Home to some of the most breathtaking beaches in the world, it’s no surprise that Kauai offers snorkeling second to none. From the tropical north shore to the sunny south side, visitors can get up-close-and-personal with an array of dazzling marine life. Snorkelers can expect to see sea turtles (Honu), Parrot fish, Trigger fish, Wrasses, Butterfly fish, Flounder and the Devil Scorpion fish, just to name a few. Not to mention live coral, which we take extra precaution to avoid, in order to protect the reef. So where can you get the most bang for your buck? Here are the best beaches to snorkel in the Poipu area:
Poipu Beach Park
Located in the heart of Poipu, this well known beach park is divided into two halves. The left side offers a calm, protected baby beach (complete with lifeguard) and the right, in front of Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club, offers the ideal area for snorkeling, stand up paddling and swimming. Poipu Beach Park also offers pavilions and picnic tables for barbecues or celebrating a birthday. Just across the way is Nukumoi Surf Shop. An aqua colored building adorned with surfboards, this is your one stop shop for masks, fins and every other snorkeling necessities.
During the winter months the north shore’s swells grow massive while the south side becomes almost lake-like. This of course is the ideal time to go snorkeling. Brennecke’s beach, located just to the left of Poipu Beach Park is typically a boogie-boarder’s dream. With perfect barrels for the young and young-at-heart. However during the winter, this bay offers a tranquil place to look for Honu (sea turtles) and exotic fish. If you’ve worked up an appetite in the water be sure to stop by Brennecke’s Beach Broiler restaurant, which can be found across the street (Hoone Rd) next to Nukumoi Surf Shop.
Lawai Beach can be found right out front of the Beach House Restaurant and Lawai Beach Resort. Made up of a slender stretch of sand, this is the perfect beach to hop right in the water and get started. For ultimate ease, it is recommended to put on your fins in the water, but if you put them on before going in, walk backwards from the shore. Watch for rocks and sizable waves as you enter. Remember to come early as this beach can fill up fast!
Located just down the road from the private collection of luxury condo rentals known as Whaler’s Cove Resort is Koloa Landing. When calm conditions are present, this loading area for boats offers quite the show for snorkelers. Known for having a large turtle population you are sure to make some new underwater friends. Honu are protected so be sure not to touch them! And of course do not feed fish. The idea is to follow by their example: simply float and observe.
Drive past the beautiful Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and you’ll find yourself on an island style dirt road. Down this path (past the horse stables) you will find the secret gem that is Mahaulepu. While the trek to get there is more challenging than other beaches, the payoff is more than worth it. This quiet, less populated beach offers gorgeous blue waters to snorkel in. Always remember to trust yourself, know your limits and judge the weather accordingly before heading in. Bring a partner to share the fun!
Looking to go further out and explore deeper waters? Be sure to check out Blue Dolphin Charters, Captain Andy’s, HoloHolo Charters, Kauai Sea Tours, Outfitters Kauai and SeaSport Divers for personalized boating, kayak, snorkel and Scuba trips! Whether you’re looking to stay off the south side or venture to the Na Pali Coast, they’re here to help!