Beaches and snorkeling in Kauai

by | Sep 30, 2011 | Travel, USA Travel

We spent time relaxing on the beach in Kauai, mainly at two destinations: Ke’e Beach and Tunnels Beach. Both are on the north end of the island and both have an abundance of trees and therefore, shade on the beach. Our B&B provided us with beach towels, beach chairs and a cooler. Add our snorkel gear and reading material and we were all set!

Ke'e Beach
Ke’e Beach

Ke’e Beach is literally the end of the road on the north shore of Kauai, with a small parking lot that tends to fill quickly. About a 1/4 mile back is a secondary lot. At the edge of the beach is the Kalalau trailhead that takes you across parts of the Na Pali coast, so before we set up on the beach we hiked a portion of the trail for the view.

overlooking Ke'e Beach
Ke’e Beach from the Kalalau Trail

The beach itself is a small cove ringed by trees with a coral reef on the right (north) side. Like many beaches on Kauai there were some currents, on this day flowing from the reef to the sandier section.

Ke'e Beach
Ke’e Beach- the dark section is coral reef, lighter is sandy bottom.

We also spent a day on Tunnels beach, which is a mile or so from Ke’e beach with a large parking lot. This beach has a massive amount of sand and two main snorkeling reefs, one to the left and the other to the right of the parking lot. The larger reef is ~1/4 mile to the right with lots of trees above the tide line.

Tunnels Beach
Tunnels Beach

Eric sporting his swim shirt
sporting the no-sunburns diving shirt

Both beaches are known for their snorkeling opportunities and we dove several times each. Photos (and more on E&L Gallery):

hawkfish (?)
this might be a hawkfish…

this little wrasse was following me around
this wrasse was following Leandra around

green sea turtle!
green sea turtle, taken just before the camera battery died!

Overall, the snorkeling at Tunnels had a greater variety of fish and more coral, though more waves, plus the larger beach meant more room to spread out. Ke’e was a bit more photogenic with the towering mountains and Na Pali coast line, and the calmer waters make it a great beach when it isn’t busy.

Tagged with: beach | Hawaii | Kauai | snorkeling

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