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9 Best Beaches In Kauai For Snorkeling

One of the main reasons most people visit Kauai is for the beautiful beaches, which boast soft sand and crystal-clear waters, so it is easy to understand why one of the most popular activities to enjoy here is snorkeling, which offers a look at the underwater world in Hawaii. If you want to spend time at the top places where the marine life is the most vibrant, here we tell you what the best beaches in Kauai for snorkeling are!

Anett Victoria - Author of SeaSpiration

Written by Anett Victoria

When it comes to a beach vacation, Anett is the person who certainly has tips on where to go and what to do no matter it is a luxury tropical holiday, a romantic seaside getaway, or a fun family trip to the ocean. As a world traveler with years of experience in exploring tropical countries and a water sports fan, she creates this inspiring site where she writes travel guides, reviews and recommends beach gear, and gives travel tips to make planning your trip quicker and easier! Are you curious about where She wanders now? Follow her adventures on IG too!

Anini Beach

Situated on the north shore of Hawaii, Anini Beach is one of the top Kauai snorkeling beaches thanks to the nearby coral reef. The water is four to 100 feet deep, allowing children to play in the shallow areas near the shore while adults can enjoy snorkeling and exploring the outer parts of the ocean.

It’s easy to find sea turtles and exotic fish such as moorish Idols, blue tangs and surgeonfish due to the diverse marine life that is present.

Anini beach - Kauai HI

There’s always an ample amount of shade present and a good breeze, making it easy to find a spot to relax and cool off from the heat. The water us usually calm all year long at Anini, that makes it an excellent Kauai swimming beach too. A superb family-friendly hotel nearby is the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas.

Sealodge Beach

If looking for the best beaches in Kauai for snorkeling that is secluded, make sure to visit Sealodge! This place is accessible by a half-mile, moderately steep hike when you will walk through an area with plenty of lush vegetation. You’ll even come across a small waterfall on the trail, making it feel like paradise.

Sealodge Beach is a quiet and serene spot for snorkeling in Kauai where you don’t have to worry about running into any crowds. In the calm, clear water it is easy to spot turtles and different types of fish the moment you dip your head underwater.

Tunnels Beach

Visiting Tunnels Beach (known as Makua locally) is a great idea if you are looking for free activities in Kauai, as it is a fantastic place for snorkeling and swimming. It is a low-key sand beach on the North Shore that is well-known for its tropical vegetation in every direction.

Although it’s a small trek from the road down to the water, it allows this place to be more secluded and feels like a secret escape from the rest of the island. There are plenty of spots where shade is present where you can find a spot to lounge.

People at tunnels beach Kauai

The shallow reef offers plenty of opportunities to see different types of coral, plenty of fish and sea turtles in the water. Hawaiian monk seals are often present on the shore. Tunnels is a seasonal swimming and snorkeling beach in Kauai, since the currents get intense in winter.

Ke’e Beach

Ke’e is not only one of the most picturesque spots on the island, but also one of the best beaches in Kauai for snorkeling that is beginner friendly. Large reef protects the waters and allows them to remain calm and current-free each season.

Snorkeler at Kee beach

Many people come here to enjoy swimming with green sea turtles and colorful Hawaii reef fish in the shallow lagoon. A hiking trail is also present if you want to spend some time on foot. There are also a lot of trees, providing more than enough shade. Restrooms are located on the beach, as well as showers where you can rinse off after spending time in the water.

Salt Pond Beach Park

Salt Pond is a top family snorkel beach in Kauai that an offshore reef protects from large waves and where lifeguards are also present to keep an eye out for swimmers and snorkelers. A sheltered swimming hole is also present for small children. Many people also come to enjoy observing the wide variety of marine species in the water including sea cucumber, rainbow wrasses and unicorn fish.

It’s a great place to hang out with your family or friends while vacationing in Hawaii because Salt Pond Beach Park offers picnic benches and barbecue pits. Bathroom and shower amenities are also available.

Poipu Beach

Poipu is one of the most popular locations to go snorkeling in Hawaii that offers high-level comfort with find plenty of palm trees and free parking. It’s a safe spot to spend time in the water for beginner snorkelers because of the lifeguards present.

You can snorkel here for several hours and can expect to see monk seals and turtles on the sand, as well as beautiful and exotic fish in the water. It’s also known as one of the best places to watch the sunset on the island.

Seaturtle on the shore at Poipu beach

If you’re in the mood for a bit to eat, restaurants are available across the street. Parking is ample, making it easy to find a spot to leave your car. If you decide to spend you whole vacation in this area, stay at the nearby Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club!

Moloa’a Beach

Moloa’a Beach is a unique snorkeling spot in Kauai because it’s where the Gilligan’s Island tv show was filmed in the 1960s. Today, it is still undeveloped and secluded with beautiful reefs and a trail that takes you near the cliffs.

Moloaa beach

The beach doesn’t get too crowded, and there are no big resorts around; these features make it a perfect place for those who prefer to stay in a vacation rental (if you decide to come here, we recommend the Moloa’a Bay Cottage).

On the shore, it’s fun to find a lot of coconuts and driftwood, which contributes to the natural beauty and seclusion of the location. You’ll even see a few ghost crabs running around on the sand any time of the day. While snorkeling, the clear waters of this crescent-shaped bay make it easy to see clearly and explore underwater.

Hideaways Beach

There’s no shortage of the best beaches in Kauai for snorkeling where you can have an adventure in the water on the island, but the widely known places often get crowded. Luckily, there are several quiet spots too like Hideaways Beach (Pali Ke Kua) that is accessible through a short, steep hiking trail.

Located in Princeville, this place is incredibly lush and offers a quiet place to spend the day without running into too many people. The ocean is strewn with boulders from lava rock, which contributes to the picturesque views.

The overhanging trees offer a lot of shade and make it easy to have privacy while lounging on the sand. Two barbecues are also on the bluff where you can prepare a meal and enjoy taking in the views. There are different surf levels, but usually it is an ideal place to snorkel.

Lawai Beach

Lawai Beach is known as a small strip of beach in front of the Lawai Beach Resort. Thanks to the expansive protecting reef, the water is calm offering ideal conditions to snorkel. Even if you don’t want to go swimming can observe turtles that are always lounging near the sand.

Snorkeling with sea turtle in Kauai Hi

When you’re done spending time here, you can walk over to the Beach House Restaurant to enjoy a meal. The abundance of palm trees contributes to the beautiful scenery, especially when you come to watch the sunset.

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