NOTES: West of Hanalei at the western end of the north shore of Kauai, the snorkeling at Ke'e Beach is one of the most beautiful places to snorkel on Kauai, especially during low tide. It is common to see green sea turtles, a variety of reef fish and sometimes monk seals.
The Kee Beach snorkeling is best at low tide when the surf is then blocked by the exposed reef. While some may like the state park life guards, experienced snorkelers may find them to be alittle too restrictive. For experienced snorkelers, when guards are off duty, try heading out of the lagoon during calm waters at low tide to the outer edge of the reef. Turn right and stay close to outer edge. There are green sea turtle feeding zones where you can see dozens of turtles feeding. Keep a sharp eye for the black tipped reef sharks.
The Winter 2011-2012 season brought significant sand into the snorkeling lagoon resulting in a big reduction in water depth. Subsequently, the water clarity is greatly reduced as gentle wave actions kicks up the shallow sands.
To reach the snorkeling at Kee Beach from Lihue, head northwest on SR56 (Kuhio Highway) to Princeville. Continue west on SR560 to through Hanalei to Kee Beach (milepost 10). While there is an exceptional amount of parking within a mile, it fills up fast. Definitely get there very, very early (before 9am). There are now showers and restrooms onsite.
Before snorkeling at Ke'e Beach, make sure to check the current surf report. The waters off Kauai are known for potentially strong currents, high surf and rogue waves. Luckily, there are excellent up-to-date surf reports that can provide guidance on these adverse conditions. In addition to changing surf conditions, a Ke'e Beach snorkeling dive may expose you to sharp coral reefs and you may encounter sharks, such as whitetip reef sharks, galapagos sharks and tiger sharks.
For more details on Ke'e Beach snorkeling, we highly recommend the Kauai Snorkeling Guide eBook.
Additional printed reading material on Ke'e Beach snorkeling can be found in Snorkel Kauai by from Judy Malinowski.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Na Pali Coast State Park (808) 241-3444; Hawaii Visitors (808) 245-3971; Pedal N Paddle (gear shop), Hanalei (808) 826-9069; Kauai Weather (808) 245-6001.