The south shore of Kauai is very different from the North Shore.. Poipu has changed quite considerably in the last few years; it is still a beautiful place to visit. The beach is beautiful and the resort has grown from a small resort with the Hyatt and Sheraton to quite a sizeable resort with many more condos and resorts, a fairly large upscale shopping center and some wonderful restaurants. Koloa Town, although changed somewhat, still retains its old world Kauai charm. Poipu or Koloa are the places to stay if you want to be more sure of constant sun on your vacation – along with the West side, of course. Kauai’s South Shore is known as sunny!
Poipu beach is, like Hanalei, regularly featured on various travel lists as one of the top beaches in the world and rightly so. It is also relatively built up with a number of resorts including the Hyatt Sheraton populating it sure its shores.
Baby beach is perfect for small children and children in general and so Poipu beach does have something for everyone. There are showers and facilities and it’s very useful being so close to little shops and restaurants across the road where you can go and pick up a snack for the beach or rent boogie boards and other fun stuff. It’s a great family beach.
Shipwrecks is the beach outside the Sheraton hotel and is a favourite with locals, especially the teenagers who love to go to the north end of the beach and jump off the rocks ; you may see them doing that when you visit but please don’t try it! These are kids have been doing it all their life!
Shipwrecks has a charm that is hard to put into words; perhaps it comes from the exotic sounding name. People regularly get married at Shipwrecks also and in fact the last time I was there there was a couple doing just that; it was lovely to watch the photographic session where petals were being thrown into the air – I would love to see those photos!
Kiahuna Beach is right by the Kiahuna Plantation Resort and is a little less populated then either Poipu or Shipwrecks and also at certain times of the year frequented by the surfers as there is a great surf break there.
Mahalepu beach is my favourite beach on Kauai’s South Shore; it’s a much greater effort to get there and therefore there are always less people. Get on the dirt track just pass the Hyatt, go past CGM stables and you are on the dirt track for about 20 minutes. Take a right when you get to the end of the first dirt track, drive straight and you can either park at the end there or drive left along the beach to park a bit nearer the north end of the beach.
There is a fabulous walk which takes you above the beach. Mahalepu is a beautiful, quiet beach, not great for families in the sense that there are no facilities and it’s not a particularly swimmable beach. More suitable for couples and families with older kids.
Lawai Beach is the beach outside the Lawai Beach Resort. It’s a great beach but due to its location, it’s generally pretty full with all the people staying at the resort. It is quite a narrow strip of sand, but it is worth going there to try Snuba if you have not tried it before; a great activity for kids and the whole family! More info on that in my Kauai Guide under Activities.
South Shore towns
Point to town has just developed over the last 20 years and is now quite the resort complete with a fairly extensive mall and an excellent number of cafés and restaurants. Here you will finds a wonderful selection of cafes, restaurants as well as a bunch of boutique shops.
You will find a complete list of complete a fairly comprehensive list of shops and restaurants and cafés in my Kauai guide.
Koloa town is charming and representative of the old Kauai. It has only been in recent years that some developments have been built around it but the shops and cafés and Koloa landing is still there and still intact. it’s a beautiful place to walk around .
Spouting horn is one of the attractions that you will hear about when visiting Poipu although technically it is in Koloa. Access is down the road where the Lawai Beach Resort is found; drive further along and you will see where cars are parked.
I’ve heard people refer to it as similar to “Old Geyser” in Yellowstone. I suppose so in that a huge water spout shoots into the air but this one comes simply from a hole in the lava rock so that water shoots up with force through it and into the air. It’s pretty cool to see but what I find much more interesting is that if you walk about 200 yards to the right (there is still there drop off into the ocean) it’s a place where the turtles love to hang out. They are not immediately visible but if you stand on the rock for a while and look into the white frothy mass of water created by the ocean slamming up against the lava rock, you will gradually see first a flipper, then another, then a head and then a whole turtle! It’s worth the wait!
In addition to the Hyatt and Sheraton, there is a whole host of resorts in Poipu and something to suit everyone’s budget including several Astons and Aqua resorts. There are also a number of private condos and homes for rent.
Koloa still has some charming older homes right near Koloa landing and in recent years the upscale Koloa Landing Resort provides beautiful homes, most of which have ocean views. Kauai’s South Shore has some gorgeous ocean view properties.
There are not many cottages or places with a lot of acreage; for that you need to go further west to Lawai or Kalaheo or back up to the north shore.
Golf, Attractions, Activities
The Golf Course at the Hyatt is renowned if you are a golfer. For those looking for activities, these are plentiful. You can find a full list in my Kauai Guide but everything from “Snuba” to the Na Pali Boat trips, ATV rides, surfing, snorkeling, ziplining and more.
If you are looking for Sun, Kauai’s South shore is an obvious choice; it’s a wonderful place you love a resort type area which offers all of the attractions that you normally find in a resort.