Kalapaki Beach picture
jorgemir/Flickr

Key Info

Rice Road

Price & Hours

Free
24/7 daily

Details

Beaches, Swimming/Pools, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.2

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Despite its close proximity to the airport, cruise port and multiple hotels, travelers maintain Kalapaki Beach is a relaxing spot. The beach is located on the west side of the island in Lihue, an area known for friendlier swimming conditions and easy access to amenities. Kalapaki is an especially swimmer-friendly shoreline because of the nearby Nawiliwili Bay, which features a jetty and breakwaters that stop big waves from coming in. As such, this won't be the most exciting surf spot, but rather the perfect place for a relaxing dip or an afternoon of paddleboarding. And thanks to its location right in back of the popular Kauai Marriott Resort, travelers are steps away from eateries, shops on Rice Street, as well as water sport rentals.

While recent visitors do agree that Kalapaki is perfect for a soothing afternoon under the sun, some said that when cruise ships are in port, the beach does experience more visitors. And although this beach is backed by a Marriott property, it does not have lifeguards, so be mindful of conditions and don't swim at night. There are no set hours for Kalapaki Beach and it is free to visit, even if you aren't a Marriott guest. For more information on Kalapaki Beach, visit its website

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More Best Things To Do in Kauai

Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Park1 of 8
Napali Coast 2 of 8
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Park

Waimea Canyon, aptly nicknamed the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific," should be at the top of every traveler's itinerary. This 14-mile-long, mile-wide and approximately 3,600-feet deep gorge is awash with spectacular scenery difficult to find elsewhere on the Hawaiian islands. Here, you'll find craggy red cliffsides and crested buttes blanketed in lush, evergreen vegetation as far as the eye can see, with waterfalls and rivers dotted in between. Most travelers who visit Waimea Canyon choose to take in the sight by car, as there are multiple lookout points situated along Koke'e Road, including the popular Waimea Canyon and Puu Hinahina lookout points. If you're hoping to explore outside your car, there are trails in the canyon that range from easy to difficult. Many trailheads can be found off of Koke'e Road, with some, including the Cliff Trail Lookout and the Waipo'o Falls Trail, accessible from the Pu'u Hinahina lookout point. Helicopter tours are another great way to view the canyon from all angles.

While at Waimea Canyon, be sure to pop over to the equally stunning Koke'e State Park. What makes Koke'e Park so interesting is that despite being right next to Waimea Canyon, the park has a completely different makeup. Koke'e Park occupies thousands of acres of rainforest, and as such produces a different microclimate (the farther you drive up Koke'e, the colder it gets). Like Waimea, travelers commonly explore the park via car, as the main road through Koke'e cuts through the park. While here, be sure to visit the Kalalau Lookout and the Pu'u O Kila Lookout for stunning views of the Napali Cliffs. If you want to get even closer, consider taking the Awa'awapuhi Trail, which takes hikers to the edge of some of Napali's famous cliffs. Another trail worth trekking is the Alakai Swamp Trail, which spends more time going through the park's rainforest. Wherever you decide to hike, whether it's in Waimea Canyon or Koke'e, bring proper hiking shoes to avoid falling from the slippery mud often found on Kauai trails. 

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