Kiahuna Beach South Shore Kauai HI

Kiahuna Beach, Kauai: Complete 2024 Visitor Guide

Kiahuna Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the south shore of Kauai.

Sometimes considered a section of Poipu Beach, Kiahuna Beach fronts the Kiahuna Plantation Resort. It’s also sometimes called Sheraton Beach, since the beach also fronts the Sheraton Resort!

Kiahuna Beach in Kauai, Hawaii
Kiahuna Beach has golden sands and turquoise waters!

Whatever name you call it, Kiahuna Beach definitely deserves a spot on your Kauai itinerary as one of the nicest beaches on the sunny south shore of the island.

A gorgeous crescent of golden sand fringed by coconut palms, Kiahuna Beach is an year-round playground with easy access to dining or take out.

In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know to visit Kiahuna Beach in Kauai: things to do at the beach, how to get there, where to park, and more.

Visiting Kauai? The only way to get a real feel for the rugged beauty of this incredible island is through a helicopter tour!

Kiahuna Beach Kauai HI
Kiahuna Beach in Kauai

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Kiahuna Beach Directions

Kiahuna Beach is located on the southern shore of Kauai, in the town of Poipu, about a 30-minute drive from Lihue.

Take Poipu Road at Poipu to Hoonani Road. Drive Hoonani Road to the end, where there is parking along the street as well as a public parking lot on the left.

Use “Kiahuna Beach, Koloa, HI 96756” for Google maps or GPS.

Kiahuna Beach Parking

You will find a public parking lot for Kiahuna Beach at the very end of Hoonani Road. It’s a small lot, so unless you arrive early in the day, you may not find an empty spot. Look for signs that say “public parking,” since some parking areas are reserved for resort guests.

You can also park along the side of Hoonani Road if you find a spot to pull completely off the road. Note that spots along the street are limited.

If you happen to be staying at one of the many resorts near Kiahuna Beach, you can walk over to the beach.

Kiahuna Beach Map

The Kiahuna Beach map below shows the location of Kiahuna Beach, and the resorts and main attractions nearby.

Kiahuna Beach Access

From the parking lot at the end of Hoonani Road, you can walk out onto the sand at Kiahuna Beach. If you park along the street, walk to the parking lot and then over to the beach.

Kiahuna Beach Reservations

Reservations are not needed for Kiahuna Beach, Kauai.

Kiahuna Beach Amenities / Facilities

Location: Poipu, Koloa, south shore of Kauai
Lifeguard: No
Beach Amenities: Restrooms, showers
Food Nearby: Restaurants at the nearby resorts and in the community of Poipu
Parking: One small public parking lot and streetside spots
Directions: Poipu Road to Hoonani Road

Best Things to Do at Kiahuna Beach

Kiahuna Beach Snorkeling

Due to the outlying reef, the waters at Kiahuna Beach are usually relatively calm, making it a good place for nearshore snorkeling.

With good visibility in calm ocean conditions, the reef on the east side of Kiahuna Beach offer good possibilities for viewing marine life such as reef fish, or Hawaiian green sea turtles.

Hawaiian spotted box fish on the south shore of Kauai in Hawaii
Look for marine life by the reef at Kiahuna Beach!

Kiahuna Beach Swimming

The presence of the outlying reef at Kiahuna Beach means that you may find calm enough conditions here for swimming.

However, rogue waves and strong currents are still a possibility, so exercise caution if you choose to enter the water, and supervise kids closely. There is no lifeguard here, unlike at neighboring Poipu Beach.

Surf Kiahuna Beach

Inside of the outlying reef, smaller waves and a sandy bottom make Kiahuna Beach an excellent spot for beginner surfers and boogie boarders. Local companies sometimes offer surfing lessons here.

More experienced surfers can test the larger waves outside the reef.

Sunbathe or Relax with a Book on Kiahuna Beach

Sandy crescent-shaped Kiahuna Beach is fringed with coconut palms, the quintessential Hawaiian tropical beach.

It can get a little crowded because of the proximity to several resorts, but it makes a great spot to lay down a towel or set up beach chairs and soak in the sun: after all, the south shore is the sunniest part of Kauai!

