The crystal clear ocean waters of Kauai create the perfect environment for snorkeling. The warm waters and thriving reef system make it a natural choice for snorkeling. One of the reasons the reef system is so spectacular is it has been developing for millions of years. It has become a habitat for hundreds of species of fish, some of which are found nowhere else in the world. Plus, snorkel gear is available for rent at just about every hotel or oceanside attraction so it’s easy to grab a mask, snorkel and some fins and swim around the waters to explore the underwater world of Kauai.
The Best Beaches to Snorkel in Kauai
1) Anini Beach
Home to the longest reef on the island, Anini Beach is located on Kauai’s North Shore. The water here is fairly shallow and the reef features underwater canyons with ample sea life. In addition, the offshore reef creates a lagoon where snorkeling is safe year-round.
2) Poipu Beach
The reef here has sea cucumbers in residence and snorkelers frequently spot sea turtles at Poipu Beach. This South Shore Kauai beach is also home to endangered Hawaiian monk seals, which you can see sunning on the beach. Keep in mind this beach is very popular. As such, it's best to go in the morning to beat the crowds.
3) Tunnels Beach
Also known as Makua Beach, Tunnels Beach is the quintessential spot to snorkel in Kauai, with amazing mountain views surrounding the beach. The reef here is horseshoe shaped and is home to bright corals, a variety of fish including the vibrant Humuhumunukunukuapua’a, wrasse, and parrotfish.
4) Kee Beach
Kee Beach is a great option for beginner snorkelers as the lagoon is protected from waves by reefs. Home to plenty of colorful fish and Pacific green sea turtles, views of the Na Pali Coast add to the scenery. Keep in mind Kee Beach snorkeling conditions can be dangerous at times. As a result, be aware of ocean conditions before you go.
5) Na Pali Coast
It’s impossible to make a list of the best places to snorkel in Kauai without mentioning the Na Pali Coast. This remote yet breathtaking stretch of coastline is not as easy to access as the other options. In fact, you’ll need to book a Na Pali Coast snorkeling cruise to experience this Kauai snorkeling spot.
A half-day tour allows you to witness the pristine waters of Na Pali. During your excursion, you’ll travel under waterfalls and into sea caves (when conditions permit), encounter playful dolphins, turtles, whales (in season) and more.
Grab Your Gear & Go!
Wherever you snorkel in Kauai you’re sure to experience an underwater world teeming with sea life. Try to go early in the morning as that is when viewing is best. And, stay safe! Be sure to snorkel with a buddy, stay out of the choppy water and avoid touching the reefs. Most of all though, have fun as you explore the sea!