Kauaʻi’s list of snorkeling spots might not be as lengthy or extensive as those of the Big Island, Oʻahu, or Maui, but remember, it’s a much smaller island, and a large portion of its coastline is only accessible by boat.
Rest assured, while there might not be as much quantity, Kauaʻi does have its fair share of quality. It has walk-in and boat-in reef options, including protected areas for beginners and families, snorkel boat tours along the Nāpali Coast, and advanced locations with underwater features, like lava tubes, for experienced swimmers and divers.
Table of contents
Table of Contents
- Best snorkeling spots for… families, for beginners, and to see turtles, fish and corals.
- Map of snorkeling spots
- List of snorkeling spots
- Snorkel Tours
- Snorkeling essentials (local snorkeling tips, safety pointers, and a word on using reef-safe sunscreen).
First, let’s address some common questions about the best snorkeling spots for families, beginners, and experienced adventurers. Then, we move on to some local snorkeling tips, a map of Kauaʻi’s top snorkeling sites, descriptions of the snorkeling sites, and what you need to know about snorkeling tours on Kauaʻi.
Best snorkeling spots on Kauaʻi for families, for beginners, to see turtles, fish, and coral.
What’s the best snorkeling spot on Kauaʻi? The answer depends on who you are and what you’re looking for.
See our overview of Kauaʻi for more of our local favorites.
Related: best snorkeling spots on our neighbor islands
If Kauaʻi is not the only island you are visiting on your vacation (and why should it!) you might be interested in our collections of top snorkeling spots on the Big Island, Maui, and Oʻahu:
- 11 Snorkeling Spots on O‘ahu for any itinerary
- 3 Favorite Big Island Snorkeling Spots for Beginners and Experts
- Our 10 favorite snorkeling spots on Maui (includes the half-submerged and amazingly picturesque Molokini crater)
Map of snorkeling spots
Below is a map of Kauaʻiʻs top snorkeling spots. Click on a site name for a short summary or scroll down to find more information.
List of top snorkeling spots
Below, we explore and explain Kauaʻi’s top snorkeling spots.
- Poʻipū Beach Park
- Lydgate Park (Keiki Pond)
- Keʻe Beach
- Nualolo Kai
- Tunnels (Makua) Beach
- Hideaways Beach
- Koloa Landing
- Lawaʻi Beach
- Anini Beach
- Salt Pond Beach Park
- Lehua Crater and Niʻihau
Poʻipū Beach Park
Overview: A great beginner snorkeling area thanks to its typically-calm waters and lifeguards. First timers and children can stick to the rocks that line the shore, graduating to the small reefs that sit just offshore.
Good to know: Poʻipū can get crowded, especially on weekends, so its best to snorkel in the morning before the rush.