Kalapaki Beach

Kalapaki Beach - Kid-friendly Beach Near the Cruise Ports and Downtown Lihue
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Located just outside downtown Lihue, Kalapaki Beach offers a convenient place to swim and sunbathe in the city. This protected crescent beach is popular for swimming, body boarding, and sunbathing. 

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

So you just flew into Kauai’s Lihue airport and have checked into a nearby hotel — now what? Well, consider heading next to the nearby Kalapaki Beach to take a moment to breathe in the ocean air and get your toes wet. Relax under palm trees as you contemplate your upcoming adventure. Kalapaki’s central location, gorgeous sand, and beautiful vistas make it the perfect go-to beach on this part of the island.

Kalapaki Beach is located just south of downtown Lihue and is reachable by taking Rice St. southbound. Rice St. will veer right after Mariachi Mexican Cuisine, beachgoers should veer left and follow the side road down to a parking lot from where they can access Kalapaki Beach. This picturesque crescent-shaped beach also backs up to Mariott’s Kauai Beach Club, offering more direct access for their resort guests. 

Despite the nearness to the resort and other Lihue shops and restaurants, Kalapaki Beach does not have a lifeguard stand. However, despite this, Kalapaki Beach is still largely considered a safe, kid-friendly beach. A large break wall and rock and offshore rock jetties protect the beach from the open ocean and large waves and the beach only ever experiences some type of rip current. That said, dangerous currents do sometimes happen and guests (especially those with children) should be cautious and check their surroundings and other swimmers before entering the water.

Swimming here is very popular, so too is bodyboarding, stand-up paddleboarding, beginner surfing, and beach sports like volleyball. In fact, you’ll find several outfitters on and near this beach, offering things like surfboard lessons and beach catamaran rentals. What you won’t find, however, is any snorkelers out here as the water here tends to be murky due to its nearness to Nawiliwili Harbor and its continual parade of boats in and out. 

Kalapaki Beach’s soft white crescent beach is bordered by a lovely green lawn — both of which are frequent spots for sunbathers. A few palm trees and other tropical plants border the lawn and offer some shade. 

It is easy for visitors here to enjoy a whole day in and around Kalapaki Beach. Close to here are multiple stores, restaurants, and small sandwich and dessert shops. When you’re feeling tired of the sun, simply walk up to the beachfront Duke’s Kauai for a snack and a drink. Or check out the gift shops at the Kauai Products Fair near the aforementioned access parking lot.

Insider Tips:
-Kalapaki Beach is beautiful and it does have a lot to offer visitors, but not everyone will enjoy this beach due to its more urbanized location. The nearby port and harbor do get busy, and you are near road traffic and other shops. 
-This beach does have basic park amenities, including bathrooms and showers that are ideal for rinsing off the salt water after swimming. 
-The best parking in the area does go fast. Consider arriving early in the morning to get it first and to enjoy a beautiful sunrise from the cove. 
-While technically alcohol is illegal on all of Hawaii’s beaches, Kalapaki’s close proximity to Duke’s makes drinking here more acceptable. But discreetness is always key, and it’s a good idea to stay on the lawn portion when enjoying libations. 
-As with most Kauai beaches, you do not want to swim here at night or during dawn or dusk. Sharks are known to frequent the area.