Planning a trip to Kauai with kids? YAY! It’s one of our most favorite places on the planet! Knowing what to do and where to go with kids though can be tough – especially so with young kids. The beaches in Kauai are AMAZING! But, there are many spots (especially so depending on what time of year you’re there), that aren’t the best for kids. In fact, some spots aren’t safe for swimming AT ALL – kids or adults. So, no matter what beach you’re headed to, it’s good to always keep an eye on conditions and ask officials/locals in the area on any given day. But, after two trips to the island (and planning another soon), we’ve found some beaches that we think are especially awesome – and work great for families with kids.
Here are our top 5 picks as best Kauai family-friendly beaches (with a bonus option at the end):
We’re starting our list on the southwestern side of the island and will work our way around all the way to the “end of the road” on Kauai’s famed North Shore!
1. Salt Pond Beach – South/Western Shore
Important Notes: Easy access, free public parking, bathrooms & showers, some picnic tables and ramadas. Lifeguard stationed here.
We spent an evening at Salt Pond Beach and loved it! Clearly, you can see that it’s an epic sunset spot! The reef and smooth rock break make this a GREAT spot with younger kids. Here we discovered a number of shallow pools that the kids LOVED exploring. Most were shallow enough for our then 2 year old to splash around in, but still plenty fun for our 7 year old. We loved searching for creatures and found an incredible number of sea cucumbers here!
2. Poipu Beach Park – South Shore
Important Notes: Easy access, public parking, great facilities (bathrooms, etc), lifeguards stationed here.
Poipu beach is BY far the most popular on the south shore – but with GOOD reason! There’s these great crescent-shaped sections of beach, with reef on both sides. It makes for some fantastic wading areas for young kids and can be some great snorkeling for bigger kids and adults! We loved it here! But note, it seems that everyone loves it here! Given the NUMEROUS resort properties & rentals in the area, there can sometimes be A LOT of people here!
3. Anini Beach – North Shore
Important Notes: Easy access, public parking, bathrooms facilities, no lifeguards stationed here.
Oh Anini Beach, it was just so calm and beautiful! The long reef break helps protect the area from big waves, making it a better option for families with little ones! And, thanks to a tip from our guide at the Na’aina Kai Botanical Gardens (which I recommend), we headed to Anini in the morning…and swam with sea turtles!!! It was amazing!!! Love it!
Pu’u Poa Beach – North Shore
Important Notes: NOT easy access, very limited public parking, no facilities, no lifeguards stationed here.
Located at the north end of the Princeville area, this beach is most frequently visited by guests of the St. Regis and Hanalei Bay Resort (which we LOVED – you can read about our stay here: Great Kauai Hotels for Families). The beach is not private though and there are public access stairs and a small amount of public parking located near the St. Regis. The kids LOVED splashing in the calm, shallow waters here. And as adults, we LOVED the view. It’s incredible! Looking out at the famous Bali Hai point, the view from here (especially at sunset) is hard to beat.
Ke’e Beach – end of the road, North Shore
Important Notes: Easy access, limited public parking, bathroom facilities & shower, lifeguards stationed here.
The parking lot for this beach is quite literally the end of the road. And, it’s a must see, which makes it busier and parking harder to find in the smallish parking lot here. But, it’s worth the effort. It’s definitely idyllic with great views! We find that it’s great with the young kids as they just like playing in the shallow waters protected by the inner reef. Adults will love the view and some decent snorkeling! But do note that there can be incredibly strong currents pulling west here (and then out to sea). So, it’s good to exercise caution
One more! Lydgate Beach Park – East Shore
If you want more to check out, Lydgate Beach Park is another good option. It’s located on the eastern side of the island and has a protected, jetty-enclosed area, making it a great family-friendly option! Ironically, we actually haven’t done this beach with our kids yet. But we’ve seen it and it would be a decent spot if you’re looking for something on that side of the island!
Have YOU been to Kauai with kids? Any favorite beach(es) you’d add to our list? Tell us in the comments below.
For more fun Kauai ideas, be sure to check out our Kauai Family Adventures post here!