Our research is editorially independent but we may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Hawaii’s Ke’e Beach is a Snorkeler’s Paradise

Located along Kauai’s North Shore and on the Na Pali Coast, Ke’e Beach is one of the best destinations in Hawaii for snorkeling and offers picture-perfect beach conditions. Ke’e Beach is a beach that’s shaped like a half-moon and is part of Hā’ena State Park. Many Hawaiian travelers visit this beach each year, so it’s important to know what it’s all about and the best ways to experience it for yourself!

View along the receding headlands of the Na Pali coast from Ke`e Beach
Credit: View along the receding headlands of the Na Pali coast from Ke`e Beach by © Steveheap | Dreamstime.com

Ke’e Beach is a top spot for snorkeling and swimming on Kauai because the beach is protected by a reef that makes the area safe. There are sea turtles swimming in the water here, and the water is typically calm with very few waves. Therefore, families with children love it because of the relaxed vibe. There are tide pools for little ones to play in when the tide is low, but parents will need to keep an eye on the tide schedule for their safety. Avoid the west end of the beach for swimming because this is where the currents can pull you from the lagoon to the ocean. There are lifeguards working at the beach.

Views of Ke`e Beach from the Kalalau Trail
Credit: Views of Ke`e Beach from the Kalalau Trail by © Steveheap | Dreamstime.com

Ke’e Beach is a popular place for weddings, so don’t be surprised if you see a ceremony taking place with photographers and a happy couple. There are restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and water fountains at Ke’e Beach. There is a pay phone on site for emergencies, but cell phone reception is not typically available.

Sun setting over the receding headlands of the Na Pali coast from Ke`e Beach
Credit: Sun setting over the receding headlands of the Na Pali coast from Ke`e Beach by © Steveheap | Dreamstime.com

In addition to water activities, Ke’e Beach is an amazing place to view a tropical sunset on Kauai. Pack a picnic and bring your camera to snap some amazing shots of pure paradise. Some of the most incredible scenery on the island is right here at Ke’e Beach, so take some time to soak up the views of the lush valleys, rugged coastline, blue water, and towering cliffs.

Ke'e Beach, Hawaii
Credit: Ke'e Beach, Hawaii by wikimedia.org

To get to Ke’e Beach, go west from Hanalei on Highway 560. Drive along until you hit mile marker 10, where the road ends. Parking can be tough during the summer, so plan to arrive early to find a spot. Alternatively, you can take the Kauai North Shore Shuttle to get here and skip the parking hassles.

To help control crowds, reservations are required for vehicles, pedestrians, and people who ride the shuttle to the state park, beach, and hiking areas. You can make a reservation up to 30 days in advance, but you’ll need to make it at least a day before you plan to visit.

Super Wave at Ke`e Beach on the North Coast of Kauai
Credit: Super Wave at Ke`e Beach on the North Coast of Kauai by © Bruce Beck | Dreamstime.com

The Na Pali Coast begins at Ke’e Beach, so this is a great starting point for your broader adventures in the region. From here, it’s easy to go on expeditions to see dolphins, go kayaking, or book a boat ride or helicopter tour. Otherwise, at Hā’ena State Park, you can hike along the famous 11-mile Kalalau Trail and the four-mile Hanakāpīʻai Falls Trail – two of Kauai’s best hikes.

Ke’e Beach Information
State Park Website
Parking lot GPS coordinates:  Latitude 22.221° or 22° 13′ 16″ north, Longitude -159.57846° or 159° 34′ 43″ west
State park phone number: (808) 274-3444

Travel Deals

11-Day Best of Ireland Self Drive Tour

$3450+

Create the Ultimate Trip to Anchorage this Year

PLAN

Hyatt Zilara Cancun All-Inclusive Resort | Mexico

$392+ pp/pn

Riu Palace Jamaica | Adults-Only 24-Hr All-Inclusive

$185+ pp/pn

Mexico | Hyatt Ziva Cancun All-Inclusive Resort

$465+ pp/pn

Riu Palace Aruba | All-Incl. Beachfront w/ Free Shuttle

$313+ pp/pn

Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall All-Inclusive Resort | Jamaica

$381+ pp/pn

11-Day Irish Cities, Culture & Castles Private Tour

$5875+

AA R/T Business Class Flights | Up To 77% Off

$2805+

Explore Anchorage's Local Flavor: Dining, Pubs, more

FREE

Air & 9-Day Ireland Express By Rail | Get $200 Off

$1999+

12-Day Mediterranean Cruise | Up To $4,000 Off

$9260+

Aruba | Riu Palace Antillas 18 & Over All-Inclusive

$293+ pp/pn

Riu Bambu | Beachfront All-Incl. Punta Cana Resort

$74+ pp/pn

Air & 14-Day Australia Vacation w/ Kangaroo Island

$3799+