- Natural Wonders, Swimming/Pools Type
- 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
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If you're looking for a great place to snorkel in Kauai, head to Tunnels Beach. Tunnels Beach is located on the north shore of Kauai in Wainiha, about 2 miles east of the Kalalau Trail and 9 miles west of Princeville. The beach offers an expansive reef that is suitable for both novice and experienced snorkelers. Travelers can expect to see batches of coral, small sea caves and tunnels as well as wildlife, such as turtles, plenty of colorful fish, and if you're lucky, a Hawaiian monk seal. If you're not up for snorkeling, visitors say this beach is still worth a trip for its fantastic location. Here, the water is clear, palm trees abound and if you look toward the west, you can admire the cluster of lush, jagged peaks that flank the beach.
There are lifeguards stationed at Tunnels Beach and regularly posted signs outline the day's conditions. If there are signs discouraging visitors from swimming and snorkeling, do listen, as the north shore is known for being a lot rougher than southern beaches. If you're still unsure of conditions, just ask the lifeguard. It's advised that novice snorkelers stay close to the shore in the inner reef; only advanced snorkelers should venture to the outer reef, which features steep drop-offs and is subject to stronger currents. There aren't bathroom facilities at Tunnels Beach but there is some at the nearby Haena Beach Park, which is a little more than a half-mile southwest. Recent visitors also warned that parking is a problem, so plan to arrive as early as 9 a.m. if you don't want to walk too far. For more information on Tunnels Beach and other snorkeling hot spots, visit the Hawaii tourism board's website.
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