Poipu Beach

Poipu Beach is one of the best places for enjoying the ocean in southern Kauai. It’s an especially good beach to visit because there are lifeguards watching over the swimmers.

Snorkeling is a favorite activity in the fish-rich, rock lined seabed, and people of all ages enjoy the calm, protected coves. Boogie-boarding and surfing take place in the small open section to the east. The clean sandy beach is great for catching some sun and the covered patios see many gathering for many purposes, from Bible groups to family parties.

Twenty years ago, the lifeguard station on Poipu Beach was a simple red wooden structure. This image showcases the palm trees and the sandy beach.

Poipu Beach and a rainbow. Note the old red lifeguard shade. The palm trees in the background are part of Poipu Beach Park which was voted #1 beach in America

Poipu Beach and a rainbow. Notice the old red lifeguard shade. The palm trees in the background are part of Poipu Beach Park, which was voted the #1 beach in America.

With the exception of the red lifeguard station, Poipu Beach looks almost the same today as when the above picture was taken. While today, the life guard stations are white fiberglass, the sand is just as clean, the palm trees just as green and the ocean is just as blue.

A white lifeguard shack on a sandy beach with palm trees and dramatic clouds over the ocean

The white lifeguard shack on the sandy Poipu Beach with palm trees and dramatic clouds over the ocean, Koloa, Kauai

Looking out to the ocean from the beach, one sees two sections separated by a tombolo or a submerged sandbar, and a small boulder-ringed island that acts as a breaker. The east side of the beach is a well-protected, shallow, egg-shaped lagoon which a is favorite for families with small children. The west side opens to the ocean. Both sides have submerged reef which attracts colorful fish as well as Honu (Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles) and Monk seals. Both sides are popular destinations for snorkeling. They are also highly recommended for snorkeling because there are lifeguard stations and lifeguards watching out for the safety of swimmers and snorkelers.

A family with kids enjoying the calm water on a beach at sunset with a palm tree

A family with kids enjoying the calm water at Poipu Beach at sunset with a palm tree, Koloa, Kauai

One might think that nature has created this fantastic beach just for us, but no, it is all man made. The ancient Hawaiian village of Kanei’olouma once stood here and the lagoon was a fish pond. No doubt, the shallow boulder sea breaker was built by hand. You can learn more about Kanei’olouma on their website Kāneiolouma – Ancient Hawaiian Village Restoration Project ◆ Kāneiolouma (kaneiolouma.org) You can also learn and experience more about this ancient village by taking a short stroll across the street from Poipu Beach and explore the restoration project which is currently underway.

A monochrome map of an ancient Hawaiian village
This map is displayed in the interpretive part of the historic site where a traditional hawaiian village Kanei’olouma once stood. Today it is the site of Poipu Beach, Koloa, Kauai, Hawaii

Sunset draws many people to Poipu Beach. Situated on the southern tip of Kauai and facing South-Southwest (SSW), Poipu Beach offers stunning sunset views. For about 8 months every year, from September to April, visitors can witness the sun setting into the ocean. On clear days, it is possible to observe the very last bit of direct sunlight disappearing beyond the horizon. Often, clouds over the ocean are illuminated by the setting sun, creating a dazzling display of light and colors.

Poipu Beach is cherished by both residents and visitors to Kauai. It serves as a magnet and haven for marine animals, drawing them to its calm, sunny shoreline as a place to rest. Here are images of Honu (Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles) on the beach.

The Hawaiian Monk seals, also the Hawaiian state mammal, seem undisturbed when claiming their space on the beach. Local volunteer organizations are committed to protecting both the Monk seals and the Honu. Informative signs remind people of the distances they should keep from Monk seals and Honu. During the day and evening, volunteers watch for the Monk seals and pull protection lines around them to keep curious visitors away. This serves as protection for both the seals and the people. The seals need to rest undisturbed. While they may appear to be smiling, they are wild animals and could harm someone if they became frightened or threatened by a person invading their space.

In the evening, other volunteers put out signs and ropes to set aside a small section of Poipu Beach for the Honu to haul out onto the warm sand and rest. It’s wonderful to stand back on the grass beyond the sand near sunset and watch the Honus swim into the cove and slowly make their way onto the sand. Early risers often see the Honus tracks and perhaps a Honu or two still sleeping in the warm sun.

Snorkeling is one of the favorite activities at Poipu Beach. One can spend hours marveling at the different varieties of fish and underwater terrain. Some fish swim alongside the snorkelers, while others seem to hide in the reef and emerge periodically as the tides and waves carry them into more open waters.

Live webcam of Poipu Beach: Live Kauai Webcam from Poipu Beach (parrishkauai.com) and Beach Webcam | Brennecke’s Beach Broiler

More useful information about Poipu Beach Poipu Beach Park | Hawaii Beach Safety