Snorkeling Lawai Beach is popular and an easy spot to access. We have seen it busy with tour groups brought in by van; they are often using the snuba apparatus. And even though this spot can be crowded it has lots of fish to see. Because of the protecting reef off this beach it can be a good beginner spot as long as the south swell is not high.
Note: This page is a sample from our popular Kauai Snorkeling Guide eBook available here.
At low tide there is a decent sized beach on the left side; but at high tide it almost disappears. The shoreline next to the road is reinforced with lava boulders and there are small rocks everywhere on the beach. The further you go to the right the beach becomes coral shelf.
Lawai is also known as Beach House Beach, after the restaurant that sits on the left side of the beach overlooking the ocean. Around the restaurant is a raised park with grass and a walkway near the water’s edge, so this is a nice place to hang out if it is high tide and the beach is underwater.
The Lawa’i Beach Resort is across the street behind the beach.
You can enter the water in bare feet, just watch for the rocks in the sand. Enter anywhere along the sand.
When snorkeling Lawai Beach you are in the little bay between the beach and the protective reef. Like most places, the visibility gets better the farther out you swim, and the coral that is dead or non-existent closer starts to become more healthy as you swim out toward the protective reef.
You come to Lawai Beach to see many fish in a lot of variety, and they are all through the bay. You might also be lucky enough to see a turtle. If you are interested in topography and reef, swim along the left side rocks below the restaurant and along the inner edge of the outer reef, but don’t expect too much. As always, watch for currents at all times. The depths here range from 3 to 15 feet.
There are many urchins in the dead reef here. It seems like the fish are being or have been fed here because they are not afraid. We saw quite a few and in good variety:
Small patches of the following corals:
Want To See Both Fish And Corals?
It's great to see all the fish snorkeling Lawai Beach, but there are a few spots on Kauai where you can see both a healthy reef and fish. Find all of those spots in our Kauai Snorkeling Guide eBook.
1. From Hwy 50 (Kaumuali’i Hwy) head south on Hwy 520 (Maluhia Road) follow this into Koloa.
2. Turn right on Koloa Road.
3. Turn left on Po’ipu Road.
4. Follow Po’ipu Road to the traffic circle where you will take your second right onto Lawa’i Road.
5. You will pass three roads on your left and just after the third is the Prince Kuhio Park on the right and the small PK’s beach on your left. Keep going and just past the Kuhio Shores Condos and Prince Kuhio condos is Lawa’i Beach, right in front of the Beach House Restaurant. The parking is on the right across the street from the beach.
There are restrooms, drinking water, showers, and some shade in the park by the restaurant.
Know Your Fishes