Hawaii: Kauai beach vacation travel guide

Dec 16, 2022

Kauai is the oldest isle of the Hawaiian chain, and it's known as the "Garden Island" thanks to its lush vegetation. Full of jagged cliffs, deep valleys and rainforests rich with biodiversity, the island is somewhat less developed than its neighbors and offers a quieter, nature-rich Hawaiian experience. 

Travelzoo tip: Kauai is the wettest of the Hawaiian islands. Rainy season is November to March, something to keep in mind as you plan your beach vacation. 

Visit Na Pali Coast State Park to tour historic outdoor sites, or check out Waimea Canyon. Full of deep valleys and sheer cliffs (some plunging up to 900 meters deep), it was nicknamed the Grand Canyon of the Pacific by Mark Twain. Na Pali Coast is best enjoyed by boat. Sail around the coastline and gaze in awe at the waterfalls that spill out into the ocean. Or hike to Wailua Falls or Opaekaa Falls and swim in a waterfall pool.

Travelzoo tip: Kauai’s age means it has the most established reef lagoons. Some of Hawaii's best snorkeling can be found around the Garden Isle.  

Kauai beach guide

The occasional burst of rain is no reason to stay away from the beautiful beaches of Kauai. For visitors looking for a beach reward the moment they land, Kepuhu Beach is located just 30 minutes away from Kauai's airport. Once you've settled in, Kee Beach and Tunnels Beach, located on the north shore of Kauai, are well worth visiting.  Anini Beach  has great snorkeling spots. Some of the best sunsets can be found at Baby Beach, a protected cove with ankle-deep waters perfect for families.

Polihale Beach, located on the west side of the island, is more secluded than other beaches. It takes a little bit of effort to get there, as you’ll need to navigate through sand dunes and bumpy roads, but you’ll be rewarded with sweeping stretches of golden sand.

Travelzoo tip: Polihale Beach has camp sites for visitors. It's far removed from the light pollution of a big city, making for some epic stargazing.

Kauai's famous Poipu Beach is composed of three crescents, and is a perfect destination for families and beginner swimmers. The beaches are flaked by hugely popular resorts such as the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa. 

Travelzoo tip: If you’re lucky, you just might see sea turtles and monk seals on the shores of Poipu Beach.

Surfing is a huge draw in Hawaii, and Kauai is no exception. Beginner surfers should visit  Kiahuna Beach, while our more advanced sports enthusiasts can try their luck at Polihale Beach or Haena Beach

Hanalei Beach is the largest bay on the north shore, consisting of several beach parks. A popular destination with surfers in the winter, when waves are wildest, it is a picturesque spot with piers for fishing, and small boat ramps for kayak and paddle boarders. Not to far away is Hanalei Town, with many restaurants, shops and galleries.  

Lumahai Beach is a favourite with locals, and it's gorgeous, with a slice of sand backed by mountains and lava rock. However, the waters are deep, with rough rip currents and powerful waves. 


Browse our Hawaii deals or visit our Hawaii beach vacation guide for more inspiration.

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