North of Lihue and south of Kapaa on Kauai, the snorkeling at Ahukini Landing offers a protective jetty for easy water entry leading to open water diving. During Ahukini reef snorkeling, you can expect to see tangs, moray eels, goatfish, frogfish, scorpionfish, dolphins, eagle rays, octopus, parrotfish and juvenile tiger sharks among the rocks and some cauliflower coral. The water depth ranges from 10 to 50 feet deep. The water clarity is usually poor, but does get better if you can get outside the rock jetty. This dive site is popular with sea turtles. The ocean off Ahukini Recreation Pier State Park is known for its yearround easterly tradewinds that kick up surf all yearround, so make sure to stay inside the protective jetty. If you do venture outside of the jetty, keep an eye out for spotted eagle rays.
To reach the snorkeling in Kauai by air, fly into the Lihue airport (LIH). There are direct flights from Los Angeles, Denver, San Francisco, Seattle 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 Ahukini Landing snorkeling from Lihue on Kuhio Highway (SR56), head east on Ahukini Road passing through the airport access roads into Ahukini Recreation Pier State park. There is plenty of parking at the end of the road.
Before snorkeling at Ahukini Landing, 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, Ahukini Landing is the 19th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 23 snorkeling dives in Kauai.