12 Best Beaches in Kauai for Swimming

Kauai has some of the most breathtaking beaches, but with so many to choose from, it can be daunting to determine the best ones for a fun-filled day of swimming. Fear not!

Whether you’re an experienced and humble wave rider or just feel the need for some laid-back paddle boarding, these 12 beaches provide an idyllic setting for a Hawaiian swimmin’ holiday.

So grab your swimmies, your floaties, and a good slather of SPF – let’s take a dip into some of Kauai’s best swimming spots!

Are the Beaches in Kauai Safe to Swim In?

Let's face it - Kauai has some seriously stunning beaches, and you won't be blamed for wanting to take the plunge!

While the gently lapping waves of its idyllic shores may make it look like paradise on earth, you should still exercise caution when taking a dip on Kauai's beaches.

During the winter months in particular, conditions can change quickly and you never know what surprises await below the surface.

Always make sure you check the conditions and keep an eye out for the lifeguard flags.


1. Hanalei Beach

Got all your swimming gear in check? Are you ready for some fun in the sun?

Hanalei Bay is a stunning two-mile beach and is the premier spot for swimming on Kauai, with calm summer waters and convenient amenities at your fingertips.

Hanalei’s legendary pier splits the beach right down its middle, so there’s plenty of shore to spread out on.

Just beware of surfing waves during the winter – they can get pretty rough, so it’s best not to test those waters!

Hanalei Bay Kauai Hawaii
Hanalei Bay Kauai Hawaii

2. Tunnels Beach (Makua)

Tunnels Beach is the perfect destination for those looking to swim with a side of adventure.

During the summer months, swim, snorkel and bask in all the beauty this beach has to offer, with its gorgeous backdrop of mountains rising behind it.

The beach may be on the more remote end of northern Kauai, but don’t let that detour you; it’s just a 25 minutes drive from Princeville and just off Kuhio Highway.

You don’t have to sacrifice fun for seclusion – enjoy all that Tunnels Beach has to offer without fighting crowds!

But beware – when November rolls around, it’s not safe to swim in the waters.

Finding parking can also be tricky, but you can park at Haena Beach Park and take a stroll down to here.

3. Poipu Beach

If you’re looking for some fun in the sun, then Poipu Beach should be your destination of choice – snorkeling, sunbathing, swimming – they’ve all been approved by the locals.

With Kauai’s South Shore as its backdrop, Poipu Beach is a safe haven, protected from winter and summer swells, thanks to the cove and reef.

Oh! Plus it’s double the delight as there’s really two beaches in one – separated by a sand bar at Nukumoi Point.

Even better still is that you won’t have to share the beach with too many people; meet resident turtles and seals who are always happy for visitors.

If you fancy yourself a pro surfer, teeter down to Nukumoi Surf Co. to snag some top-notch tips from local experts.

And after your aquatic adventure, unwind with a picnic under the trees or tuck into Puka Dog Hawaiian Style Hot Dogs across the street.

The perfect balance between unique attractions and necessary amenities makes Poipu Beach undoubtedly one of the best beaches in Kauai for swimming!

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4. Ha’ena Beach Park

Ha’ena Beach Park is known for a variety of activities but swimming, particularly when conditions are calm, takes the cake.

The picture-perfect beach is gorgeous, with a long stretch of golden sand beneath towering cliffs.

There’s something special about taking in the contrast of turquoise water and lush jungle surrounding you – no wonder it’s such a popular spot!

Fortunately, despite its popularity, Ha’ena Beach Park can still feel like your own private paradise.

Be sure to take advantage of the picnic tables, BBQ grills, and snack shack (with delicious sandwiches and fresh fruit) when you stop by!

Kiahuna Beach Kauai
Kiahuna Beach Kauai

5. Kiahuna Beach

Kiahuna Beach is like the Goldilocks of Kauai’s beaches – it’s just right! Swimmers, boogie boarders, people-watchers and sunbathers all come for a visit to this golden sandy paradise.

Enjoy a day frolicking in the sun and surf, then stick around for the incredible Aulii Luau, one of the best luaus you’ll find on Kauai.

And if you’re looking for a unique experience, this might just be your spot – monk seals are known to love a good sunbathing session here too.

If you’re up for a bit of a challenge, its choppy surf during winter months serves up an exciting game of boogie boarding or the old-school move of jumping in the waist-high waves.

