Tunnels is my top choice for snorkeling on Kauai. Hands down.The only complaint I hear from visitors is the lack of parking. I have two strategies to help.
First, arrive before 10am when parking is easier to find and the beach is less crowded. My second strategy is to stay at one of our Haena Kauai vacation rentals. Then you can walk over any time of day and enjoy this spectacular beach.
Tunnels is teeming with tropical fish both large and small. You may get lucky and swim with sea turtles. I’m always amazed by the underwater life here and the stunning views above.
The reef break far offshore is popular with surfers. When the ocean creates a large tube it’s like a tunnel. While Tunnels is the name you hear most often, the Hawaiian word for this beach is Makua.
Take your time and walk along the 2 mile white sand beach. You can find shells and admire the views of Mount Makana. It’s also known as Bali Hai from the movie South Pacific.
Snorkeling is best in the center portion of the beach with its half moon shaped reef. My advice is to get in the water. It can be unnerving at first swimming over the reef but there’s more room than you think. The bottom terrain varies and there’s a big hole offshore where large fish congregate.
Spend the day, bring food and water, and relax on the North Shore Kauai. After your visit come back and tell us about your day at Tunnels.
Beach Location: Just past the 8 mile marker on Hwy 560 you’ll find beach access for the best snorkeling. If parking is an issue you may need to go to Haena State Park and walk back.
Reminder: You can help protect the reef by not stepping on coral. Mahalo!
Bookmark our Kauai Beach Explorer to stay current on Kauai beaches and facilities. Watch our Kauai video with important ocean safety information. It’s six minutes of your time that can save your life or that of a loved one.