Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tiny Waves for Tiny Feet

Picture it now, the swaying palm trees guarding crystalline sand, leading to the United States’ most clandestine stretch of the Pacific. The sun beats on your back, the water beckons. Then crash. An epic swell—one that has lured daredevils to Kauai since the Tahitians introduced surfing—crushes your hopes of letting your tot (and if you’re really honest, even your timid swimmer of a partner) touch more than a toe in the warm seas.

However, moms and dads (and weak swimmers) don’t scratch Kauai off your safe swimming vacation lists yet. There are enclosed swimming areas on Kauai, safe enough for you to let Little Amber snorkel while you stick your nose in the latest Dan Brown novel and enjoy your vacation too.

The Kauai people have a long held respect for the ocean, so in order to give their little keikis a way to cool off in the rough seas, they constructed enclosed swimming areas (with that oh-so-useful lava rock). While you may want to admire the rough seas of Ke’e Beach and Polihale Beach from afar, you can schedule a day (or three) of lounging in the warm waters of the following kid friendly beaches.

Quite possibly the crowning glory of the Kauai community, Lydgate Beach Park promises plenty of safe swimming opportunities. Strewn along the eastern shores of the island, this park attracts joggers and dog walkers (the beachside trail stretches for miles), picnickers, sunbathers and oodles of kiddos. Chalk up the attraction to these strands as part of the community spirit (Kauai people designed and then spent a weekend constructing the magnificent playground just steps from the sand). Plus, the lava rock enclosed swimming hole makes nascent swimmers, teeny tots and tropical fish spotting snorkelers feel both safe and warm. It’s like a pool in the ocean! Stay nearby at the Castle Kaha Lani Resort.

Probably the most crowded beach on the island, the ever sunny Poipu Beach Park has plenty of fans for a good reason. Her reputation for being a sunbather’s spot du jour (What more could you want? Great weather, a shave ice truck, close bathrooms, a playground, a restaurant and even some decent surf) is deserved. Throw in a warm enclosed swimming area where you can watch waves pass and swim within feet of monk seals and you surely understand her allure.

Further south and west, on the sunny side of the island hidden in a salt harvesting region is the aptly named Salt Pond Park. Popular with resting monk seals and sea turtles, plus local picnickers and lap swimmers, this shady (and grassy) beach proves to be a lovely spot to spend a day. As long as you stay away from the monk seals, you can have most of the lava rock enclosed swimming area to yourself. Stay nearby at Koa Kea Resort Hotel, Sheraton Kauai Resort, or Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa.

If you find yourself tempted to brave the swells at other beaches, be sure to check the surf report. And follow the local mantra, If in doubt, don’t go out.
Happy swimming!

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