Take a Dip in One of These 5 Best Hawaiian Tide Pools

hawaiian tide pools
Hawaii Aloha Travel > Blog > Take a Dip in One of These 5 Best Hawaiian Tide Pools

Discover the beauty of Hawaiian tide pools – but only when the ocean is calm and conditions are perfect!

Used to be, I thought we only had two options when it came to swimming in Hawaii: Head to the pool or head to the beach.

Not so! There’s actually an in-between option: Hawaii’s magical tide pools. 

NOTE Tide pools can be VERY dangerous & unpredictable and should only be visited during calm waters. Check weather and tide conditions before venturing out to these spots.

At Hawaii’s tide pools, you get the best of both worlds — the serenity and beauty of a beach plus the calm currents and calm waters of a pool. What’s more, most of the tide pools in Hawaii are home to some really cool ocean creatures, such as hermit crabs, fish, and sea cucumbers. So, the kids can explore all day long.

But, where does a curious visitor start? Let us help. Here’s a look at our top 5 Hawaiian tide pools!

Our Favorite Hawaiian Tide Pools

1. Sandy Beach Tide Pools (Oahu)

kids in a series of tide pools

I’m putting these tide pools first because, so far, they’re my favorites. If you’re driving past Sandy Beach on your right, the tide pools are the next “driveway” over. Just park on the dirt and pick a spot on the sand. 

When the tide is low, the tide pools are widely considered safe enough, even for small children. Take a refreshing dip or just float around and explore. When the tide is high, stand back and get a breathtaking view of the sea spray against the rocks. 

2. Wawaloli Beach Park (Hawaii Island)

Wawaloli Beach Park is a great kid-friendly beach that’s right by the Kona airport. The tide pools here are surrounded by sand and protected from the open ocean, so they’re super popular with children. 

Wawaloli Beach Park is on Makako Bay Drive. Look for your turn near mile marker 94 on Highway 19. Check out the beach’s Hawaiian tide pools, go for a hike, or simply relax on the sand!

3. Keawakapu Beach (Maui)

There are nice, sandy tide pools at Keawakapu Beach in Wailea, Maui. You’ll find them at the northern (right-hand) side of the beach, right by the Mana Kai Resort. This beach does get windy, especially in the afternoon. So visit on a calm morning to check out these Hawaiian tide pools. 

Keawakapu Beach is on the border of South Kihei and Wailea. Park in the free lot by Mauna Kai Resort to be closest to the tide pools. 

4. Kuau Cove (Mama’s Fish House Beach)

On calm days, Kuau cove becomes a playground for local keiki exploring the tide pools. This beach is directly in front of Mama’s Fish House, and there is a limited amount of parking available for free if you’re visiting the beach. 

To find this Hawaiian tide pool, drive past Paia until you see the Mama’s Fish House sign. Pull in and park in one of the public beach spaces immediately to your right. Parking rules may change over time, so check signs or the restaurant’s valets if you’re unsure about parking. 

5. Salt Pond Beach (Kauai)

Tide Pools at Salt Pond Beach

There are lots of reasons to love Kauai’s Salt Pond Beach, and there tide pools are some of our favorite on the island. If you’ve never been to this great beach near Hanapepe town, definitely check it out when you’re on Kauai. 

The Hawaiian tide pools are on the eastern side of the park. When conditions are calm, they’re fun to explore. In rougher conditions we like to watch the waves wash over them as we relax near shore. 

Hawaiian Tide Pools We Don’t Recommend

Tide pools can be extremely dangerous, especially ones that aren’t protected from the open ocean. Many Hawaii guides tout the beauty of Kauai’s Queen’s Bath or Oahu’s Makapuu Tide Pools, but these places are extremely dangerous and have even proved deadly. 

We encourage Hawaii travelers to enjoy our islands safely and respectfully. So never cross into closed areas or go off-trail into dangerous spots. Your life isn’t worth it! Instead, visit beaches with lifeguards or tide pools that are widely considered safe – but only when the ocean is truly calm. 

Another Hawaiian Tide Pool you’ll want to avoid is Olivine Pools on Maui. You may also see some outdated guides touting the beauty of Kapoho Tide Pools on Hawaii Island, but unfortunately, the tide pools aren’t there anymore – they were destroyed during Kilauea’s 2018 eruption. 

Exploring Hawaiian Tide Pools

Tide pools are some of my favorite places to take a refreshing dip while exploring some pretty cool marine life. We think you’ll love them, too. So, check out these top 5 tide pools in Hawaii, and enjoy that “middle ground” between the ocean and the pool!