Don’t forget the sunscreen when you come! This beach offers great fun but without any shade, so make sure you bring an umbrella.

6. Kalihiwai Beach

Kalihiwai Beach is a pleasant paradise for those looking to beat the heat and go for a dip this summer.

With lots of shade and typically calm waters, it’s the perfect beach for an afternoon hideaway by the sea.

As you drive down Kalihiwai Road, you’ll catch sight of this lovely cove at the end, which boasts leadwood trees that line up along its shores.

In addition, there’s a shallow lagoon area that’s a mix of both warm salt and fresh water; it’s a real hit with younger beachgoers!

7. Ke’e Beach

Ke’e Beach is considered the crown jewel of beaches in Kauai, and it’s easy to see why.

With its crystal clear waters, white sandy beach and a beautiful coral reef located just offshore – this beach has something for everyone!

The highlight here just might be spotting green sea turtles as they swim in the turquoise waves, but don’t forget to check out some of Kauai’s other locally-treasured aquatic creatures like triggerfish and flying fish.

Families can splash around in its lagoon-like waters and dreamers can watch the spectacular Na Pali Coast and magical sunset over the horizon.

For anyone looking for the perfect location to capture that special moment, couples all over come here for wedding shots practically year round.

Despite all that it offers, swimming at Ke’e Beach is only recommended from April through October due to potential big swells – so always make sure to keep an eye on those lifeguard flags.

Kee Beach Kauai
Ke'e Beach Kauai

8. Baby Beach

Baby Beach is very small, but it packs a big punch for the little kids. Its natural rocky breakwater keeps things calm and shallow, by far the best spot for swimming in Kauai if you’ve got toddlers.

The reef ensures there’s always a protected pool of tidal fun and absolutely no waves to worry about.

And if that isn’t enough to get you itching to take the kiddos there, lifeguards just add an extra layer of safety to sweeten your next family trip.

A word of warning though, if you plan on getting in for a snorkel with the turtles, make sure you bring some water shoes as there are some rocky entry points.

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9. Anahola Beach

Anahola Beach is a paradise of swimming beaches, alive with the sound of children’s laughter, punctuated by the occasional crashing wave.

With its 1/2-mile length of pristine white sand, this Kauai gem is the perfect spot for an afternoon dip and a lazy day in the sun.

Best of all, the surrounding reef wall provides extra protection from the surf; you don’t have to be an Olympic champion to take a swim safely!

Whether it’s a family vacation or just you looking for some ocean therapy, Anahola Beach is sure to please.

10. Anini Beach

Skip the busier Hanalei Bay and head to Anini Beach instead; this slice of paradise packs a punch with its sandy beach entry and warm shallow waters that set swimmers up for success.

It’s a bit tucked away, so it’s not as crowded as other beaches on the island.

If you’re after a swim with some good depth, you can easily find a spot near the reef where you’ll be closer to Mother Nature’s finest.

During those North Shore winter swells, Anini Beach tends to stay relatively calm. But don’t forget, Kauai can be unpredictable; keep an eye out for rogue waves that crest over the reef – it happens!

Don’t worry about getting too hot either, the beach is lined with shady palms and Kamani trees so there’s plenty of room for shelter from the sun. Now that’s what we call paradise!

11. Kalapaki Beach

If you’re lucky enough to be in Kauai, there’s no question as to which beach is the best for swimming – Kalapaki Beach.

Located in Lihue with a stunning crescent of golden sand and its own break wall, it’s the perfect spot for a refreshing dip.

With food trucks, restaurants and plenty of shops nearby, you can easily move from sea-dipping to shopping without much fuss.

And if stand-up paddleboarding is more your style, Kalapaki Beach has you covered.

Even better? Its grassy backdrop makes for a perfect lounging spot after your wave-side adventures.

We think we’ve crowned the champion: Kalapaki Beach has earned itself top swimmer status!

12. Lydgate Beach Park

Lydgate Beach Park is the place to go for families ready to make a splash. Locals call it the Keiki Pool because it’s made for young swimmers, but – let’s face it – adults love it too!

With a large double-sectioned rock pool, Lydgate Beach Park is a safe swimming alternative to Kauai’s wild ocean waves.

The smaller pool is great for waddlers, while the bigger pool is ideal for those seeking some mermaid-like adventures.

You might spot tropical fish swimming in and out of view through the man-made walls – now that’s sure to make any beach day unforgettable!