12 Best Surf Spots In Kauai, Hawaii - Updated 2023

surf spots in kauai
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Unlock all your tropical dreams when you treat yourself to a paradisiacal escape to the picture-perfect island of Kauai. Kauai is nothing short of amazing with spellbinding landscapes of jagged emerald mountains, sweepingly beautiful waterfalls, scenic beaches, and big waves to catch the best surf. The everchanging scenery of Kauai forms the perfect backdrop for endless hours of exhilarating outdoor activities whether it is soaring over the island on a helicopter ride or paddling through the raging rivers – there is something for everyone. Kauai is a surfer’s paradise providing beginner-friendly waves as well as challenging swells for the avid surfer. For accommodation, you’ll find plenty of luxury rentals that ensure a pleasant stay. You can book a beachfront rental as well should you want to stay near the water. Feel the excitement of catching a wave and scroll down to learn about the best surf spots in Kauai, Hawaii.

1. Kealia Beach

Kealia Beach Kauai Hawaii
Source: Photo by Flickr user dronepicr used under CC BY 2.0

One of the best places to surf in Kauai, Kealia Beach is situated on the scenic eastern shores and is a captivating destination with an array of activities to enjoy. Visitors can bask in the tropical sunshine, lounge on the sandy shores, or take leisurely walks along the picturesque coastline.

What sets Kealia Beach apart is its reputation as a fantastic surfing spot. The consistent trade winds and rolling waves make it a haven for surfers, both beginners and experts. Surfers flock here to catch thrilling rides on the Pacific swells. If you’re a surfer seeking the perfect wave or simply looking for a serene beach day in paradise, Kealia Beach is a must-visit.

Kealia Beach

Address: Kuhio Hwy Kapaa, HI 96746

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2. Ha’Ena Bay

Haena Beach
Source: Photo by Flickr user Andy Price used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Located on the north shore, Ha'ena Bay boasts exceptional surfing conditions that beckon wave enthusiasts from far and wide. On the bay’s eastern side, surfers can revel in the exhilarating right-hand waves of “Tunnels”, aptly named for their surf breaks in Kauai over a shallow reef. When a proper northeast swell rolls in, Tunnels lives up to its name and is always an exciting ride.

There’s also “Cannons” on the other side of the bay, offering equally hollow and shallow left-breaking waves powered by the northwest swells. For safety, lifeguards are also assigned to the beach.

Ha’Ena Bay

Address: 5-7878 Kuhio Highway, Kilauea, HI 96754

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3. Kalapaki Beach

Kalapaki Beach - Lihue
Source: Photo by user Haydn Blackey used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Bask in the sun and sip on coconut water as you enjoy the scenic beauty of Kalapaki Beach which is a quaint island in Lihue. The beach is the perfect place for beginners to learn how to swim as the waters are much calmer due to the features of jetties and breakwaters that stop big waves from coming in. There is a service on the beach that offers surf lessons and surfboard rentals for travellers. Otherwise, Kalapaki Beach is the ideal spot to pack your picnic lunch and enjoy a day in the sun and frolic in the refreshing waters of the beach. The appeal of the beach also lies in the fact that it is conveniently located near popular amenities like a range of accommodations, beach catamarans rental shacks, stores and restaurants.

Kalapaki Beach

Address: Lihue, HI 96766, USA

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4. Polihale State Park

Polihale State Park - 12
Source: Photo by user Garden State Hiker used under CC BY 2.0

Looking for a surfing hidden gem spot? Head out to Polihale State Park which boasts a seemingly endless stretch of white sandy beaches fringed by dramatic cliffs and a popular place for surfing in Kauai with the locals. The ride and hike to the beach may seem like a bumpy drive, but the views at the end are breathtaking. Polihale State Park is perfect for the more experienced surfers because of its biggest waves in Kauai. There is a sheltered area from the waves and a strong current for day visitors who wish to just frolic in the water or go snorkeling to uncover the technicolor underwater world. There is a spell-binding beauty in the sunsets at Polihale State Park which slowly tucks behind the horizon, casting a warm glow across the sky in a dazzling display of crimson and orange.

Polihale State Park

Address: Hwy 50, Waimea, HI 96766, USA

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5. Horners

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Follow the crowds to the scenic part of the island called Horner’s. This popular spot attracts both locals and travellers from far and wide to explore and enjoy the inviting waters. Also a famous place for family-friendly day trips, Horner’s enjoys a mellow atmosphere forming the perfect backdrop for endless hours to create those sun-kissed memories. Horner’s is a reef break with a rocky bottom and it has three parts to the reef, the inside break which is much more shallow, the middle break and the outside break. The condition creates ideal swells for surfers to ride the wave of adventure.


Address: Hawaii, USA

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6. Pakala Point

However, if you wish to escape the crowds then head on over to Kauai’s best-kept secret, Pakala Beach, which is a lesser-known swimming and surfing spot but it exudes tranquillity and peace. This is the ideal spot for the traveller who is looking for a little bit of solitude to relax along the soft sand or soak in the natural wonder. There is a river that runs into the ocean and a small rock pier where you can watch the surfers catch the best waves. The crystal clear blue waters offer superb surf conditions and a refreshing swim.

