Kalapaki Beach

Kalapaki Beach in Kauai, Hawaii

Location: Kalapaki – East Side

Good For: Swimming, Kids, Surfing, Bodyboarding, Beach walking

Kalapaki Beach, located on the east side of Kauai, has a perfect setting for various water activities. Whether you’re into swimming, learning to surf, boogie boarding, or stand-up paddle boarding, this has you covered. Protected by a significant break wall, Kalapaki Bay is a fairly calm spot, making it perfect for those looking to enjoy the water without the power of pounding waves.

Besides water sports, Kalapaki Beach provides ample options for relaxation, sunbathing, beach volleyball, and simply taking in the sights of outrigger canoes and cruise ships coming and going from Nawiliwili Harbor.

For a delightful day at the beach, consider grabbing a picnic lunch or some shaved ice. The area surrounding Kalapaki Beach has various accommodations, surfboard, stand-up board rentals, and beach catamaran rentals. Surf lessons are also available year-round.

Conveniently, you’ll find parking at the upper lot of the Marriot Hotel, and there’s public beach access on the eastern end. What sets Kalapaki Beach apart is its accessibility within the city of Lihue, allowing beachgoers to seamlessly transition from beach lounging to exploring a lineup of quality restaurants and shops.

Kalapaki Beach Quick Facts:

  • Other Names: Kalapaki Bay, Lihue Beach
  • Perfect for: Swimming, Families, Surfing, Bodyboarding, Beach walking
  • Known For: Near to the Airport, Surf Lessons, Gentle Consistent Waves
  • Facilities: Bathrooms and showers available
  • Lifeguards: Lifeguards are not present
  • Parking: Small lots, but there is ample nearby street parking
  • Cost: Enjoying the beach is free of charge.

Kalapaki Beach Location

Kalapaki Beach is conveniently situated in the center of Lihue, and it’s also adjacent to the airport. If you’re seeking a place to unwind before a flight or are eager to hit a beautiful beach right after landing, Kalapaki Beach’s location is ideal.

Kalapaki Beach Parking

You can park in several lots at Kalapaki Beach. Some public parking spots are available at the Marriott Hotel, and across the channel, there’s a dirt lot with a walking bridge leading to the beach. On a Friday visit, I had no trouble finding a spot, and even if those lots were full, there are other public parking lots in the city that you can use.

Kauai Things To Do

  • Take a flight over the Na Pali Coast.
  • Mount Waialeale, the wettest spot on Earth, is seen best from a helicopter.
  • Experience Luau Kalamaku, a spectacular Hawaiian extravaganza.
  • Go snorkeling, with small-group options available to avoid crowds.
  • Explore the giant Moreton Bay fig trees in Allerton Gardens.
  • Kayak to Secret Falls on the Wailua River.
  • Admire the Rainbow Eucalyptus tree at Keahua Arboretum.
  • Visit Kalalau Beach, one of Kauai’s most secluded.
  • Hike the Kalalau Trail in NāPali Coast State Park.
  • Enjoy ziplining adventures at Koloa Zipline.
  • See the Red Dirt Waterfall in Waimea Canyon State Park.
  • Witness the 800-foot Waipoo Falls in Waimea Canyon.
  • Relax at Tunnels Beach, one of Kauai’s most beautiful.
  • Visit Queen’s Bath, a unique natural tide pool.
  • See Manawaiopuna Falls, known as Jurassic Park, on a helicopter tour.
  • Watch Hawaiian Monk Seals at Poipu Beach.
  • Take in the view at Hanalei Valley Lookout.
  • Explore Ke’e Beach on the NāPali Coast.
  • Hike the Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail.
  • Visit Glass Beach in Port Allen.
  • Explore the Fern Grotto, accessible by river cruise.
  • Witness the Spouting Horn Blowhole.
  • Enjoy the sight of rainbows at Wailua Falls.
  • Visit the charming town of Hanalei.
  • Explore Secret Beach, also known as Kauapea Beach, for its seclusion and beauty.
  • Discover the Kilauea Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge.
  • Explore Maniniholo Dry Cave.
  • Relax at PuaPoa Beach.

Kauai Hiking Tips:

Hiking in Kauai gives you a chance to explore remote and car-inaccessible sites, engaging you in the island’s serene natural beauty. With numerous trails of varying complication levels, you can face unique Pacific Island flora and fauna, native wildlife that calls Kauai’s forests and valleys home.

Care for the land and its cultural importance is essential when hiking on Kauai, especially as you may encounter historical and archaeological sites. Preserving these areas and providing your safety is crucial. Exploring Kauai’s interior and remote landscapes offers some of the world’s most stunning locations, and perfect planning and preparation will enhance your hiking adventure.

Here are some essential tips for a successful Kauai hiking adventure:

  1. Hiking Plan: Inform someone about your hike, including the trail name, location, and expected return time. It’s best to hike with a partner, research your preferred trail, and understand the route before launching.
  2. Water: Remain hydrated by drinking water always; don’t wait until you’re thirsty. In hot, aim for half to one quart of water or sports drink per hour of hiking. Bring your water bottle and sip regularly. If you drink from streams or natural sources, use a certified filter for waterborne microbes.
  3. Food: Take high-energy, salty snacks and meals, whether you’re a day hiker or backpacking overnight. Sufficient calories are required for strenuous physical movement.
  4. Check Weather: Review the weather forecast before starting your hike, as Kauai’s weather can vary rapidly.
  5. First Aid: Tropical climates need special attention to cuts and wounds. Avoid exposing open damages to river water, as infections can develop quickly. Prompt treatment is essential.
  6. Proper Footwear: Wear comfortable footwear, preferably well-worn and comfy shoes or hiking boots to avoid discomfort on the trail.
  7. Clothing: Bandage in layers to save your skin from the sun. Wear a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and take a light rain jacket due to Kauai’s unpredictable climate.

