Lawai Beach

Lawai Beach – Where to Find Kauai Sea Turtles, Shave Ice, and So Much More
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

A true hidden gem in South Shore Kauai, Lawai Beach serves as a quaint little spot to go snorkeling with the sea turtles. In between all that fun, treat yourself to hot dogs, shave ice, and more at the nearby snack shack. Then, come back to bask on the sand with the monk seals while enjoying the gorgeous ocean views.

- The Local Expert Team

With a trip to Lawai Beach, you can easily see why people say that good things come in small packages. Although just a ¼ mile long at best, this hidden gem in South Shore Kauai serves as the top spot for exciting ocean adventures of all kinds. Most visitors land here on their search for glimpses of beautiful sea turtles flitting through the ocean – and they find them in droves. It’s common to see four or more turtles gliding about in the water at any given time.

While the turtles are the main attraction, they’re not the only marine life to make an appearance. Since Lawai Beach doesn’t get nearly as many visitors as other stretches of shoreline, everything from monk seals to colorful reef fish all spend plenty of time along the sandy shores. Most of the beach features soft, golden sands, although it’s rather rocky along the roadside and once you get into the water. So, be sure to bring your water shoes just in case you want to explore the rockier areas.

There are no lifeguards on duty at Lawai Beach, so you’ll have to enjoy the water at your own risk. If you’re planning on swimming, snorkeling, or enjoying any other water activities, check the conditions before you arrive. On windy days, the surf gets rather rough, after all, making even a swim in shallow water quite dangerous. Even on the nicest of days, never turn your back to the ocean because rogue waves can come out of nowhere and knock you off your feet.

Whether you venture into the water or stay on the shore, take a trip over to the snack shack across the street for treats and refreshments. You can get larger-than-life shave ice, all-beef hot dogs, and many other tasty treats, and then take them back to Lawai Beach to enjoy. As you sit out on the sand and chow down, take a moment to gaze upon the beautiful ocean views before getting back to your explorations.

Best things to do at Lawai Beach include:

Snorkeling Around
The majority of visitors simply swing by to get in the water and snorkel around. Since it’s not very busy most of the year, the marine life sticks around and puts on quite a show. Although most snorkelers arrive on their own or with friends, guided groups land here on the regular as well.

Watching the Sunset
If you want to watch the sunset in a chill atmosphere, Lawai Beach is definitely the place to go. For the quietest experience, just go to the far side of the beach and settle in for a gorgeous show. The sky will gradually light up in a full rainbow of hues before ending in a spectacular array of purples, reds, and oranges.

Going Surfing
While it’s not the most popular surfing locale on the island, the waves still beckon to avid surfers looking for a new challenge. To ride the best waves, they’ll paddle out to the offshore reef to enjoy the exciting surf breaks all around.

If you need the restroom during your visit, just go over to the building next to the snack shack. Not only will you find well-maintained bathrooms, but there’s also a shower if you’d like to rinse off. Garbage cans are usually onsite as well, giving you a chance to leave Lawai Beach better than you found it. If not, just pack out whatever you brought with you and toss out your trash once you arrive back at your hotel.

Insider Tips:
-If arriving by car, you’re welcome to park across the street by the Lawai Resort. Don’t park in the parking lot though since those spots are just for resort guests.
-While watching the sea turtles, stay at least 10 feet away at all times. Otherwise, you could disturb their natural habitat and behaviors plus end up with a hefty fine.