Best Beaches for Snorkeling in Kauai

Above the water and below it, Kauai is a natural wonder. Its rainbow-colored cliffs, stunning bluggs and overlooks, and tranquil beaches make it one of Hawaii's most spectacular islands. But you haven't truly experienced all of Kauai's beauty until you've gone snorkeling or diving to see the world beneath the sea.

Kauai beaches are plentiful, and many are great for snorkeling. But to know what beaches in Kauai are best for snorkeling, read on!

Hideaways Pali Ke Kau Beach -- North Shore

Kauai Snorkeling Pali Ke Kau
SixPipes on Tripadvisor

Located near the St. Regis Resort in Princeville, Kauai, you can find Hideaways by heading down a steep path. Watch your step! Once you're on the gorgeous, crescent-shaped beach, you have a good chance of spotting sea turtles during certain times of year. For the best of this beach, boo ka stay at Pali Ke Kua. That will give you access to the private section of the beachj, which is perfect for quiet snorkeling. If not, you can access the other parts of the coastline here via steep trails.

Kahili Beach -- North Shore

Kahilli Beach Snorkeling
H Tours Hawaii

A former coastal quarry, this beach is extremely secluded and has lots of fun to explore. A main area links pools and secluded hideaways. To find the secret spot here, face the ocean and head to the right side of the beach. There's a small rock outcropping you can climb over to discover a small but secluded sandy area, like a beach all your own. If you don't go to this little section, the main beach area is still almost always quiet. If there are more than a few people around, check out the "secret" area for even more snorkeling, and see how private this beach can really get!

Poipu Beach -- South Shore

Poipu Beach Snorkeling Kauai
Heath Cajandig [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Poipu Beach is beautiful but popular, with lots of shallows for snorkeling. The beach is made up of a series of crescents of sand, forming natural little bays where you can bubble along watching the crabs, fish, and other underwater wildlife. When you're done exploring, just relax and enjoy. You'll quickly understand why this beach has been called one of America's best. That honor, however, does mean it can get more crowded than the others, so go during a weekday if you can. Parking is plentiful and closeby, so you don't have to hike in or worry about being away from civilization.

Kipu Kai Beach -- South Shore

Kipu Kai Beach Snorkeling
SoMuchMoreHawaii.com

This secret beach is not accessible by land. That makes it hard to access, but also means the crowds here are non-existent. Tourists don't even know about it! And it's so beautiful, it is a Hollywood star. You can see it making appearances in movies like Jurassic Park, The Descendants, and King Kong, among others. The secret to getting there is booking a boat. If the water is calm enough, you could get there by kayak, but heavy surf often makes this too unsafe. For that reason, getting to this beach is half the fun. And once you're there, the deserted setting makes for world-class snorkeling.

Milolii Beach -- West Shore

Milolii Beach Snorkeling
LookIntoHawaii.com

Like Kipu Kai Beach, this is another one that can be accessed by boat. That means as much privacy as you can handle, but also requires some planning ahead. Book a boat charter to take you through one of the channels through coral reefs leading to the landing. You can also legally paddle a kayak here. Once you arrive the beach is all yours, and you can snorkel your hearts out through the coral habitats, filled with a variety of fish species. You can hike here as well, but be sure to stay on trail and respect the locals! The beach is beautiful, volcanic black sand, and like all of Hawaii's black sand beaches, gives a one of a kind experience. Because it's so off the beaten path, you'll never find many tourists here at any given time.

Hanamaulu Beach -- East Shore

Hanamaulu Beach Snorkeling
TripAdvisor

This beach is extremely picturesque. It's also conve nient, as it's located close to the airport. The tradeoff of this convenience is that planes occasionally fly overhead at somewhat low altitude. As for the snorkeling, however, it's spectacular. Snorkelers here are rewarded with a chance to view some truly stunning fish in the brilliant coves and shallow-water ring of coastline.

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