Kauai is famous for its natural beauty, and its numerous attractions to explore. Research Kauai attractions and plan to share the wonders of this remote island.

If you're planning a trip to Kauai, you've come to the right place.

Here, you’ll find all the essential information and insights you need to make your Kauai adventure a memorable one.

  1. City Feel: Unlike the remote island ambiance of most Kauai beaches, Kalapaki Beach is located directly in Lihue. This proximity to the city allows for easy access to stores and restaurants. Lihue boasts a range of shopping options, including major retailers like Target and Costco, as well as local hot spots.
  2. Gentle Waves for Surf Lessons: Kalapaki Beach is known for its gentle waves, making it an ideal spot for surf lessons. You’ll find several surf instructors and plenty of students practicing their skills. The conditions are perfect for beginners, and you can watch as students practice on the wide grass lawn before venturing into the water. The instructors make learning to surf look easy, and even young children can stand on their surfboards quickly. If surfing isn’t your thing, there are also opportunities for boogie boarding and stand-up paddleboarding.
  3. Proximity to Cruise Ports: Kalapaki Beach is conveniently located near the cruise port, making it accessible for cruise passengers. While it may not feel overly crowded with cruise traffic, it’s something to be aware of if you visit during cruise ship arrivals.

Overall, Kalapaki Beach offers a unique blend of beachside relaxation, water sports activities, and easy access to city amenities, making it a versatile destination for visitors to Kauai.

Some of the best snorkeling beaches on Kauai:

  • Tunnels Beach (amazing snorkeling, swimming, seals),
  • Kee Beach (great snorkeling, and swimming, with reservations),
  • Hideaway’s Beach (Incredible snorkeling can be found on the North Shore),
  • Anini Beach (snorkeling, fishing, swimming – great for everything),
  • and Kalapaki Beach in Kauai (perfect for families, beginner snorkeling, and swimming, especially for kids).

Best Cliff Jumping In Kauai

For the best cliff-jumping experiences in Kauai, make sure to check out

  • Shipwreck Beach, is known for its amazing cliff-jumping opportunities.
  • Additionally, Queen’s Bath Kauai is another must-visit spot for cliff-jumping enthusiasts.

Some Awesome Beaches To Explore In Kauai:

  • Moloa’a Beach (insanely underrated, known for Gilligan’s Island filming), Lumaha’i Beach (important tips to know before visiting),
  • Secret Beach (a must-see, also known as Kauapea Beach),
  • Haena Beach (where you might spot a Monk Seal),
  • Gillin’s Beach (fairly secluded with horse riding opportunities),
  • Donkey Beach (underrated and often deserted),
  • Hanalei Beach (gorgeous, especially for sunsets),
  • Salt Pond Beach Park (great for kids and families, with camping options), and Black Pot Beach.

Some Most Kauai Attractions:

Fern Grotto

LOCATION: Wailua – East Side

FEATURES: Fern-covered, lava rock grotto on the Walua River with daily boat tours.

Hanalei Valley Lookout

LOCATION: Hanalei – North Shore

FEATURES: Excellent overlook into Hanalei Valley with spectacular picture opportunities.

Hanapepe Swinging Bridge

LOCATION: Hanalei – North Shore

FEATURES: Excellent overlook into Hanalei Valley with spectacular picture opportunities.

Kalalau Lookout

LOCATION: Kokee Park – West Side

FEATURES: Restrooms, Picnic Tables, Scenic Lookout

Ke Ala Hele Makalae Coastal Path

LOCATION: Kapaa – East Side

FEATURES: Restrooms, Picnic Tables, Scenic Lookout

Keahua Arboretum

LOCATION: Wailua – East Side

FEATURES: Picnic Tables, Hiking, Swimming Hole

Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge

LOCATION: Kilauea – North Shore

FEATURES: Restrooms, Picnic Tables, Scenic Lookout


Kalapaki Beach offers a unique and unexpected experience right in the heart of the city. Its proximity to Lihue’s amenities, gentle waves for surf lessons, and accessibility to cruise ports make it a convenient and enjoyable destination for those looking for a blend of beachside relaxation and urban convenience. So, if you’re seeking a beach experience with a city feel, Kalapaki Beach is certainly worth a visit.

FAQs: Kalapaki Beach

Visiting Kalapaki Beach is free of charge, and there are no set hours for access. It is open to everyone, including non-Marriott guests. For additional information about Kalapaki Beach, you can refer to the Hawaii Tourist Authority’s website.
Kalapaki Beach can be kid-friendly, especially for older kids who are too big for the shallow end but not quite ready for open surf. However, it’s important to exercise caution and supervise children to ensure their safety.
While Kalapaki Beach offers plenty of other water and beach activities to enjoy, snorkeling is not recommended here due to the sandy bottom and the absence of a reef, resulting in limited sea life to observe.

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