27 Aug 2021
Kauai is a great place to snorkel! Not only is the ocean full of beautiful sea life but no matter what time of year there is always a place you can go. In the summer months the north shore waters are flat and calm. Then when the winter swell and surfers take over, the south side is ready for gentler ocean fun. From north to south, find an epic experience regardless of the time of year. Keep reading for the Top Five Spots for awesome snorkeling in Kauai!
Top Five Snorkeling Spots on Kauai
The most north you can drive on Kauai, Ke’e Beach Park is an ideal spot for snorkeling during the summer months. Located where the road ends and the mighty Napali Coast cliffs begin, the stunning landscape offers bucket-list views. This beach spot is famous for calm waters in the summer and provides a reef-protected lagoon for swimming and snorkeling, perfect for beginners! It’s best to stay within the reef and away from the cliffside to avoid currents and waves. Be sure to visit the Hawaii State Parks Division for updated information on park reservations, parking, and shuttle services.
Traveling just a few minutes south from Ke’e Beach is Haena Beach Park and Tunnels Beach. This picturesque location is home to the famous Mount Makana aka Bali Hai.
A snorkeler’s paradise, large coral reef formations offer a wide variety of fish, turtles, plants, and other intriguing sea creatures! An inner reef provides a shallow snorkeling area for beginners, while more advanced swimmers may travel to the outer reef. Neither spot will disappoint, each offering the chance to see incredible marine life! Due to the large area, strong currents can be present here and only strong swimmers are recommended to cross the channel to reach the outer reef. The best time to go is in the summer on a dry sunny day when there hasn’t been much rain for clear ocean conditions. In the winter, expect to see big swells and surfers here!
The parking directly at Tunnels is very scarce and only a lucky few in the morning may find the perfect beachfront spot. Fortunately, just up the road public parking, bathrooms, showers, and lifeguards are available at Haena Beach Park. We suggest parking here and walking along the beach to your desired snorkeling spot.
This beautiful, 2 mile stretch of white sandy beach is protected by one of the largest coral reefs in the state. Snorkeling here is considered one of the safer spots on Kauai due to calm ocean conditions and shallow waters, even in the winter! With lots of areas to choose from, we recommend starting in the sandy shallow areas near the campgrounds before following the reef to deeper waters. The best time to go is the morning to beat the crowds and catch the turtles enjoying breakfast!
The facilities here include restrooms, showers, picnic tables and pavilions, public parking, as well as permit camping. There is no lifeguard here.
Located on Kauai’s east side, Lydgate park offers a sandy bottom swimming area perfect for kids and beginner snorkelers. Although there isn’t a reef here, you can enjoy lagoons full of colorful fish! These shallow swimming spots are protected from the open ocean by a man-made rock wall, creating a gentle environment. The calmest conditions are usually enjoyed in the morning. Lydgate also offers shady spots, picnic tables, playground, restrooms, and lifeguards. A great place to spend the whole day relaxing!
Poipu Beach Park is on the south shore of Kauai and experiences opposite ocean conditions to the north shore. Snorkeling in this area is best enjoyed in the winter months when the water is calmer. This area is popular for swimming and snorkeling because of the beautifully clear waters and vibrant marine life! The best snorkeling can be found towards the right side of the beach while on the left side there are many tide pools featuring an assortment of marine activity. Poipu Beach Park also offers great amenities such as pavilions, picnic tables, barbecues, restrooms, showers, lifeguards, grassy areas, and a sandy beach!
Ready to plan your Kauai getaway? Contact us at Hawaii Life Vacations for more information on how to book your next Hawaii vacation and allow our personal concierge to help make all of your arrangements before you arrive!
Contact us by email at Vacations@HawaiiLife.com or phone 855.447.3685