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Where To Go Whale Watching in Kauai – Complete Guide

If you’re looking for somewhere to go whale watching in Kauai, Hawaii then you’re in the right place.

There’s plenty of places to see whales in their natural habitat all over the island of Kauai.

This post will tell you all of the best places to go whale watching in Kauai and includes all the information you’ll need for a fun day out.

Whale Watching In Kauai

Kauai, Hawaii is a fantastic place for whale watching.

Every winter, 12 to 18 thousand humpback whales migrate over 3,500 miles from Alaska to Hawaii to mate, give birth and raise their calves. 

After the winter is over they head back up north to feed and build up fat reserves.

The waters surrounding Hawaii provide a safe environment to raise calves, far from predators and allows the whales to rest.

The whales come up for air every 15 to 20 minutes and this is when you’ll get a magnificent glimpse of them as they spray water up into the air. 

Quick Summary – Best Place For Whale Watching In Kauai

The best way to go whale watching in Kauai is by booking a boat tour. This will give you an up-close and personal view of the whales.

Can You See Whales From The Shore In Kauai?

Yes, you can see whales from the shore in Kauai.

There’s plenty of great viewing spots across the island including beaches and lookout points (exact locations discussed below).

For the best view of the whales, you should book onto a boat tour. This provides you with an up-close view of the whales that you just can’t get from the shore. 

If you don’t want to book onto a boat tour then make sure you get a pair of binoculars so you get the best possible view from the shore. 

The Best Places To See Whales In Kauai

There’s plenty of places in Kauai where you can see whales from the shore. Below I’ve detailed the best spots.

Keep reading for information on the best tours if you want to get a closer view of the whales. 

Poipu Beach

One of the best places to go whale watching in Kauai is on Poipu Beach.

Poipu Beach is a glorious sandy beach located on Kauai’s southern shore. It’s popular for snorkeling, surfing and whale watching during whale season.

You can often see whales splashing about on the horizon whilst sitting on the beach. The crystal clear waters make it easy to spot them. 

Kilauea Lighthouse

Another great place in Kauai where you can see whales is at Kilauea Lighthouse. 

Kilauea Lighthouse is located at Kilauea Point which sits at the northern point of Kauai island. This 52-ft lighthouse is a great spot to go whale watching. 

It’s a great place for spotting whales in the ocean due to its elevation. Whale sightings here are super common during whale watching season. 

You can also often spot other marine animals here too including dolphins and seals.

Kalalau Trail

Another great place for whale watching in Kauai is on the Kalalau Trail. 

The Kalalau Trail is an 11-mile hiking trail that goes from Ke’e Beach to Kalalau Beach along the Na Pali coast of Kauai island.

This is often considered to be one of the best hikes in Hawaii and is also a great spot for whale watching. 

You get fantastic panoramic ocean views from the trail which crosses sea cliffs and valleys. 

Whales can often be seen jumping off shore. You’ll likely be able to see other marine animals from here too.

Kapaa Overlook

Another place in Kauai where you can go whale watching is at the Kapaa Overlook. 

The Kapaa Overlook is located on Kauia’s eastern shore between Kapaa Town and Kealia Beach. 

This elevated overlook has epic ocean views making it a prime spot for whale watching.

It’s super common to spot a whale from up here and it’s often much quieter than other whale watching spots in Kauai.

A paved trail runs in front of the overlook leading down to Kealia Beach where you can also sometimes spot whales too. You’ll get a much better view from the overlook though.

The Best Tours For Whale Watching In Kauai

Boat Tour

The best way to see whales on Kauai island is by joining a boat tour!

This allows you to get as close as possible to the whales, giving you the best view.

Your expert guides will also know the best spots to see whales so you don’t miss out.

Raft Tour

Another great way to see whales in Kauai is by joining a raft adventure.

You’ll cruise along Kauai’s coastline aboard a raft searching for whales and stop off for a bit of snorkeling along the way.

Check out the video below to see the types of epic whale views you can expect from this tour:

Snorkel & Sail Tour

Another way you can see whales in Kauai is by going on a snorkeling & sailing tour.

You’ll glide past sea cliffs, sparkling waterfalls and then stop off on a remote beach for snorkeling.

You’ll also get the opportunity to spot whales as you sail!

Best Time For Whale Watching In Kauai

where to go whale watching in Kauai

The best time for whale watching in Kauai is between the months of November and April (known as whale watching season). 

The first whales arrive in Kauai in late November and more arrive as the season progresses. 

Whale numbers around the island peak in January, February and March. This is the best time to go whale watching in Kauai as sightings are almost guaranteed if you go to the right places.

The whales start to leave Kauai again in late April.

The table below shows the best months for whale watching in Kauai.

MonthChance Of
Seeing A Whale
JanuaryVery Good Chance
FebruaryVery Good Chance
MarchVery Good Chance
AprilGood Chance
MayVery Low Chance
JuneNo Chance
JulyNo Chance
AugustNo Chance
SeptemberNo Chance
OctoberNo Chance
NovemberLow Chance
DecemberGood Chance

The best time of day to go whale watching in Kauai is early morning.

Numbers are highest at around 8am so you’re more likely to see a whale if you head out at this time. 

Early morning is when the whales tend to be most active.

Another good time is late afternoon just before sunset. 

You can also sometimes spot whales in the daytime but it’s less common. 

The below video gives some more information on whale season in Hawaii:


Thanks for reading this post on where to go whale watching in Kauai. 

There’s plenty of options here to see whales in their natural habitat around Kauai. 

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