two points, and in the middle of the bay.  Due to a nearby sunken ship, Hanalei has a great snorkeling environment.  Black Pot, near the pier, is one of the best areas for swimming, snorkeling and surfing.  Swimming is excellent here year round, making it a popular choice for visitors and locals alike.
Tropical Beachscape
Anini Beach County Park
If you’re looking for one of the safest swimming beaches on the North Shore, this is it.  Anini Beach is also quite gorgeous as it sits on a blue lagoon at the base of emerald cliffs.  The golden beaches stretch on for three miles. This beach is shielded by long fringe of reef too, so it’s one of the very best beaches to snorkel at on Kauai.  Anini has a very Tahitian-feel and is definitely worth a visit.

Kee Beach State PaLocated on a reef protected Cove, Kee (pronounced Kay-ay) Beach attracts swimmers and snorkelers.  Take note, though, to stay inside the reef area.  Outside of the reef, conditions are unstable and the waters can be dangerous.  Be sure to take a short walk towards Ha’ena for a panoramic view of the Na Pali Coast.

Tunnels_163651027
Tunnels Beach
Easily one of Hawaii’s most beautiful beaches, Tunnels Beach is excellent for swimming year round and provides excellent snorkeling conditions as it is protected by a fringing coral reef.  Surrounded by the peaks of Bali Hai, Tunnels Beach is one of best locations to watch the sun set on Kauai.
The beach is calling…start planning your Kauai Beach Vacation today!

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Kauai to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

The crystal clear ocean waters of Kauai create the perfect environment for snorkeling.  The warm waters and thriving reef system make it a natural choice for snorkeling.  One of the reasons the reef system is so spectacular is it has been developing for millions of years.  It has become a habitat for hundreds of species of fish, some of which are found nowhere else in the world.  Plus, snorkel gear is available for rent at just about every hotel or oceanside attraction so it’s easy to grab a mask, snorkel and some fins and swim around the waters to explore the underwater world of Kauai.

Turtle ThinkstockPhotos-469827119

Anini Beach

The best beaches to snorkel in Kauai

Anini Beach
Home to the longest reef on the island, Anini Beach is located on Kauai’s North Shore.  The water here is fairly shallow and the reef features underwater canyons with ample sea life.
Poipu_iStock_000021017083Small

Poipu Beach

Poipu Beach

The reef here has sea cucumbers in residence and snorkelers frequently spot sea turtles at Poipu Beach.  This South Shore Kauai beach is also home to endangered Hawaiian monk seals, which you can see sunning on the beach.
Tunnels_163651027

Tunnels Beach

Tunnels Beach
Also known as Makua Beach, Tunnels Beach is the quintessentialspot to snorkel in Kauai, with amazing mountain views surrounding the beach.  The reef here is horseshoe shaped and is home to bright corals, a variety of fish including the vibrant Humuhumunukunukuapua’a, wrasse and parrotfish. 
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Kee Beach

Kee Beach
Kee Beach is a great option for beginner snorkelers as the lagoon is protected from waves by reefs.  Home to plenty of colorful fish and Pacific green sea turtles, views of the Na Pali Coast add to the scenery.
Wherever you snorkel in Kauai you’re sure to experience an underwater world teeming with sea life.  Try to go early in the morning as that is when viewing is best.  And, stay safe!  Be sure to snorkel with a buddy, stay out of choppy water and avoid touching the reefs.  Most of all though, have fun as you explore the sea!   

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Kauai to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Book a Poipu hotel on Kauai and you’ll enjoy gorgeous sunsets, pristine beaches, and all sorts of water activities. The South Shore of Kauai is a favorite escape for couples looking for a romantic escape.  Choose from a Poipu resort or condo and relax on the sunny shores of Kauai.

We recommend the following places to stay on Poipu:
Castle Kiahuna Plantation

Castle Kiahuna Plantation

Castle Kiahuna Plantation

These extraordinary Kauai condo rentals sit on 35 acres of tropical paradise. Landscaped lawns and gardens burst with fragrant flowers next to the rhythmic surf on Poipu Beach, undeniably one of the best Kauai beaches. Relax in the seclusion of your suite or bungalow, uniquely designed, individually furnished, and always with nature right out the window.
These Kauai condo rentals are a dream come true, individually furnished with an island style all their own. Each and every one, two, and three bedroom condo fronts the ocean within the legendary Poipu Beach resort area on Kauai’s south shore.
Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa is located on the beach in Koloa’s Poipu neighborhood, close to Poipu Bay Golf Course, Shipwreck Beach, and Poipu Bay. Other points of interest near this luxury resort include Poipu Beach and Brennecke Beach. The air-conditioned units have lanais with ocean or beach views, as well as

Koa Kea Hotel and Resort

Koa Kea Hotel & Resort is located on the beach in Koloa’s Poipu neighborhood, close to Poipu Beach, Brennecke Beach, and Kiahuna Golf Course. Other points of interest near this luxury resort include Moir Gardens and Shops at Kukuiula. All units have patios, separate sitting area, premium bedding, free Wi-Fi and air conditioning.

Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation

Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation

Outrigger Kiahuna Plantations

These quaint, low-rise vacation condos in Kauai hark back to Hawaii’s 19th-century plantation past. Relax and unwind amid 30 acres of exotic vegetation and gently rolling lawns at this lush beachfront resort. Each of our one- and two-bedroom Poipu condos features a full kitchen, spacious living and dining area, and private lanai – perfect for enjoying Kauai’s magnificent weather

Bask in the paradise that is Poipu, Kauai.  It’s the perfect destination for a relaxing yet activity-filled vacation in Hawaii.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Hawaii to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.