One of the things that came up in conversation most often when we were out at Kalalau was what else do you recommend doing on the island? People tend to spend all of their time planning their Kalalau hike (there’s a lot of logistics!) but don’t put much thought into what they will do when they’re done. And with so many options (snorkeling! sailing! making like a monk seal and sleeping on the beach!), it can be hard to choose.
Whenever someone asked me what I thought they should do when their hike was over I always had the same answer: Queen’s Bath.
I discovered Queen’s Bath while watching YouTube videos before our first trip to Kauai. I remember coming across a video that showed jagged cliffs, an angry sea, and a stunning swimming spot. I knew I had to go. It’s the perfect place to spend a lazy day on the island and still feel like you’re getting a heaping dose of Hawaii.
Queen’s Bath may be located right outside the ritzy town of Princeville but it is far removed from the city’s big resorts and bigger money. A quick hike along a waterfall takes you down to a rocky moonscape that stands in sharp contrast against the bright blue ocean. The first thing you notice when you arrive is the way that the waves come crashing into the little coves, swirling against the rocks. The second thing you notice? The turtles.
I desperately wanted to see sea turtles when we visited Hawaii. Despite growing up near the ocean and spending a lot of time along various coastlines, I had never seen one in the wild. We were well into our trip to Kauai when we visited Queen’s Bath and I was starting to fear that I wouldn’t see one at all. And then, suddenly, they were everywhere!
I could watch the turtles all day. I loved seeing them bob around in the water, totally at ease in the crashing waves. There are some animals that are perfectly suited for their environment and this, hands down, is one of them. They were definitely a highlight of our trip.
After we had our fill of the turtles we made our way to the Queen’s Bath itself. Queen’s Bath is a small, natural pool in the rocks that is constantly refreshed with water from the ocean. With a cliff to jump off of and schools of fish swimming around in the water, it’s a great spot to swim and snorkel. It’s also a perfect place to lay back and let the saltwater hold you as you stare at the blue sky and think about just how freaking lucky you are to be hanging out in Hawaii.
The one caveat about Queen’s Bath is that it is can be pretty dangerous. A lot of people will tell you that it’s one of the most treacherous spots on the island. The same waves that keep the water in the pool nice and fresh can build quickly, crash over the rocks, and sweep unsuspecting visitors out to sea. If you want to swim when you go to Queen’s Bath it’s best to go at low tide. You can absolutely be safe here but you have to keep your wits about you.
There’s a good chance that you’ll see local kids diving off the big cliffs right into the swirling, angry water. As fun as it looks, think long and hard before doing this!
We’ve seen a lot of Kauai now and Queen’s Bath might be one of my favorite spots on the island. I was only just starting to take my photography seriously back when we visited and now I’m itching to go back with upgraded equipment, way more knowledge, and a better understanding of just how magical this place is. It’s a pretty special spot.
If you go: The hike down to Queen’s Bath is short and fairly easy. You will see people wearing flip-flops or even going barefoot but it is probably best to wear Chacos or hiking shoes for better traction. Bring a swimsuit, a lunch, and plenty of water. Don’t forget to wear (and reapply – which I, painfully, forgot!) sunscreen. Be safe and never, ever turn your back on the sea!
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