Poipu Beach at Sheraton Hotel on Kauai

The Best Poipu Beaches

The beautiful island of Kauai is famed for its tropical rainforest and beautiful coast. Our neck of the woods is nestled on the South Shore, in Poipu. There are a variety of attractions to keep you and your family entertained, but most importantly Poipu is home to some of the best beaches in Hawaii. Each one is a little different, making it easy for you to find the perfect beach to enjoy your time on the island. Whether you want a safe place to splash around with the kids, a legendary surf spot, or a place to enjoy the magnificent wildlife, you’ll find plenty of things to do on Kauai.

Poipu Beach at Sheraton Hotel on Kauai

Poipu Beach at the Sheraton Hotel on Kauai

Poipu Beach at the Sheraton Hotel is right next door to our properties. All flat, all sidewalk, 5 minute walk. They have restrooms and showers for the public. Outdoor snack bar open to everyone as well as cabanas beachside for rent for a half day or full day. You can swim, snorkel, take surfing lessons or just relax. With limited public parking, there is never a crowd!

Further down is Poipu Beach Park. This is a good beach for families traveling with kids. Pack a picnic to enjoy the beach and the adjoining park! Or, if you don’t feel like making food ahead of time, walk across the street from the beach to Puka Dog to grab some tasty Hawaiian hot dogs. The beach is divided into two sides, one where visitors can swim or snorkel to the beautiful coral reef, and another intended for children, with a calm, safe wading pool. Sunbathe in the powdery white sand, or look for amazing wildlife, from Hawaaian Monk Seals to green sea turtles! This beach also is fronted by the beautiful Poipu Beach Park, with luscious grass, pavilions and picnic tables, and a playground for the kids. When watching them inevitably tires you out, get your caffeine boost only a minute’s drive away at the top-rated Little Fish Coffee. Or, head to Waikomo Shave Ice, famed for the best shave ice in Hawaii! This beach also features some history right across the street, where the 13-acre Kaneiolouma is being restored. This is one of the only remaining historic Hawaiian villages on the South Shore! It dates back to the mid-1400s, and features house sites, taro patches, fishponds, temples, shrines, and a sporting arena. Good for sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling and wildlife, you won’t have to look far to find activities near Poipu beach.

Hawaiian Monk Seal swimming in surf at Brennecke's Beach in Poipu Kauai

Hawaiian Monk Seal glides past unknowing snorkelers, as do many sea turtles at Brennecke’s Beach

Up next, visit Brennecke’s Beach. Adjacent to Poipu Beach, this beach has a different focus when it comes to water sports. While Poipu is great for surfing, Brennecke’s is solely for body surfing and boogie boarding. This beach has a small stretch of white sand, perfect for watching the big waves and the boarders riding them! Go snorkeling at the reef, then relax on the shore with a sandwich or some famous shave ice from the Brennecke’s Beach Broiler restaurant’s Beachside Deli. This beach also features a beautiful view of the sunset. It’s popular with tourists, locals, and even sea turtles! Catch a glimpse of these creatures from Brennecke’s shore as they munch on greens along the lava shelf. 

Shipwreck Beach is a gorgeous South Shore beach, named for an old wooden ship that got stranded in the rocks. Though the ship is gone, the name stands, and this beach is renowned for its cliffs, hikes, and big waves. These strong waves make it one of the best beaches for surfing and boogie boarding. The strong shore break makes it difficult and often dangerous to swim, but the beach is beautiful to walk on, an ideal location to view the sunset, with parking close by. From beachcombing to sunbathing, there’s lots to do in this expansive area. To the east, wilderness shore trail stretches for miles. Speaking of miles, this beach is only 2.4 miles away from our Kauai properties. Inland, unwind at the nearby Anara Spa, or grab sushi from Stevenson’s Library for lunch. Come early to view the sunset and then walk over to Ilima Terrace for Hawaiian breakfast. Right next to the beach, the Makawehi Lithified Cliffs stand 55 feet above the ocean’s surface, making it no surprise that these ancient limestone cliffs are a famous spot for jumping. Nearby, visit the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail, a hike to explore geological and culture sites of the coastline that are otherwise inaccessible. 

Only a twenty minute walk from our Kauai properties, Lawa’i Beach is perfect for big wave surfing. A popular wedding destination, this smaller beach is the best southside location for snorkeling, with easy access and plenty of fish to see. It’s a great spot for beginners, and a great spot to watch seals, sea turtles, and other wildlife. Nearby, you can find tasty snacks and shave ice right on the beach at RipTides takeout, or sip a refreshing smoothie from Anake’s Juice Bar. If you’re looking for fine dining, make reservations in advance to have dinner while watching the beach sunset at the famous Beach House Restaurant. Or, head over to the Shops at Kukui’ula for a multitude of shopping and dining options.

sailboat in distance at sunset from Alihi Lani poolside

Sailboat in the distance at sunset viewed from the oceanfront pool area at Alihi Lani

Which of these beaches will you try? Perhaps each of them has something you can enjoy. Any one of these destinations would be a wonderful way to spend your day in beautiful Poipu, Kauai. 

Photos by Robin Gotfrid.

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