Poipu Beach Park in Kauai (Kid friendly beach with great snorkeling!)

Poipu beach Kauai Hawaii
Poipu beach Kauai Hawaii

Poipu Beach Park: Full guide to visiting

Poipu Beach has repeatedly been voted the #1 beach in America. Not surprisingly, this beach is a complete package, and exactly what you think of when you imagine the perfect Hawaiian getaway.

It features clear blue water, gentle rolling waves, and even lava rock outcroppings that are great to snorkel around. It’s no surprise that one of Kaui’s most popular resort areas sprung up around this amazing beach.

Poipu Beach Quick Tips

  • Other Names: Poipu Beach Park
  • Best for: All around beach
  • Famous for: Kid friendly beach with great snorkeling. Also, being voted #1 beach in America
  • Times I visited: Saturday and Sunday afternoon
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, picnic tables
  • Lifeguards: yes
  • Parking: Free lots as well as a few public spots in the resorts lining the shore

Poipu Beach Location

Poipu is located on the southern coast of Kauia on the eastern side of the island. It is about a 25 minute drive from the airport.

What To Expect

Clear blue water and wide stretches of sand are not the only thing you will find on this amazing crescent shaped beach. Great snorkeling and lots of families.

Sandbar Creating A Perfect Swim Spot for Kiddos

There is a sandbar that cuts across the cove and blocks the waves from coming further in. While this does block the waves for those that are hoping to boogie board or surf, it creates a perfect shallow pool for the kids to swim in.

Poipu beach sandbar
Poipu beach sandbar

Poipu Beach Snorkeling

Kauai is famous for having some truly tremendous snorkeling spots. The best snorkeling is around large coral reefs. My favorite spots are Tunnels Beach and Ke’e Beach on the north side of the island of Kauai.

Poipu Beach doesn’t have the abundant reefs that those beaches have, and it is a fairly long drive to get there. That being said, don’t think that you can’t still enjoy some really good snorkeling on this beach.

Rocky Outcroppings Create a Snorkel Opportunity

Generally, if you have calm waters with rocks jutting out into the water you can expect a ton of natural sealife to be there.

There are a couple of rocky outcroppings that attack all different kinds of sealife here. While the Poipu Beach snorkeling it isn’t the best snorkeling in Kauai, it certainly is a spot where you can put on your mask and find some unique sea creatures.

You will not have to search for a long time hoping to catch some fish, inevitably they will already be there once you look under the water!

Other good snorkeling beaches in Kauai:

  1. Ke’e Beach (permit needed in advance) Read more here.
  2. Hideaway Beach (amazing snorkeling here!!)
  3. Poipu Beach
  4. Anini Beach

More Gentle Consistent Waves

If you are looking for intense waves to surf on, then this probably isn’t your beach. The waves usually are much more gentle which can be great for beginning boogie boarders or inexperienced surfer though.

Poipu Beach Facilities

This beach has lifeguards, restrooms, showers, and picnic tables.

Poipu Beach Park in Kauai Hawaii
Poipu Beach Park in Kauai Hawaii

Poipu Beach Rentals

There are a number of shops just off of the shore if you want to rent your own surf or snorkel equipment.

Poiopu Beach Parking

This is where things can get a little difficult as so much noteriety attracts lots of potential visitors. There are a couple of general access parking lots across the beach, and there are a few non-private parking spots in the resorts lining the shore (Hawaii requirement).

While the spots often fill up, I’ve still been able to find one on busy weekend afternoon if I spent a little bit of time circling. Hopefully you stay at a nearby shore and can walk directly onto the sands.

Poipu beach parking


Unfortunately with all the noteriety this beach receives it makes a good amount of people want to visit. While you aren’t going to be fighting for sand space like you sometimes have to on Waikiki in Honolulu, there will likely be more people here than on many of the other Kauai beaches.


  • Dresses – Packing a few good dresses is essential for Hawaii. Dresses have become my go to on trips to help quickly put an outfit together. Revolve is one of my go to shops for beach dresses. ASOS also has great summer dresses.
  • Shorts – Anyone who is traveling to Hawaii needs a good pair of shorts. Khakis are great for guys. For women, cute athletic shorts or denim shorts are perfect for a breezy summertime look. These Levi denim shorts are my current favorites! These high waisted athletic shorts have gone viral on instagram and for good reason, they are AMAZING.
  • Sandals – LOVE these Teva’s! They are my new go to travel sandal. Shop my favorite Teva’s here. They are great to wear in the water snorkeling and also amazing for hiking in Hawaii.
  • Sports braThis SKIMS bra is the most comfortable sports bra you will ever wear! Trust me. I travel with 5 of them. Also, highly recommend checking out the SKIMS fits everybody bra is to die for as well.
  • Tank tops – Free people is my go to place to buy cute and affordable tank tops. I have this tighten up tank in almost every color.
  • Hat – essential. Shop the newest hats at Nordstrom.
  • Beach cover-up – Having at least one good cover-up is essential on any beach trip. I recommend ASOSNordstrom and Revolve as well.
  • Hiking boots – I have two pairs of hiking boots that I love. My Columbia waterproof boots and my Salomon hiking boots. Highly recommend checking them both out! Warning – they both sell out really quick.
  • Tennis Shoes – I guess you could wear sandals hiking this trail but I would recommend tennis shoes. It can get narrow and slippery in parts. These Nike high tops are my current favs. They look so cute with shorts too!
  • Packing cubes – I always go to Urban Outfitters for my packing cubes. They have the cutest ones!
  • Quick Dry Travel Towel – This quick dry towel is amazing to travel with. It really will come in handy when you need extra room in your suitcase.
  • Snorkeling gear – for obvious reasons.

Planning a trip to Kauai? Read everything we know about Kauai here:

My husband and I have been to Kauai many, many times and have written up more guides to help you plan your trip. These are my most popular blog posts and Kauai travel guides to help you plan your trip.

Kauai Beaches

Best Beaches for Snorkeling on Kauai
Best Cliff Jumping in Kauai
More awesome beaches

Kauai Hiking Guides

Read about all the hikes we have done in Kauai here.

Read all other posts on Kauai here.

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Hey there! I'm Claire, the founder of avenlylane.com & avenlylanetravel.com. While spending 4 years completely bedridden and miserable from an unexpected illness I decided to begin writing about my past travel adventures and now the rest is history. Thank you so much for visiting the website. I hope you enjoy it!


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