Pakala Point

Address: Pakala Village, HI 96769, USA

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7. Waikoko Reef

Waikokos Blowhole - Hanalei Bay
Source: Photo by user Twelvizm used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Hawaii is peppered with hidden gems and none more alluring than the waters of Waikoko Beach, which is one of the best places to surf in Kauai. This predominantly uncrowded beach attracts avid surfers to its waters because there is a lot of wave action. The reason why this beach is never crowded is that the swimming conditions are not that good because the water is too choppy, but it offers the perfect swells for surfing conditions. The beach offers plenty of shady area making it the ideal spot for sunbathing and picnics with the family.

Waikoko Reef

Address: Hawaii 96746, USA

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8. Prince Kuhio Beach

Honolulu: Prince Kuhio Beach 2021
Source: Photo by Flickr user Anthony G. Reyes used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Treat yourself to a paradisiacal escape by soaking in the natural beauty and serenity of the popular Prince Kuhio Beach. Although small in size, this beach is jam-packed with jewels of nature waiting to be explored. The appeal of this picturesque beach is the fact that it offers ideal snorkelling conditions granting travellers an opportunity to swim with sea turtles who live along the shores of the beach. Just off the reef, you will find three popular surf breaks generating bigger waves for the expert surfer. During a particular part of the year, there will be a surfing competition held, which attracts a large crowd. As the sun goes down over the horizon, the tranquil lawns are filled with holiday goers soaking in the warm sunset hues.

Prince Kuhio Beach

Address: Hawaii, USA

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9. Kahili Beach

Source: Photo by user Forest and Kim Starr used under CC BY 2.0

Kahili Beach, also known as Rock Quarry Beach, has been known to be one of the great Kauai surfing spots because there is no outer reef protecting the beach, creating large swells. This beach is also known for its constant waves created by the island’s heavy winds. The Bay also features a calm fresh water spot where kids can frolic in the water. The shores of Kahili are perfect for day camping and the nearby Kilauea River finds fishermen lazily waiting for the next great catch.

Kahili Beach

Address: Kalihiwai, HI 96754, USA

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10. Anahola Bay

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Janine Sprout used under CC BY-SA 4.0

With the majestic Kalalea mountain range as your backdrop, be captivated by the beautiful white sand fringed bay of Anahola Beach. There are a plethora of seaside activities for travellers to engage in on their visit to Anahola Beach. On the north end of the bay at the mouth of the Anahola River, there is a perfect spot for shellfishing and much more. This family-friendly beach enjoys great swimming conditions and ample shade for relaxation and to unwind. Anahola Bay is known for its mellow waves as the large outer-reef soaks up most of the energy of the wave creating small, weak waves that are perfect for the novice surfers to harness their skills.

Anahola Bay

Address: Hawaii, USA

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11. Hanalei Bay (from USD 94.0)

Hanalei Bay from Wai'oli Beach Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Goshea used under CC BY 2.5

Hanalei Bay may be small in size, but it has a lot of personality and charm. This is a picturesque family-friendly destination characterised by spectacular sunsets and the majestic mountains as your backdrop. During the warmer months, the waters of Hanalei Bay are tranquil, making it the perfect place for novice swimmers, snorkellers and surfers to refine their skills. More experienced surfers can hit the waves for an exhilarating experience during the winter months as the swells are much bigger. There is more appeal to Hanalei Bay for travellers visiting, like the Hanalei Pier which is a historical landmark and the ideal launchpad to dive into the inviting waters or just afternoon stroll to soak in the sky as it bursts into warm sunset hues. The native town of Hanalei town has a myriad of shops which offers authentic souvenirs for travellers to purchase and restaurants to savour the local cuisine.

Hanalei Bay

Address: Hawaii, USA

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Kauai Learn to Surf GROUP for 2/Private for 3/Private for 4 (your own people)

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

190 reviews

12. Kiahuna Beach (from USD 98.0)

Kiahuna Plantation
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ernest McGray, Jr. used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The waves of Kiahuna Beach are perfectly tailored for the avid as well as the beginner surfer. The soft sand bottom and waist-high water invite surfers to practice their skill where they will score a rideable surf. If you feel confident enough, then venture further offshore to where the reef starts to produce more challenging waves for adrenaline infused adventure.

Kiahuna Beach

Address: Koloa, HI 96756, USA

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Kauai: Small Group Surf Lesson on Poipu Beach

Duration: 75 minute

7 reviews

Ride the wave

Ride the wave in Kauai
Source: unsplash

Whatever your preference, choose your paradise from this selection of best surf spots in Kauai to suit your level of experience.

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Frequently asked questions about surf spots in Kauai

1. Which surf spots in Kauai are best for beginners?

If you are a beginner in the world of surfing and would like to explore some of the surf spots in Kauai that are best for people just dipping their toes, you can visit Kealia Beach, Kalapaki Beach, or Kiahuna Beach.

2. Which surf spots in Kauai are great for experienced surfers?

If you are an experienced surfer and would like to explore the surfing scenes during a holiday in Kauai, some of the surf spots that you can visit are Kealia Beach, Polihale State Park, Prince Kuhio Beach, or Hanalei Bay.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Annelene is a marketing graduate with a zest for life and a passion for travel. She believes these things help bring new perspective, introduce new cultures and educate us about life.

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