Poipu Beach on the South Shore of Kauai

Poipu Beach on the South Shore of Kauai

Photo Courtesy of Robert Linsdell

Poipu Beach is perhaps Kauai’s most famous beach. Split in two by a “tombolo” or sandbar, there’s a breakwater-protected lagoon for toddlers and young swimmers and easy access to adjoining Brenneke’s beach—popular with body-boarders— and the snorkel-worthy waters on the Waiohai side of side of Nukumoi Point. Nearby is Kiahuna beach’s surf perfect waves and crescent shaped beach fronting the Sheraton and Kiahuna resorts. Despite the crowds, it’s very common to see honu (green sea turtles) here as well as occasional beached monk seals snoozing on the beach (seal monitors will usually cordon off the sleepy seals and keep onlookers at a safe distance when this occurs.)

Water Sports: Bring a surfboard or bodyboard for consistent waves at or near Poipu beach. Body boarding in the powerful waves at Brenneke’s and swimming along the shore of nearby Kiahuna beach will be a memorable experiences.

Shade: Shady coconut trees are sprinkled about the park and there are a couple of pavilions that are popluar with the locals for weekend gatherings. For this beach, it’s best to bring a beach umbrella or tent to set up on the grassy lawns or sand.

Food: Brennecke’s Beach Deli and Puka Dog (located inside the deli, brenneckes.com/Beach-Deli) offer convenient beach food. The park has some picnic tables and benches but it’s best to bring beach chairs as the tables are limited.

Directions and Parking: Two public parking lots are available at the end of Hoowili Road at Hoone Road.

Historical Opportunity: Near the entrance to Poipu Beach are remnants of a large heiau (temple) and ancient Hawaiian village called Kāneiolouma. The 13-acre site once contained hale (homes), fishponds, taro fields, irrigation systems, a games arena. The walled heiau that once stood here was 130 feet by 90 feet and was dedicated to Kane, a major god of Hawaii; Hulukoki, a bird god; and Ku-hai-moana and Ka-moho-alii, two shark gods.

Annual Events: (or any type of beach clean ups) Surfrider Kauai organizes regularly scheduled beach cleanups throughout the year. They pick up all plastic, nets, and trash from large stretches of beach – disposing it at the County landfill. Details: kauai.surfrider.org/beachcleanups

What’s in a Name: In Hawaiian, the word “poipū” means “crashing waves”.

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