Kauai’s best beach for babies and toddlers

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Toddler in water at Poipu Beach Park in Kauai, Hawaii
Enjoying the calm, shallow water at Poipu Beach Park on Kauai’s south shore. In the background, a father sits in the water holding an infant.

While Kauai is blessed with a number of kid-friendly beaches (Anini, Kalapaki, Ke’e, Baby Beach, and Lydgate to name a few), there is one little beach that’s the best hands-down for letting babies enjoy the ocean.

Poipu Beach Park, located just across the street from Brennecke’s restaurant and beach deli, offers a sandy little nook built into the side of a small cove, where lava boulders reach out to block the already minimized waves coming in over coral reef. While it should be noted that swimming or snorkeling out in the center of the larger cove can have its hazards and it is always wise to check with the life guard in attendance before doing so, this portion to the east side is more like a saltwater wading pool which, at low tide, has virtually no waves (yes, that’s my little guy lying down on his stomach in it).

Baby-friendly cove at Poipu Beach Park, Kauai
The baby-friendly east cove at Poipu Beach Park in Kauai at low tide–it gets bigger as the tide comes in, but remains fairly shallow.

During low tide, the water can be so calm in the “baby zone” here that you may see babies bobbing in their float boats while parents sit waist-deep in the water visiting beside them. It’s one of the few places you may be comfortable enough to actually open a book while your toddler toddles in and out of the water beside you. With golden sand spread like a velvet blanket beneath the shallow water, there is no need for water socks or shoes in this sheltered nook.

As the tide comes in, small fish flush through the large rocks to the delight of curious parents and children. We saw crabs scuttle over the rocks as well, and one of my children even spotted a small striped eel hiding deep in a rocky nook. Tide conditions can vary throughout the month and the year, however, and they tend to be strongest along Kaua’s south shore in the summer months, so always approach new beaches with caution and common sense, especially with kids. 

Little kid watches for fish as the tide flushes through the rocks at Poipu Beach Park, Kauai
Watching for small fish as the tide filters through the rocks along the cove at Poipu Beach Park

Poipu Beach Park also has restrooms with a family-size changing stall and bench that can be used for diaper changes, plus outdoor showers, and this playground:

The playground at Poipu Beach Park in Kauai
The playground at Poipu Beach Park, with the baby-friendly beach behind it.

Better still, you’ll find carry-out deli sandwiches made to order, cold drinks, and shave ice right across the street at Brennecke’s Beach Deli (on the ground level of the blue restaurant building). Grab your lunch or shave ice and stroll on over to enjoy them right on the sand or at a covered and shady picnic table.

If you are staying elsewhere on Kauai and would like to make a day trip south, exploring the island, Poipu Beach Park is an excellent place to stop for lunch or a cold treat (or both!) and enjoy some great family beach time with all the facilities you may need.

Do you have a favorite beach on Kauai? Do you plan to visit this gem on your trip?

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