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North Shore vs South Shore Beaches

Hotel Beaches -- In both Princeville and Poipu, the large hotels chose sites with the nicest beaches, leaving the condo developments and other residential areas to rocky oceanfront unsuitable for swimming.   There is little difference in the hotel beaches themselves between the North and South.  Both regions have nice sand, minimal exposure to surf, and planned amenities.    Fortunately, the public is free to use these beaches -- should you desire.

Comparison pictures are not included.

Residential Beaches -- In both Princeville and Poipu, the condo developments and other residential areas adjoin rocky stretches of coastline.  In Poipu, the sea is just 10 to 20 feet below the residential construction.   In Princeville, the residential areas are on a plateau from 150 to 200 feet above sea level.   Hopefully the photo's below  give you some idea of the two areas.

Pictures from Princeville along the North Shore residential zone.
Pictures from Poipu along the South Shore residential zone.

Improved Beaches -- South Shore visitors typically drive to Poipu Beach about 10 minutes from the residential zone.  The next alternative is Pohihale State Park about 60 minutes away.  [Of course other beaches are closer, but lack improvements or any special draw].   Poipu beach is about 1/4 mile long -- much smaller than North Shore alternatives.  In contrast, Poipu beach is sunnier with smaller waves.

North Shore visitors typically drive to Kee [30 min], Tunnels [25 min], Hanalei [10 min] or Anini [10 min] beaches. 



Pictures of North Shore beaches
Pictures of South Shore beaches

Remote Beaches -- We should mention three other beaches in the South Shore area:  Kukuiula Bay and Lawai Beach are hardly remote, but are mentioned here because they are un-improved.  Both are within 10 minutes of the residential zones of Poipu.  Both are small [under 1/4 mile -- see pictures] and offer good swimming.   Mahaulepu Beach is about 15 minutes away across a rough and dusty road.  It is truly a remote beach but frequently more crowded than the remote beaches of the North Shore.  Swimming is not advised when the surf is high.

Along the North Shore there are about 10 beaches that would qualify as remote and unimproved.  They range from 10 to 30 minutes driving time from the Cliffs Resort in Princeville.  Several are huge -- over 1 mile long.   Many have strong surf and swimming is not advised.  Others have great snorkeling or sunning.    You may be the only visitors [or at most you share a mile of sand with a handful of other visitors].

There is a noticeable vegetation difference between the North Shore and South Shore beaches.  Lush tropical plants and jungle like conditions prevail along the North Shore.  Small waterfalls cascade into the sea.  Dryer plants and grasses are the norm along the South Shore.

South Shore Unimproved Beaches

Kukuiula Bay Lawai [Snorkel] Mahaulepu Mahaulepu

North Shore Unimproved Beaches

Larsens Beach Secret Beach Moloaa Bay South Pacific Beach

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