Northeast of Hanalei on Kauai, the snorkeling at Queen Emmas Bath is known for its unique tidal pool snorkel dive. After the long hike down from the parking area, you will reach a lava flow slightly above the water level. The waves have carved out pools within the lava flow. These lava pools are best explored during low tide. Within the lava pools, there are a wide variety of very small reef fish to observe.
The Queens Bath area is prone to rogue waves which have injured dozens of people through the years. From September through May, the surf off Queens Bath is affected by seasonal northwest swells that kick-up the large waves and generate strong currents so make sure to exercise caution.
To reach the snorkeling in Kauai by air, fly into the Lihue airport (LIH). There are direct flights from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver and Honolulu. While most visitors to the island rent a car, it is possible to use the public bus but keep in mind that its small and slow. Plus, most of the main snorkeling beaches are well off the bus route requiring some hiking. If you do rent a car, make sure to leave the inside empty when at the beach to avoid attracting break-ins.
To reach the snorkeling at Queen Emmas Bath, head west on Kuhio Highway (SR56) through Kapa'a towards Hanalei. At Princeville, turn right heading north on Ka Haku Road into Princeville Resort for 1 mile toPunahele Road. Turn right on Punahele Road. Turn right on Kapiolani Loop Road and park immediately on the left. Follow the muddy trail down to the lava rocks at the ocean and then turn left to the tidal pools.
Before snorkeling at Queen Emmas Bath, 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. WIth the usually rolling surf, it is strongly discouraged to use open-tube snorkels which are common at snorkel rental locations -- only use snorkels with a dry-top splash-guard and a sump purge-valve in the mouth piece.
Overall, Queen Emmas Bath is the 9th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 23 snorkeling dives in Kauai.