Although Kauai is a top destination for honeymooners and romantic couples, it’s also a top destination for families with children. Fortunately, there are lots of activities for families to do on Kauai and there are more than a few beaches where it’s safe for young children and families. So here’s the top family friendly beaches on Kauai.
I raised my two daughters on Kauai so I’m rather familiar with which beaches are family friendly beaches on Kauai. I’ve split this into two, the first section are the beaches that are terrific for toddlers and the second section is “great for the whole family” beaches. If you are more interested in the best overall beaches, check out my “Top 10 Kauai beaches by a local” or if you want to know what Kauai locals wear at the beach the “Kauai Style at the beach”
Beaches for Babies & Toddlers
Anini beach on the North Shore is the overall best beach on island for babies and toddlers… kids up to 7 really. It’s two and a half miles of sandy beach and it’s like a lagoon with the water being maybe up to about 2 feet until the reef, about 100 feet out. Gentle lapping waves so you can sit a 1 = 2 year old on the edge of the water and they won’t get knocked over by a big wave. Briliiant. A wonderful family friendly beach on Kauai.
The 4 & 5 year olds can be in floats in the water too. Because it’s so long and big, you still get some privacy as a family. Wonderful.
Baby Beach in Kapa’a is an area where large boulders have been formed to make a lagoon. It’s small but the water does get washed out every night by the tide and it’s perfect for little ones. A block away from the highway in Kapa’a.
Lydgate Beach in Wailua then is the next place which equally has one area where boulders have been put to form a lagoon.
Poipu Beach is large and has quite a large lagoon for toddlers. Like Lydgate it gets busy but it’s still a great place for little ones.
Salt Pond is the final beach on island which is perfect for the littlies……it’s a big beach in Hanapepe, on the way to the West Side. Easily accessible if you are staying in Poipu and generally less busy.
Beaches for the Whole Family
Now that the road is open again after the lengthy closure following the Flood in 2017, Ke’e is once more on the agenda. There is a lovely lagoon that forms at Ke’e beach in the Summer only which is perfect for kids and families. There are also facilities at Ke’e so it has everything families need for a great time at the beach. Not suitable in the Winter months though.
Hanalei – The Pier & Pavilions
Hanalei is such a beautiful beach and it’s also huge! A spectacular half moon bay (no wonder they have written more than one song about it) so there’s something for everyone.
There are a few places at Hanalei Bay that are great for kids: starting at The Pier on the far South side of the beach, moving over to Pavilions and then Grandpa’s over on the more Northern end. Of course, Hanalei can be rough during the run up to a storm or on certain days, but most days Hanalei is great for families and qualifies for one of the most family friendly beaches on Kauai.
The Pier is a great place for families, evidenced by all the locals who show up in their trucks and barbecue on the beach to the right of the Pier, where the Hanalei River comes out. You’ll see kids jumping off the Pier and floating about in floaties – and it’s fine to do that. Just keep a watchful eye. Further over at Pavilions,, it’s also a great place for families as the facilities at Pavilions mean you don’t have to walk far for the bathroom or to shower off.
Grandpa’s further north is great as it also has that great expanse of grass with the trees to play games and set up picnics on the grass in front of the beach. You’ll see a lot of families there doing just that.
Hanalei is also great as if you forget anything, it’s less than a 5 minute walk into Hanalei to get whatever you missed : water, snacks or a floatie or two. For more info on Hanalei, check out my post on Hanalei.
Anini Beach ~ My Vote for overall best beach on island for families
Anini is my second favorite beach on the island. What’s my first? Ah, you have to get the Kauai Advisor Guide or read my post on Kauai’s Top 10 beaches to find that out! Why is it my second favorite? So many reasons…. it’s two and a half miles of pristine sand and aqua colored water and it’s so gentle because it’s surrounded by a reef, so it’s just one big lagoon for almost all of the beach. I’m not that great a swimmer, so I love Anini because you can walk out for 100 yards and you are still in 2 feet of water!
And that’s exactly why I think Anini is the absolute best beach on Kauai for kids, particularly little ones. You can sit a 2 year old on the edge of the water and he or she won’t be knocked over by a big wave. Kids on up from that age can be in floaties in the water and you know they are pretty safe. Even teenagers love snorkeling this side of the reef and it’s the perfect place for stand up paddle boarding. Wonderful! Best Family friendly beach on Kauai.
Secret Beach for the Pools
Kauapea Beach (or “Secret” beach) is best known as being the wonderful romantic beach on island. However, there are also pats of the beach where pools form in the rocks and this makes great play for kids. So for families who like more of an “off the beaten track” experience
Anahola beach is in the “Hawaiian Homelands” where many Hawaiians live. Anahola bay is a lovely big semi circular bay and there is a wonderful are over on the South side of the beach where there is a lagoon like area which is totally wonderful for little ones. Older children can enjoy the rest of the beach. There are lovely grassy areas right off the beach and opposite the beach and good facilities.
Hawaiian families gather there at the weekends and often later in the afternoons during the week too.
Baby beach in Kapa’a is perfect for babies. The East side of Kauai gets a lot of wind and apart from Lydgate, the beaches all along Kapa’a and Wailua are pretty straight with the wind coming strong. However, at Baby Beach, large lava boulders were moved to create a “lagoon” where babies and little ones are safe. It’s not a very big beach, but it’s a favorite with locals who live on the East side. There is space to park but no facilities. It’s a great beach to visit if you are in Kapa’a for lunch or an early dinner.
Lydgate is one of the most well known “family friendly” beaches on Kauai. Located just south of the Wailua River, it is a great family beach. In addition to being a large semi circular bay with several different areas where you can enjoy the ocean, there’s a special lagoon for babies and a huge park across from the beach with a terrific playground complete with jungle gyms, slides and more.
There are great facilities too at Lydgate and there’s even a campground further around on the South side of the bay.
Lydgate does tend to be busy most of the time, but hey, you’re at the beach with the kids.. they enjoy mixing with the other kids at the beach. Lydgate is definitely one of the most family friendly beaches on Kauai!
Poipu beach is big and there are some great shallow areas that have been created for little ones. Because of the reef, there’s also snorkeling for older kids and adults. As with Lydgate though, with the proliferation of resorts, vacation rentals which seemed to have ballooned in number over the past few years, it’s always busy. Again, that’s a good thing for most families! Good facilities of course.
Salt Pond beach is over just near Hanapepe town. Named after the actual Salt ponds which are adjacent (and still harvested by Hawaiians so please don’t walk around those areas without an invitation), it’s a great beach for families. There are lots of pools for small kids to play in and snorkeling at the reef. Good facilities and there is also a campground.
My top pick for kids is Anini, followed by Hanalei, Poipu and Salt Pond. Have fun families!