One of the most uniquely authentic tropical experiences you can have in Hawaii is snorkeling. Kauai’s beaches usually aren’t crowded with swimmers and boaters, making the area perfect for snorkeling. Around Kauai, you can explore the hidden underwater world and swim alongside tropical fish.
This leads many visitors to ask, where are the best snorkeling spots in Kauai? Follow along below as we’ve rounded up our favorite locations around the island.
This Kauai beach is the closest beach to the Napali Coast that you can drive to. The views at Ke’e (pronounced Key-AY) are incredible and the sand is soft. During the summer, the serene waters make this a great location for snorkeling. You can even see the reef and the beautiful fish that call it home.
Be very careful as you near the reef. On the left side where Ke’e Beach opens up to the ocean, strong rip currents can rip you out to sea. Chat with the lifeguards before attempting to snorkel at Ke’e.
Next to Ke’e Beach, you’ll find the stunning Napali Coast. While it can be hard to reach the Napali Coast with long hiking trails, you can take a Catamaran Cruise to the waters beyond the Napali for some unique snorkeling. Many have spotted whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and tropical fish on these snorkeling cruises. Plus, we offer food and drinks for when you’re finished.
Nervous about snorkeling for the first time? Poipu Beach is a great location for snorkeling beginners. While the snorkeling area itself is rather small and sandy, it opens up to some reef where fish and other marine wildlife hang out. You might even spot sea turtles or even a monk seal lounging on the beach.
The beach is a great place to spend time as well. You can swim, snorkel, sunbathe, and even grill something tasty on the barbecue.
Lydgate Beach Park
If you’re searching for a family-friendly snorkeling location, look no further than Keiki Pond at Lydgate Beach Park. This park was actually created by two parents who wanted a safe place for children to enjoy the ocean.
A man-made rock wall was constructed around the edge to protect the water from the surf. Keiki pond is about ten feet deep and is a wonderful place for your children to learn how to snorkel. While there is no coral to explore here, fish are often washed over the rock wall by the surf, so there is still plenty of vibrant, colorful fish to see.
In addition to snorkeling, there are public restrooms, outdoor showers, a playground, and on-duty lifeguards.
Have some snorkeling experience under your belt? Lawai Beach, also called Prince Kuhio Beach, is one of the most popular places for intermediate snorkelers to explore in Kauai. A barrier reef borders the snorkeling area and is home to several species of tropical fish and marine plants. The coral reef is a beautiful sight to see and you don’t need to snorkel beyond the reef to have an adventure.
The beach itself isn’t as sandy or family-friendly as some of the other beaches on this list. In fact, Lawai Beach is most lava-rock with a small sandy area. It’s probably better for intermediate adult snorkelers. The beach also offers public restrooms and outdoor showers so you can clean off afterward.
Makua Beach, also known as Tunnels Beach and Haena Beach Park, is a fascinating and unique beach for snorkeling. Lush green forests line the beach and beautiful golden sands pave the way to the beach. Sea caves and marine wildlife are everywhere. This beach looks straight out of someone’s imagination of paradise.
As you make your way to the Tunnels Beach for snorkeling, you’ll notice several sand-channels. You’ll want to enter and exit the water via sand channels instead of accidentally damaged the coral reef. Once in the water, you’ll see dozens of varieties of sea life.
Before You Go Snorkeling
Before you get in the water, there are some snorkeling safety precautions to consider. Check the weather before heading to the beach and make sure you have proper, functioning equipment. Observe the water for a half-hour to look for currents, large rocks, sand bars, and other factors that could pose a threat to your safety. Additionally, be respectful of the coral reef and do not touch it or the fish and marine plant life who live around it.
Go Snorkeling with Kauai Sea Tours
Kauai Sea Tours has been providing award-winning tours since 1991, with a history of ten consecutive TripAdvisor Travelers Choice Awards. With a team that’s passionate about creating incredible adventures in paradise, we’re excited to explore the Napali Coast with you. Check out our website for information about snorkeling next to the Napali Coast and exquisite dinner tours below the cliffs, and more.