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The Hawaiian island of Kauai is known for its stunning seaside cliffs, dense tropical rainforests, and velvety soft beaches with clear waters and abundant ocean life. Few places exemplify this image of picturesque island paradise like Poipu Beach. Located on the island's South Shore, Poipu Beach Park is one of the more popular attractions in the area. Turtles and Hawaiian monk seals live in the surrounding waters and vibrant and colorful tropical fish populations swim among the submerged reefs and lava rock formations.
People flock to this crescent beach for its waters that provide excellent surfing, snorkeling, swimming, and bodyboarding. Beyond the water activities, picnic areas and open grassy fields for gatherings are available next to the ocean. On the edge of the small town of Poipu and a short drive from the larger village of Koloa, Poipu Beach is easily accessible for an afternoon swim or day trip.
The only commercial airport on the island is Lihue Airport (LIH) in southeast Lihue, around 30 minutes away from the beach and its adjacent town. A handful of airlines offer direct flights to Kauai, but most itineraries will arrive in the Honolulu International Airport (HNL) before transferring to a brief interisland flight. Once you arrive, shuttle services are available at the airport that can take you to most towns on the island's eastern side. However, renting a vehicle is necessary to efficiently get around and explore all of the surrounding areas as public transportation options are relatively limited. Poipu Beach and the surrounding township are easy enough to walk around and explore between dips in the warm tropical ocean waters.
The Hawaiian islands reside in the middle of the Pacific Oceans' warm southern bounds, creating a stable tropical climate for the majority of the year. While it is important to remember that Hawaii's unique ecology is home to dozens of microclimates, sometimes just a few miles apart, seasonal trends will generally remain consistent throughout the island chain. The summer months stay hot, with only moderate amounts of rain showing up between May and September, while June through August are the warmest and driest months of the year.
Kauai is one of the wettest places on earth, and during the winter the island experiences a minor drop in average temperatures with an uptick in the overall amount of rain. November through March is also when whale watching season takes place, with migratory bands of humpback whales birthing their young in the warm tropical waters. The rain and temperature drops don't impede people from enjoying the beaches, as the climate of Kauai is pleasant year-round, making searching for Poipu vacation rentals an excellent idea for any season.
The shallow water reefs and protected swimming coves make Poipu Beach one of the more popular snorkeling destinations on the island. You can find green sea turtles, endangered monk seals, and colorful bands of parrotfish throughout the surrounding waters on any given day among dozens of other species of marine life. Getting into the water earlier in the day is recommended if you’d like to snorkel around fewer people in this popular destination.
January and February mark the high points for whale watching on the islands. But herds of humpback begin to arrive in November and tend to linger through March. Sitting on the beach watching the whales breach the surface of the ocean and spray water into the sky is great, but viewing the seasonal activity is even more magical from a boat where the action can happen so close you may even get wet.
This 3.7-mile coastal walking trail is just outside of Poipu and extends from Punahoa Point to Shipwreck Beach. Skirting pristine coastlines, rocky coves, and tropical dunes, the Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail is an easy hike that stretches gently from clifftop scenic outlooks to secluded beaches and hidden inlets. Providing views of everything from whales to migratory birds, dense tropical jungles, and sunset vistas over the Pacific ocean, this hiking trail is accessible for most fitness levels.