Kiahuna Beach Kauai Hawaii
Kiahuna Beach is great for sun worshipping but wear sunscreen and consider a beach umbrella!

Stay Back for Spectacular Sunsets

On days when the weather cooperates and the skies are brilliant at sunset, it’s a treat to be at Kiahuna Beach and enjoy the colors in the sky.

However, Kiahuna Beach isn’t the perfect location to actually see the sun set over the ocean, since much of the view to the west is blocked by the Sheraton Resort.

Snorkeling and Water Activities Gear Checklist

Though you can rent snorkeling gear or use the ones that come with tours, we invested in our own gear, mainly due to Covid-19 (why take the risk?).

Kiahuna Beach in Kauai, Hawaii
Kiahuna Beach is great for a morning stroll

Tips for Your Visit to Kiahuna Beach

Kiahuna Beach is one of the most popular beaches on Kauai’s south shore, so expect it to be lively and busy all through the day and into the evenings.

For a more secluded experience, plan on a morning stroll: the light is beautiful, and the swaying palms, turquoise waters, and long stretch of golden sand make this a magical place at sunrise and just afterwards.

If you want a quieter or more secluded beach nearby, head to Shipwreck Beach or Salt Pond Beach Park, depending on what you want to do.

There isn’t a lot of shade on Kiahuna Beach and the Hawaiian sun can be quite harsh. Use reefsafe sunscreen liberally, and bring your own shade if you plan to hang out here for a few hours!

Be aware of the ocean, surf conditions, and the weather. Even though Kiahuna Beach is one of the safer beaches on Kauai, dangerous currrents, rogue waves, and the like are always possible, so you should still exercise abundant caution, especially since there is no lifeguard.

Ocean Safety Tips

Hawaii’s beaches are beautiful, but ocean activities can be dangerous. Ocean conditions are dynamic and can change without warning.

Here are some tips to enjoy the ocean and beaches safely:

  • ALWAYS heed posted warning signs.
  • Check conditions just before you arrive at your chosen beach, and watch conditions at the beach for a bit before you decide to enter the water.
  • Swim at a lifeguarded beach and ask the lifeguard for advice before you enter the water.
  • Never turn your back on the ocean, whether you are standing at the shore or on a cliff above. If you see wet rocks or sand, it means the water has been here recently.
  • Know your limitations, especially if you are not an experienced swimmer. If in doubt, do not go out.
  • If you choose to enter the water, go with a partner or in a group.
  • Know that alcohol can impair judgment and motor skills in the water.
  • Keep children close and always keep your eyes on what they are doing in the water.
  • Watch for sharp coral or rocks or sea urchins.
  • Check advisories regarding water quality at various beaches here.
Kiahuna Beach, Kauai
Kiahuna Beach at golden hour

The Best Kauai Tours

Have you booked these top Kauai guided adventures yet?

Sunset catamaran tour of the Na Pali Coast (relatively more stable ride, insane views on good weather days!)

Doors-off helicopter tour of Kauai (unobstructed views, chance to see more of the island than you can by land, no middle seats!)

Kayak on the Wailua River plus hike to a waterfall (a super fun activity for active travelers, albeit a little muddy sometimes!)

Raft trip to the Na Pali Coast plus snorkeling (prepare to get wet on this exhilarating adventure!)

Eurocopter ECO-Star helicopter tour over Kauai (the most booked Kauai helicopter tour on Viator with close to 2K reviews and a 5-star rating!)

Entire Kauai Island Air Tour (super popular, less expensive than a heli tour, large bubble windows for flightseeing!)

Renting a Car in Kauai

The best things to do in Kauai are scattered all over the island.

Public transport options on Kauai aren’t great, so if you want to explore the island beyond your base, you’ll want to book a rental car for your Kauai trip.

We always use Discover Cars to book Kauai car rentals. They search across a variety of rental car companies, both budget and brand, to offer you the best deals, AND they offer free cancellations. Plus, there are no hidden fees.

>> Check availability and prices on Kauai car rentals now!

Lihue Airport-Hotel Shuttle

Not planning to pick up a rental car at Lihue airport? Pre-arrange round trip transfer from the airport to your hotel and back!

