Best Beaches for Snorkeling on Kauai

The ocean holds so much beauty above the surface and especially below–the vivid colors of tropical fish, encounters with turtles, the sound of whale song, etc. One way to experience the beauty below is to go snorkeling and Kauai offers many great snorkeling beaches.  A favorite little beach on the South Shore is Lawai Beach (Prince Kuhio), located just pass the Beach House restaurant. There is an abundance of reef here that makes for lots of fish to see. Commonly seen fish include parrotfish, tangs, raccoon-fish, and butterfly fish, as well as Hawaiian green sea turtles. Also, this is a fairly gentle spot to enter and exit the water, making this a great spot for beginners. The only thing to be aware of is, sometimes, the current is strong during big south swells in the summer.

On Kauai’s western shore, Salt Pond Beach Park has a number of protected shallow pools that offer great snorkeling for the little ones and beginners. The water is generally quite clear here, and the outer reef/Lava wall help keep the water fairly calm. You may encounter wrasse, parrotfish, tangs and humuhumunukunukuapua’a (Hawaiian state fish, aka rectangular trigger-fish).

Kauai’s east shore offers another great learning spot, where you will see tons of fish, called Lydgate Park. It can be found just off the highway adjacent to the Wailua River. The man-made rock walls that protect the two pools keep the crashing waves out but allow the reef fish to slip through into the ponds. You can expect to see tangs, moray eels, butterfly fish, humuhumunukunukuapua’a, wrasse, goatfish and parrotfish among some cauliflower coral.

During the summer months, Makua Beach (Tunnels) on the north shore of Kauai is a beautiful spot for beginners and advanced snorkelers. Advanced snorkelers who are strong swimmers will enjoy heading out to the horseshoe-shaped outer reef about 0.25 miles offshore that is clearly visible at low tide. While snorkeling Tunnels, you may encounter plenty of green sea turtles, monk seals, yellow-stripe cloris, humuhumunukunukuapua’a, white tipped reef sharks, goat-fish, porcupine puffer-fish, moral eels, parrot-fish, tangs and rainbow cleaner wrasse.

Now that you know some of the spots all you need is to rent that snorkel gear and get out there!