Cameos by monk seals are just part of the appeal of this sandy expanse, widely regarded as one of the safest beaches on the island. Though part of the beach stretches past the Sheraton Kauai Resort, its northern reaches feel like a place apart, less crowded and palm-fringed, with a protective black-rock reef and a natural wading pool for kids. If you’re just passing through, there’s ample public parking. If you’re staying at the resort, it’s a short, scenic walk back to your room.
Hoona Beach, a.k.a. Baby Beach
True to its nickname, this tiny, tranquil cove next to Poipu Beach seems designed by Mother Nature to put parents at ease. Its shallow waters are ideal for kids. Basking and wading are what most people do here, though you might see bodyboarders testing the swells out beyond a ring of protective rocks. There are no facilities, but you’ll find restrooms, outdoor showers, and limited public parking just west on Lawai Road. (Note: There is no lifeguard on duty, and the water level may rise depending on weather and wave conditions.)
If you’re a guest at the Fairmont Kea Lani resort, you might forgo the pool in favor of the beach that looks like a spread from a travel brochure. The crystalline waters are partially sheltered by lava rocks, so you can make good use of paddle-boards, kayaks, and other aquatic rentals. Or simply don snorkel gear and play I Spy with kaleidoscopic schools of fish. Not booked at the resort? No biggie. There's a small public parking lot beside the Kea Lani, and a footpath leads to the beach that resembles the postcards you sent home.