Kauai is unique as there are more sandy, swimmable beaches than other Hawaiian islands. Although this is a big draw it can also be dangerous. Not all beaches have lifeguards and lifeguards are only on duty 9:00am to 4:00pm. Winter months have the highest surf and strongest rip currents but hidden rip currents and heavy shore break can happen anytime.
Raising kids on Kauai makes you hyper aware of the dangerous conditions throughout the year. We teach our kids to respect the ocean, never turn your back on the ocean, and they get hurt and they learn. When visitors come on vacation, I do my best to advise them on what beaches to go to and what to look for but all to often people don’t heed the warnings and get in trouble or drown. It’s a good idea to know in advance where you are going to swim, check out the Hawaii Lifeguard Association’s Beach Safety Guide.
I have never been to all the beaches on Kauai nor have I been on all the hikes. There’s a lot! For tips on where to explore check out this island beach guide. Find the best lifeguarded beaches and safety tips here.