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Best beaches in Kauai for swimming

Kauai is beloved for its slower pace of life and incomparable natural beauty with stunning mountain vistas and crystal-clear blue waters that are perfect for chilling out and also for water sports. But since the sea conditions are different at each spot, a little research needs to be done to find the most ideal place for your preferred activity. Should you plan your Hawaii beach vacation to this paradise island and taking refreshing dips in the ocean is your priority, here are the best beaches in Kauai for swimming!

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!

Hanalei Bay

The biggest bay on all of Kauai is Hanalei Bay. This impressive bay is bounded by an equally impressive white sandy beach that is roughly 125 feet wide and two miles in length, bordered by the Waipa River on the west and the Hanalei River on the eastern edge. The most famous of the bay’s beaches is Black Pot Beach. Locals come out each weekend here to enjoy the ocean since they know that it is among the best swimming beaches.

Kauai Hawaii Hanalei Bay
Hanalei Bay

The on-site park also includes a grassy area complete with shady tables. You are able to rent both stand-up paddleboards and surfboards on this beach. Sunsets are another time to return to the sands here. The pier makes a stunning backdrop when coupled with the encircling mountains, both of which combine at nightfall to create a magical and almost mythical experience.

SeaSpiration Tip: Find out what are the prettiest beaches in Hawaii!

Kee Beach

Kauai’s North Shore boasts Kee Beach. It lies at the end of the highway and proves to be the farther beach that you can reach by car. Although it is among the most heavily visited beaches on the island but certainly one of the best beaches in Kauai for swimming because the lagoon of Kee Beach offers the calmest conditions during the summer.

Kee Beach Kauai
Kee Beach

An added feature of the beach is that the Kalalau Trail starts here. This 11-mile-long (and dangerous) hiking trail begins along the beach’s western boundary. Its beauty has made it the setting for several different mini-series and movies that were filmed here over the years, including both the Thorn Birds and Castaway Cowboys. Visitors can take in the impressive vistas of the Na Pali Coast to the west from here.

Kee’s appealing lagoon is filled with tropical fish so it is an ideal spot for snorkeling in Kauai. You can swim with tuna schools, sea turtles, and plenty of other exotic aquatic life. Watch out for the Puka Ulua to the left of the lagoon. It opens directly to the sea, and the currents are often strong here, particularly in winter months. This is a great area to fish for the highly prized and impressively sized Ulua fish, but snorkelers should stay on the inner reef.

Anini Beach

A beautifully tranquil beach found on the island’s North Shore stretches out for literally miles adjacent to an extended reef offshore. This is Anini Beach, beloved for being the most protected beach on the famed North Shore offering ideal conditions for swimming. The two-mile length fringed reef is parallel to the entire stretch of sand and proves to be the longest reef in all of Hawaii.

Anini Beach - Kauai Island
Anini Beach

The lagoon is tranquil most of the year. Children are thrilled by how calm the water is here, and they are enchanted by the little shells lying on the shore. In case you want to take up a new sport, several companies on Anini Beach offer beginner windsurfing lessons too.

Anahola Beach

The East Shore of Kauai features Anahola Beach, visitors’ favorite swimming spot on the island! It offers budget-friendly activities that are suitable for every kind of individual.

The beach is reputed to be the safest stretch of sand on the windward Kauai coast; it is safeguarded from the higher surf thanks to a reef, making it one of the best swimming beaches in Kauai. There are also nice shallow pockets of sand at the bottom of the ocean here that make it suitable for kids to safely swim.

Hawaii Kauai Anahola Beach Park
Anahola Beach Park

Bodyboarders will love the area of the beach near the Anahola River mouth. Surfing is permitted on the north side of this beach. Beginning divers and snorkelers will do well here too, though they have to use greater care close to the mouth of the river as there are often strong rip currents there.

Salt Pond Park

Salt Pond Beach is something unique among Kauai beaches. Lying along the West Shore with its wide stretch of red-golden colored sand, the big lagoon falls in between two rocky promontories and is quite well-protected and sheltered unless there are high surf conditions, so definitely needs to be mentioned among the best beaches in Kauai for swimming.

Salt Pond Beach Kauai Hawaii
Salt Pond Beach

Salt Pond Beach has become famous among the windsurfing and surfing crowds. Families with children similarly love the beach for the calmer, safer swimming areas that it offers, especially during the summer months.

Mahaulepu Beach

Mahaulepu Beach along Kauai’s South Shore is divided up into three separate parts including Haula Beach, Kawailoa Bay, and Gillin’s Beach. The sands here are well-protected from the surf in several places, making them ideal for swimming throughout much of the year. Visitors also find fossils from extinct birds along the sand dunes that front parts of the park’s shoreline. This all combines to make Mahaulepu Beach an ideal and enchanting place for explorers.

Kalihiwai Beach

Kalihiwai is a beautiful crescent-shaped beach lined by ironwood trees. It is easy to find and boasts more than ample parking. Visitors find it by going to the mouth of the Kalihiwai Stream mouth. The beach has white sand although it is found in between lava cliffs on both sides.

Kalihiwai Beach Kauai island
Kalihiwai Beach

The water here is mostly calm in the summer months. During the winter, the beach becomes a surfer’s paradise and is ideal for bodyboarding as well. The waves are dangerous enough that only experienced surfers should come to play here. Swimmers will do well to stay far away from the water in the winter, and especially away from the river’s mouth in those months as the currents forming here are often strong.

During summer months, the beach is great for swimming, even for children when the conditions are calm. Kids can enjoy the brackish pools that lie behind the beach close to the stream. They can float, swim, and fish here. Families are even able to allow the kids to play in the calmer bay at lower tide. Kayaks are often seen here where the bay becomes deeper. This is an ideal beach to bring a picnic too as it offers plenty of shade, is rarely overcrowded, and is easy to reach by car.

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Best swimming beaches in Kauai

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