How many different ways can water meet the land? I saw at least four types of shoreline in just a tiny section of a fairly small Hawaiian island: Kauai.
(1) The south shore of Kauai is known for resorts that face beautiful sandy beaches. Even though the Kauai hotels have areas reserved for guests, the beaches all have public access areas along the shore. There are also public parking areas so you can easily enjoy first class views without paying full fare.
(2) Just around the corner from Poipu beach is a rocky area with just a sliver of sand. Some people squeezed into the sand to sun bathe but others were swimming or snorkeling — if you plan to be in the water, a rock is as good as sand as a point of departure. The black rocks also provide a stark contrast with the blue water that is beautiful. I liked watching the waves splash on the rocks. The sound of the waves splashing is mesmerizing.
(3) Nearby, we walked out on lava beds where the waves fill small pots with water. I have watched little fish and crabs splash in and out of similar crevices on Oahu, but here we saw a herd of sea cucumbers: ancient tube-like creatures. (Actually, I don’t know what a bunch of sea cucumbers is called but herd gives you the idea.) Because they were surrounded by lava-rock, I could stand above them and watch as they moved slowly along the rocks under the water.
(4) Kukuiula Harbor is for small, recreational boats. It was a busy place when we visited, with boats taking turns launching from the ramp. Actually, this was all four shorelines in one: the harbor where boats could navigate had a small beach and swimming area on one side and a lava/rock outcropping on the other. AND there was a fifth – bonus – water/land interaction: the Spouting Horn. From the picnic area, we could see the water shoot up into the air when the waves hit.
This entire stretch of island can’t be more than a couple of miles, if that. I think my favorite was the rocky area where we began, but it only takes a few steps to change the view.