Snorkeling with kids is an exciting activity that will bring your family many wonderful memories. On Kauai there are dozens of great snorkeling beaches, but only a handful are recommended for snorkeling with children. Ocean conditions can be highly variable and coral, rocks, currents and swells can make snorkeling in some locations downright dangerous. When snorkeling with children, it is best to seek out beaches with a posted lifeguard and a fringing reef or rock wall that buffers the wave action. Below is a list of beaches that meets these criteria. However, it is still advised to check with the lifeguards before you enter the water.
Lydgate Beach Park is located on the East side of Kauai adjacent to the Wailua River. This Beach Park offers families a calm snorkeling area due to the manmade rock walls that buffer the surf. The ponds allow the water to move freely through the crevices in the rocks. Juvenile fishes move into the pond through these same crevices and as they grow are unable to escape. As a result, it is possible to view many different species of fish when snorkeling here. Turtles and eels can also be found in the pond from time to time, especially after a high tide. The protected area, calm water, posted lifeguard and variety of fish make this the perfect beginning snorkeling spot.
On Kauai’s Western shore, Salt Pond Beach Park boasts a number of protected shallow pools that offer great snorkeling for the little ones. The water is generally quite clear here and the natural fringing reefs help keep the water fairly calm. Tide pools on the East side of the beach are a great place to discover additional Hawaiian marine life. A lifeguard is posted here and you will find restrooms, showers, and shade pavilions in the park.
Poipu Beach is located on the sunny South side of Kauai. Poipu has all the amenities that families will need including a park and playground, bathrooms, showers, pavilions, a posted lifeguard and even nearby restaurants for lunch. Shallow wading pools are perfect for infants and toddlers and a fringing reef offers some protection from the surf.
Although there is no lifeguard posted at Anini, it is considered to be one of the safer beaches on Kauai’s North Shore. This is due to a fringing reef that is located just offshore and keeps the water relatively calm for family friendly snorkeling. ALways use caution during winter months when there is large sell and wave activity.
Anini is usually less crowded than Poipu or Hanalei and is really quite breathtaking. You will probably encounter less fish at Anini than some of the other south shore locations, but if you are lucky, you might just spot one of the resident turtles who will come in to the sea grass beds to feed. The Beach Park here is quite extensive and offers shade trees, picnic tables, pavilions, restrooms and showers.
When snorkeling on Kauai always remember to exercise caution and practice reef etiquette.