Snorkeling Poipu Beach Park – Popular Spot, Lovely Beach

Kauai, Hawaii

Snorkeling Poipu Beach Park is popular and the beach offers all the facilities needed for hanging out on a beach for hours. The snorkeling is decent, but crowded. It is just to the right of the tombolo (described below) out to the island. The other areas are generally too wavy for fun snorkeling here.

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Snorkeling Poipu Beach Park

In the summer though Hawaii often gets a southern swell that can make snorkeling Poipu Beach Park dangerous, so check condition reports or ask the lifeguard if you aren’t sure.

The geology is pretty unique at Po’ipu Beach. Po’ipu has a tiny island off the beach that is connected with a sand spit. This formation is called a tombolo. There are only a few places in the world where this occurs naturally (although it is not completely natural here anymore). The sandy area that connects the beach with the island protects the right side from the waves that come from the trade winds. Sand is periodically brought in to restore the tombolo.

Poipu Tombolo, with a resting Hawaiian Monk Seal.

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Poipu is also a popular spot for the endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals to rest on the beach. If you see one, give them lots of room because they are tired, and because there is a hefty fine for disturbing them.

The far right end of the beach is fronted by the Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club Resort.

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Water Entrance for Snorkeling Poipu Beach Park

Water entrance for snorkeling Poipu Beach Park

Enter from the beach on the right side of the tombolo. There is some coral shelf pretty close to the water’s edge that you should be aware of, but it is possible with bare feet. If you want to feel completely safe, wear some footwear. Slip your fins on when you can float.

Where to Snorkel

The snorkeling area is small here. It is between the beach and where the waves are breaking off the right end of the island. And it goes from the tombolo out into the little bay about a quarter length of the beach. There are some fish to see and we have seen turtles here frequently. The underwater topography is flat and uninteresting, but there are a few colorful little corals to see. The visibility is not great snorkeling Po’ipu Beach Park, especially close to the beach, but as you get closer to the island you will find it improves some. The depths are no more than 10 feet through this area, so a good shallow spot.

Many snorkelers in the water at Poipu Beach Park

Snorkeling Sunburns Suck!

Check out the snorkeling rash guards, wetsuits, and reef safe sunscreen we use to protect ourselves and to protect fish and coral from sunscreen chemicals.

What We Saw While Snorkeling Poipu Beach Park

Orangeband Surgeonfish seen while snorkeling Poipu Beach. Park

The reef here has sea cucumbers in residence. We frequently see turtles while snorkeling Poipu Beach Park.


  • eel
  • Goatfish, Manybar
  • Surgeonfish, Orangeband
  • Wrasse, Bird

Whitespotted Sea Cucumber at Poipu Beach

Small patches of the following corals:

  • Blue Rice
  • Cauliflower
  • Finger
  • Lichen
  • Lobe
  • Rice

Other Creatures:

  • Sea Cucumber, Whitespotted
  • Turtle

Driving Directions

1. From Hwy 50 (Kaumuali’i Hwy) head south on Hwy 520 (Maluhia Road).

2. Turn left on Ala Kinoiki (Koloa-Po’ipu Bypass).

3. At the end of Ala Kinoiki turn right on Po’ipu Road heading west.

4. Watch for the sign for Hoowili Road on the left and turn there. At the end of this road is Po’ipu Beach Park. Parking is on both the east and west sides of Hoowili at the intersection with Hoone Road.

Poipu Beach Park parking lot.


Poipu Beach Park has restrooms, drinking water, showers, a lifeguard, pavilions, picnic tables, barbecues, and shade.

Restrooms and shade pavilion at Poipu Beach.
Outdoor showers at Poipu Beach Park

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