Top 5 Family-Friendly Beaches on Kauai

In Places by Makana Charters

Being on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean,  the island of Kauai is blessed with countless beaches of all shapes and sizes.  However, the tranquil setting and crystal blue waters tell only part of the story.  Underneath the surface the currents can be very dangerous, and many people have lost their lives to the harsh ocean conditions. Local surfers , divers or just swimmers watch and study the waves and current for a few minutes before jumping into the water.  Waves comes in minute cycles. Meaning,  a wave this minute and no waves the next.  Rip tides and currents are another dangerous factor. Its a good practice to wait a few minutes before jumping in, we do it and you should to.  In this list you have a natural reef that helps protect and minimize the waves and current condition.

From a native view and to help our guests out while here on Kauai, we have created a things to do in Kauai list.  Here is some of the best Kauai beaches for the whole family to enjoy.  We hand-picked this to be in our things to do list in Kauai with family,  safety, beauty, and fun for you and your family.  As always, kids should always be under constant supervision – anything can go wrong no matter how safe a beach is.  Also, these beaches includes lifeguard station, picnic tables,  fresh water showers and restrooms.

Here is our list of Top 5 Family-Friendly Kauai Beaches that we recommend.

Salt Pond –    This Kauai beaches is a favorite for locals, and can get busy on the weekends.  The pavilions are often packed with music, barbecues, and good times.  Right in front of the sandy shoreline is a protected lagoon that blocks the incoming waves, and a lifeguard station is occupied most of the time in case something does go wrong.  A large grassy field also allows for other activities as well.  There is even an extra-shallow section for toddlers and kids who are just learning to swim.

Kauai Beaches Salt Pond

Notice how the rocks create a barrier from the waves, allowing Children to swim safely.

Notice how the rocks create a barrier from the waves, allowing Children to swim safely.

To get here: Located just outside Hanapepe on Kauai’s west side.  To get here, take highway 50 west through Hanapepe and just as you are leaving town, look for the sign directing you to turn left.  Follow the road to the end or turn right just past the cemetary; both roads will take you directly to Salt Pond Park.

Poipu Beach Park –  Located on the South shore of the island just past the sleepy town of Koloa, Poipu is a great family-friendly Kauai beach spot for snorkeling, sunbathing, children’s playground and surfing.   There is usually a lifeguard on duty as well.  There is a great shallow wading area for small children, and even if they can’t swim yet, will be able to see many different types of fish swimming all around.

The shallow lagoon is ideal for small children.

Poipu Beach park – The shallow lagoon is ideal for small children

To get here: Take Highway 50 past Lihue. Roughly 6 miles out of town will be a sign for Hwy 520 pointing to your left.   

Kalapaki Beach – Just outside of Lihue is Nawililwili (now wily wily) harbor.  This tranquil bay is the major port for Kauai, which is a testament to how safe it can be for swimming.  There is not much current here, and the waves get just big enough for some fun body surfing or boogie boarding.  Still, you must exercise caution, but if you have older kids who are too big for the shallow end but not big enough to be in open surf, this is a great spot to take them.  Not to mention there are ample shops and restaurants nearby to satisfy any craving.  When it’s time for a rest from the hot sun, check out the Marriott to see a more luxurious side of Kauai.

Looking toward Nawilliwili beach. The famous Marriott hotel sits behind.

Looking toward Kalapaki beach. The famous Marriott hotel sits behind.

Anini – ( ahkneeknee) This beach has it all:  Camping, snorkeling, sunbathing, even tree climbing!  There is also a big grassy field for playing your favorite activities.  The lagoon surrounding the beach extends a long ways offshore, giving you plenty of room for swimming and snorkeling in a relatively safe atmosphere.

Looking east from the beach toward the lighthouse

Anini- Looking east from the beach toward the lighthouse

Anini Park-Plenty of open grassy space for fun family activities!

Anini Park-Plenty of open grassy space for fun family activities!

Ke’e (Summer Only) – At the end of the road on the north shore lies Ke’e beach.  It is where two coasts collide, and lies the beginning of the Na Pali coast and the world-famous Kalalau Trail.  When the road hits the ocean you will find Ke’e and its’ picture-perfect lagoon.  This is only recommended in the summer – in the winter the surf is heavy and the currents make for a dangerous spot.  But when the water is calm, this beach is a great place to take your children to swim and snorkel safely.  For those looking to hike, you can always begin the trek down the Na Pali coast toward Kalalau and turn back whenever you like – you should at least try the first quarter mile, where the trail winds up hundreds of feet above the water, giving you a wide panoramic view of the coastline, cliffs, and beach below.  In the right season you can find wild guava growing on the side of the trail, which both kids and adults will enjoy picking fresh fruit straight off the tree.

Lydgate Adventure Bridge

Lydgate Adventure Bridge Kauai Family Activites

Lydgate Park – 
Conveniently located between the towns of Kapaa and Lihue on Kauai’s east side is Lydgate park.  This state park has a sheltered lagoon where a rock-walled breakwater protects the inner shallow waters, which makes for ideal snorkeling and swimming conditions.  Please keep in mind that although the water is often safe for swimming, the ocean is always wild and predictable and children should be supervised at all times.

In addition to the beach, there is also a one-of-a-kind playground that the whole family will enjoy exploring.  Picnic tables and restrooms are also available.

We hope you enjoyed our guide to the top family friendly Kauai beaches.  To see more things to do all around Kauai, please visit our Facebook Page for new articles coming out all the time.

We hope to see you on Kauai!

This guide is brought to you by Makana Charters, a local Hawaiian family owned tour boat based out of Waimea on Kauai’s West side.   We offer daily trips to the spectacular Na Pali coast, a natural wonder not to be missed.  We are providing this things to do in Kauai list to give you and our guests the best possible experience while visiting our island paradise.  See more on makanacharters.com

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