This shared shuttle serves hotels or vacation rentals in Princeville, Kahala, Poipu, Kapaa, or Lihue, and then back again. It’s convenient and inexpensive, and saves time and hassle!

>> Check prices and availability for shared round-trip airport transfer in Kauai now!

Where to Stay in Kauai

Depending on whether you want a vacation rental with more room and the option to cook some of your meals, or you want a resort or hotel experience, and depending on which part of Kauai you want to choose as your base, you have a variety of options.

Since you’ll likely want to base in a couple places on your trip to Kauai, we suggest starting your search for Kauai accommodations by browsing vacation rentals on VRBO.

We have stayed in VRBO rentals in both Poipu and Princeville and find that the choice and quality are generally great.

>> Look for a Kauai vacation rental on VRBO now!

Want detailed recommendations for accommodations in Kauai? Check out our comprehensive guide to the best places to stay in Kauai!

More Kauai Travel Inspiration

Considering a trip to the Garden Isle in Hawaii? You’ll definitely want to check out some of our other comprehensive Kauai travel and attraction guides!

If you are a first-time visitor to Kauai, start by discovering the best things to do in Kauai! From beaches and botanical gardens to cliffs, canyons, and waterfalls, Kauai has it all, and our round-up lists all of Kauai’s must-experience activities and attractions.

Planning to split a week between Kauai and another island? We have a 3 days in Kauai itinerary article you must read to help flesh out what you would like to see and do!

Learn about the best things to do in Hanalei and Kauai’s scenic north shore, the best things to do in Poipu and Kauai’s south shore, and the most exciting things to do on Kauai’s Coconut Side or east side.

Read our in-depth guide to visiting the Na Pali Coast of Kauai. We give you the full scoop on the best ways to visit this stunning coast in the remote northwest of the island.

Discover our round-up of the nine spectacular state parks in Kauai, which house some of Kauai’s most treasured natural wonders.

We also have visitor’s guides to popular parks like Waimea Canyon State Park, which protects the namesake canyon, nearby Kokee State Park, and the remote but beautiful Polihale State Park.

Also check out the ultimate guide to visiting Haena State Park on Kauai’s north shore, and a full guide to hiking the epic Kalalau Trail.

Check out our round-up of the most beautiful waterfalls in Kauai, from waterfalls you can view from the road to falls that require hiking and falls that are best seen from a helicopter or sightseeing flight. We also have an article on everything you need to know to visit Secret Falls Kauai on an exciting kayaking and hiking tour.

Read our guide to Wailua River State Park to discover two easy-to-access Kauai waterfalls, and our trail guide for the easy hike to Ho’opi’i Falls. We also have an article on the best Kauai waterfall hikes.

And if a helicopter tour is part of your plans for Kauai, read our article on the top-rated helicopter tours in Kauai!

Hiking enthusiasts will want to read our article on the best hikes in Koke’e State Park: the trails here are some of the best hikes in Kauai!

We have detailed trail guides for the most popular Koke’e hikes, from the scenic Canyon Trail to the top of Waipo’o Falls, to the epic Awa’awapuhi Trail, challenging but very rewarding!

Also discover the best hikes in Waimea Canyon State Park, and the best hikes on Kauai’s north shore.

We also have a trail guide for the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail on Kauai’s scenic south shore, an article on how to hike the Sleeping Giant Trail, and a guide to the Kuilau Ridge Trail, one of the easy hikes on Kauai.

Get the scoop on the best botanical gardens in Kauai, from Limahuli Garden on the north shore to McBryde and Allerton Gardens on the south shore.

Read our guide to the best swimming beaches on Kauai, from Hanalei Bay on the north shore to Poipu Beach on the south shore!

We also have a guide to the best snorkeling beaches on Kauai, a round-up of the best Kauai north shore beaches, and an article on the best Kauai south shore beaches!

And if you love watching the sun go down in a burst of color, be sure to read our article on where to go for the best sunsets on Kauai!

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Discover the ultimate guide to visiting Kiahuna Beach on the south shore of Kauai, Hawaii. Things to do at Kiahuna Beach, how to get here, where to park and more,


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