Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to Captain's Blog

Can You Swim in Kauai in December?


Planning a vacation to Kauai, Hawaii? Well, you’re in for a treat. Kauai is one of the most picturesque, fascinating places in the world. In the Garden Isle, you’ll find dramatic cliffs that seem to reach the clouds, covered in lush forests. Powerful waterfalls are around every corner, and you’re never too far from a beach or swimming hole.

But just like any other place in the world, some activities are best for certain times of the year. Swimming is one of those activities. Due to the weather and seasons, winter in Kauai isn’t the safest time to go swimming at some beaches.

You can swim in Kauai in December, but only at some beaches. Learn more about why it’s not always safe, where to go swimming, and other activities to do in December besides swimming by reading below!

Avoid Swimming the Kauai North Shore in December

It may not be snowing or too cold to swim, but that doesn’t mean that it’s safe to go swimming in Kauai during the winter. This is especially true for the north shore. Winter usually brings harsh waves and hazardous conditions to the beaches on the north shore. Swimming on the north shore during December is not recommended as it can result in injury or death.

Here is a list of some beaches on the north shore to avoid swimming at during winter:

  • Hanalei Beach
  • Waioli Beach Park
  • Anini Beach Park
  • Haena Beach Park
  • Tunnels Beach
  • Ke’e Beach

You can still visit these beaches. You can enjoy a picnic and sunbathe there, and even go on a boat ride, but you should refrain from swimming in them during December for your safety.

Swim the Kauai South Shore Instead During Winter

The south shore doesn’t receive the same hazardous swimming conditions as the north shore. As a result, the south shore is often a safer option for swimming during December.

On the south shore, you’ll find excellent beaches for snorkeling and swimming. The best Kauai beaches that are shallow, in a protected cove, or are blocked off from the rest of the ocean by a coral reef. We recommend checking out these south shore beaches for swimming in December:

  • Kiahuna Beach at Poipu
  • Keiki Cove – Adult supervision is required since there is no lifeguard on duty.
  • Lawai Beach – Beware of currents
  • Salt Pond Beach Park
  • Kukuiula Bay

Whenever you swim in the ocean, you have to exercise some caution. There are many types of waves that can sneak up on surfers and drag them out to the deeper waters — or worse, slam them into rocks and chunks of coral.

Before swimming, check the morning weather report. If it looks like a windy day, don’t go into the water. When you arrive at the beach, observe the water for a half-hour or so. Look for currents and watch the waves. If the conditions don’t look safe, avoid the water.

Activities on Kauai For When You Can’t Swim

There are plenty of ways to enjoy the island of Kauai in December that doesn’t involve swimming. Learn more below:

Go Hiking

Kauai is largely undeveloped in comparison to the other Hawaiian islands. This means there are plenty of forests for you to explore when the beaches aren’t safe for swimming. Here are two of our favorites:

Waimea Canyon State Park: It may not be the Grand Canyon, but the Waimea Canyon State Park has plenty of grandeur. Go hiking through the Waimea to find beautiful canyon views, rivers, and even a waterfall.

Kalalau Trail: Kalalau Trail is not for the faint of heart, as it’s rated one of the most difficult hiking trails in the United States. That being said, this hiking trail gives one of the most impressive views of the Na Pali Coast and a great way to see the north shore during winter.

Attend a Luau

Luaus are a can’t-miss experience in Hawaii. From hula dancers to storytelling and a feast, you’ll find non-stop fun at a truly authentic Hawaiian luau.

Go Whale Watching

From November through May, humpback whales migrate to Hawaii for their mating and birthing season. While the peak season for humpback whales starts in January, you can take a whale watching tour during December to get an up-close view of these magnificent creatures.

Kauai Sea Tours

Go whale watching with Kauai Sea Tours! Join us for a fun adventure as we go whale watching along Kauai’s south shore to find the gentle giants of the sea.

Are you and your family ready to explore Kauai on a boat tour? Kauai Sea Tours has been providing award-winning tours since 1991, with a history of ten consecutive TripAdvisor Travelers Choice Awards. Our team is passionate about creating incredible adventures in paradise and we’re excited to go whale-watching with your family.

  • Posted in: