Rated as the Best Beach in America by the Travel Channel, Pōʻipu Beach in Kōloa is a picture-perfect string of gold sand crescents fronted by Pōʻipu Beach Park. This south shore gem nestled in Kaua‘i’s most popular resort area boasts calm, clear waters that make for excellent swimming, snorkeling, paddle boarding, and kayaking. The western side has a small sandbar break which is a great spot for boogie boarding. Pōʻipu Beach is famous for being a favored resting spot for endangered Hawaiian monk seals; it’s not unusual to see these 400-600-pound magical creatures sprawled out napping in the sun. Please take note that if you do observe monk seals, stay at least 150 feet away and do not feed them; they are wild animals, and it’s the law.
Pōʻipu Beach Park History
The entire Pōʻipu Beach Park area was originally part of the massive ancient Hawaiian settlement of Kāneiolauma, and much of the ancient village still remains. Above Pōʻipu Beach Park is Kāneiolauma Heiau (Hawaiian temple) site, which is still in use by Native Hawaiians today. The 13-acre area Kāneiolauma Complex around the heiau has been undergoing revitalization. Despite over 1,000 archaeological features being lost during land clearing for the state’s first sugar plantation, and more recently, during development of resorts and residential areas, important structures within Kāneiolauma Village remain, including the only intact Makahiki (annual 4-month time of peace) sporting arena in the state. The area is now a protected archaeological and cultural park.
Pōʻipu Beach Park Facilities and Swimming Conditions
At Kauai Pōʻipu Beach Park, you’ll find plenty of paved parking, picnic tables, barbecue grills, pavilions, a playground, restrooms, and showers. Several beach concessions rent all manner of water activities equipment. When you work up an appetite from all that fun in the sun, head across the street to Brennecke’s Beach Broiler for great food and drinks.
The waters at Pōʻipu Beach Park are often calm and conducive to all kinds of ocean activities. There are also some completely sheltered pools for children. As with all Hawaiian beaches, check the current conditions and pay heed to all posted signs regarding ocean conditions and safety.
How to Get There
From Līhue, take Highway 50 south for seven miles. Turn left on Maluhia Road (520) and continue for 3.25 miles. Turn right at Kōloa Road then go one block and turn left onto Pōʻipu Road, which after 1.75 miles will curve left and follow the coastline. After the curve, follow Pōʻipu Road for another mile to Ho‘owi‘i Road. Turn right on Ho‘owi‘i and follow it to the end.