5 Best Beaches for Sunset in Kauai

The sun is setting behind the mountain at Tunnels Beach in Kauai

If you’re looking for where to watch sunset in Kauai, you’re spoiled for options, truly. Kauai is such a magical little island it makes me want to sell everything I own and hop on a plane to go live there and work in a taro field for the rest of my life. It’s seriously just, absolutely stunning. It has the best mountain views, incredible wildlife, and some of the prettiest beaches I’ve ever seen. And lucky for you, so many of those beaches are perfect for sunset. So, to help you plan your days accordingly and get you some of the most beautiful views in the world, here is my list of the 5 best beaches for sunset on Kauai.

The Short Version

These are the 5 best spots for sunset in Kauai:

  • Hanalei Bay
  • Tunnels Beach
  • Ke’e Beach
  • Poipu Beach
  • Glass each
  • BONUS – Polihale State Park (there are reasons why this is a bonus and what precautions/things you should know before even attempting to get to this beach)
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The Long Version of the 5 Best Beaches for Sunset in Kauai

Like I said before, there are so many amazing Kauai sunset spots that you’re going to have a plethora to choose from. During our week in Kauai we got truly spoiled with some phenomenal sunsets and I definitely have my favorite sunset spots for sure. These are all incredible Kauai photo spots day or night, but I also think they’re the best sunset beaches in Kauai. Here they are laid out on a map to help you plan your sunsets based on where you are on the island.

This map was created with Wanderlog, a trip planner on iOS and Android

Need to know what to pack for your Hawaii trip? Check Out My Hawaii Packing List

1 – Hanalei Bay

The little town of Hanalei is adorable all in its own right, so you should definitely be spending some time there anyway. It’s such a gorgeous Kauai photo spot no matter what time of day you visit. But one of the best parts of this cute town is hanging out at Hanalei Bay and watching the sunset as it goes down behind the mountains with the pier. It’s seriously so stunning and I have some incredible memories sitting here with husband, even while it was still cloudy. The bright pink sunset peeked through the clouds and it was so gorgeous even in suboptimal weather.

2 – Tunnels Beach

Tunnels Beach may be the most famous beach in Kauai, and for good reason. It’s GORGEOUS, whether you go day or night. It is located in Hā’ena State Park (which you do need reservations for) but if you’re only going for sunset, after 6pm, you can actually get into the park without reservations because the ranger has left for the day. But you absolutely should spend a day or two in the park regardless because it’s so rad. Tunnels Beach might actually top most “best sunset in Kauai” lists and it honestly might be. Between the mountain and the water, it’s just a dream. You must go to Tunnels Beach for sunset in Kauai.

BUT, parking is a little difficult because there is no lot, lots of private property you obviously do not park on, and only a few streets with very limited public parking. So, once you start getting close, start heading up/down streets to look for spots. We lucked out and someone was leaving right as we were showing up, but I wouldn’t necessarily count on that.

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3 – Ke’e Beach

Another incredible Kauai sunset spot found in Hā’ena State Park is Ke’e Beach. What can I say other than it’s magical? This beach is the farthest you can go in the park (and the north shore in general) without going on the Kalalau Trail.

Parking here is definitely easier because there’s a big lot with plenty of spaces. Again, you’ll need reservations for this, one of the best beaches in general, and definitely one of the best sunset beaches in Kauai.

4 – Poipu Beach

A Poipu sunset at Poipu Beach is a famous, easy-to-access sunset spot on Kauai. This south side beach is iconic for many reasons, from sea turtles hanging around all the time to some truly beautiful Kauai sunsets.

This was by far the busiest place that we went to for sunset, but it’s so gorgeous it’s understandable why so many people showed up. Luckily it’s pretty easy to find a spot, but also keep an eye for fire ants in the grass. We saw a kid step in a mound and get bit, so make sure to keep an eye out.

5 – Glass Beach

Glass Beach was the sleeper hit sunset of our Kauai trip. This is a super small beach by an industrial building with like, no one else around. It’s got glass bits in the black sand from years of the ocean smoothing out human pollution (weird how Mother Nature fixes our problems and makes them beautiful, isn’t it?). We had the beach to ourselves, we got to see lots of colorful sea glass, and sunset was on another level. I definitely think this is one of the best sunset beaches in Kauai.

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BONUS – Polihale State Park

I’m including this because it’s about the farthest west on the island you can go and it’s a publicly accessible beach HOWEVER you need to know some things before you go. We actually skipped this beach for sunset despite really wanting to go because there are some safety concerns. If you have a rental car, your agreement probably won’t even let you go down there. It’s very common for tourists to get stuck down there and need to get rescued by locals or whomever. So if you do decide to go down here, do so at your own risk and definitely consider trying to go down with some locals who are significantly more prepared or well-equipped for it.

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So there you go, the 5 best beaches in Kauai for sunset! If you have any questions, as always reach out. Follow me on Instagram and TikTok for more travel content and inspiration, and check out my Story Highlight for Kauai on Insta for more boots-on-the-ground views.

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