Po'ipu Beach picture1 of 4
Po'ipu Beach2 of 4
EllenSmile/Getty Images

Price & Hours

Free
24/7 daily

Details

Beaches, Swimming/Pools, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.1scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 3.5Atmosphere

Po'ipu Beach is considered one of the most popular beaches in Kauai. This small shoreline situated on the southern shore of the island appeals to many types of beachgoers thanks to its golden sands, calm waters and convenient location in the heart of the Po'ipu resort area. Here, sun seekers can easily kick back, relax and layout for hours in between the palm trees while those with kiddos needn't worry about heavy waves interrupting a family swim. Those looking for a little more adventure can enjoy boogie boarding (the beach features small waves) and snorkeling.

Poi'pu's versatility can be attributed to its tombola, or sandbar, that sits in the middle of the beach, affording two types of swimming environments. Little kids can wade around the left side's shallow, calm waters while more advanced swimmers and snorkelers explore the open bay on the right side. What's more, if you visit during the right time of year, you can get an eyeful of local wildlife. During migrating season (December to May), you may be able to spot humpback whales spouting in the distance. And on the shore, you may see some endangered Hawaiian monk seals taking a siesta. The downside to Po'ipu's popularity is there's very little chance for privacy here, especially in the peak travel season.

Recent travelers agreed that Po'ipu is a beach worth visiting in Kauai, especially if you're taking a family vacation. Those traveling with kids were quite complimentary of the safe swimming conditions as well as the adjacent grassy beach park, which features picnic tables, benches and pavilions perfect for a picnic. Other beachgoers were particularly thrilled watching the monk seals and turtles swim ashore, though cautioned getting too close. Some said lifeguards keep watch over the wildlife just as much as swimmers and if a person is found disturbing local wildlife, they could incur a hefty fine and even imprisonment. Despite all its perks, some travelers found the beach to be underwhelming and recommended venturing to more scenic north shore beaches for fewer crowds. 

There are no set hours for Po'ipu Beach, however, it is not advised to swim at night or anytime a lifeguard is not present. You can find Po'ipu Beach in the Po'ipu Beach resort area, which features a variety of hotels, restaurants and shopping options, in southern Kauai. For more information about Po'ipu Beach, visit the Hawaii tourism 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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