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Tip: This town is best known for hosting the annual Merrie Monarch Festival.
Kauai Beach Review
Setting out to find a favorite beach is a delightful task. There’s no such thing as a bad beach on Kauai. It all depends on your mood and inclination. To help you get started, here’s some suggestions from the A list.
• Po’ipu Beach Park, past Koloa on Po’ipu Road, is one of Kauai’s safest and sunniest beaches. The beach is equipped with lifeguards, restrooms and showers, picnic tables and a convenience store where snorkel and beach equipment rentals are available. Don’t be surprised if you catch a glimpse of a Hawaiian Monk Seal somewhere on the beach. These creatures are not only endangered, but they’re big mothers, so keep your distance.
• Maha’ulepu and Shipwrecks, near the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa.
• Salt Pond, Hanapepe.
• Lydgate Beach Park is located just south of the Wailua River, near Kapa’a. The park features a wide sand beach that slopes into the ocean where a pair of rock-rimmed pools invite. The walled pools provide a barrier from high surf and dangerous currents and harbor schools of colorful, relatively tame fish. There is a lifeguard, restrooms, extensive children’s play area, walking and bike paths.
• Kalapaki Beach, at Nawiliwili Bay in Lihu’e, fronts the Kauai Marriott Resort and is a good swimming beach.
• Kealia Beach Park, just north of Kapa’a along Kuhio Highway, is a popular surfing beach.
• Fuji Beach, known locally as Baby Beach, on Moanakai Street in Kapa’a, is a small neighborhood beach protected by a sandstone breakwater that usually makes it safe for young children. Kiteboarders often appear offshore.
• Ke’e Beach, at the north end of the island where the highway ends at the Kalalau trailhead, is a long beach with an inviting lagoon teeming with reef fish, which generally put on a good show for snorkelers. An opening to the sea sweeps along the rocks to the left of the lagoon and is named Puka Ulua for the large, prized Ulua that are caught there. (Be careful of unpredictable currents in that channel. They are strong enough to pull swimmers into the open sea, and there is no lifeguard at this beach.)
• Anini Beach is located off Kuhio Highway between Kilauea and Princeville. Turn off the highway at Kalihiwai Road, and take the next left to the beach. The beach snakes along the coast at the base of a bluff below Princeville Resort. Its shallow waters are generally safe and warm.
• Kauapea Beach, often called Secret Beach, has long since lost any claim to covert status. The beach, with its anything goes mood and remote location, is one of the most secluded beaches on Kauai,. Accessible via a 10-minute, steep hike, it is a long golden-sand beach with a small waterfall. It offers calm waters — often filled with dolphin — during the summer, but treacherous conditions during the winter months. Drive about a half-mile past Kilauea on Hwy. 56 and turn right on Kalihiwai Road. Then turn right on the first dirt road and follow it to the end. Here’s where you park and where the trail begins.
• Makua Beach, commonly referred to as Tunnels, is a long, wide beach that actually starts at Hanalei Colony Resort and runs about two miles to just past Ha’ena Beach Park. Tunnels Beach is located just past the 8-mile marker in Ha’ena. Parking is tight. You might try walking from Ha’ena Beach Park.
• Lumahai Beach, located around the bend from Hanalei Bay, is approximately one mile long. There are two accesses to the beach. The first beach is closest to Hanalei Bay and requires a short hike from roadside parking. Further up the highway is the Lumahai Valley River Mouth and the second entrance to the beach.
• Hideaway’s Beach, near the Princeville Hotel, is a gem of a beach. Postcard-sized and secluded, its pristine beauty and clear waters will steal your heart. It’s a great spot for snorkeling, sunning, swimming and romantic sunsets. To get there, you’ll have to navigate a steep, stair-stepped trail that begins in the hotel’s parking lot.