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Top 5 Kauai Beaches
With over 50 miles of sandy shores—more than any other Hawaiian island—Kauai is a beach bum's dream. It's easy to give in to "Hawaii time" and spend your trip relaxing on the sand. Here are some of our top places to park your beach towel.
Haena Beach Park (Tunnels Beach).
Even if all you do is sit on the beach, you'll leave here happy. The scenic beauty is unsurpassed, with verdant mountains serving as a backdrop to the turquoise ocean. Snorkeling here is the best on the island during the calm, summer months. When the winter's waves arrive, surfers line up on the outside break.
Hanalei Bay Beach Park
When you dream of Hawaii, this is what comes to mind: A vast bay rimmed by a wide beach and waterfalls draping distant mountains. Everyone finds something to do here—surf, kayak, swim, sail, sunbathe, walk, and celebrity-watch. Like most North Shore beaches in Hawaii, Hanalei switches from calm waters in summer to big waves in winter.
You'll have to drive through private property to reach this gem, though the beach—like all in Hawaii—is public. The two-mile stretch is unlike anything else you'll find on Kauai. The land is rugged, with limestone cliffs, caves, and sand dunes. While swimming here isn't always recommended, it's a great spot to wander around; a hike along the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail, a beautiful coastal path.
Poipu Beach Park
The keiki (children's) swimming hole makes Poipu a great family beach, but it's also popular with snorkelers and moderate to experienced surfers. And while Poipu is considered a tourist destination, Kauai residents come out on the weekends, adding a local flavor. Watch for the endangered Hawaiian monk seals; they like it here, too.
Polihale State Park
If you're looking for remote, if you're looking for guaranteed sun, if you're thinking of camping on the beach, drive down the bumpy five-mile-long road to the western-most point of Kauai. Be sure to stay for the sunset. Unless you're an experienced water person, we advise staying out of the water due to a steep, on-shore break. You can walk for miles along this beach, the longest in Hawai'i.