These secluded, ancient pools were reserved for Hawaiian royalty way back when. Now the sea turtles run the show, and they’re doing a great job. This has been my favorite sight so far on this trip!
“Queen’s Bath is actually a large pool the size of several swimming pools carved by nature into a lava shelf with an inlet from the ocean for fresh seawater to flow… If the surf is too high, you would never recognize this place as anything special. But during calm seas, Queen’s Bath is a marvelous pool to swim in. Fish get in through the inlet, making it all the more charming. (Bring your mask; no fins needed.) It’s a great place to take your underwater camera.”
– The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook: Kauai Revealed, 8th Edition
It’s kind of a trek to reach, both because of the parking (VERY limited. We double-parked for 20 minutes to wait for someone to exit the tiny parking lot.) and the tricky 10-minute hike across wet, slippery lava rocks. Having your hands free helps with scrambling over the rocks. We basically left everything in the trunk of the car (shh) except for a camera and snorkeling mask.
Also, wear booties/water shoes — or anything with good grip like Tevas — if you can. Climbing over the rocks (and you will do a bit of climbing) is tougher in flip-flops. You could do it in flip-flops because I did see some people wearing them, but you’ll probably feel more comfortable in better footwear. There was a gal hiking in front of me wearing flip-flops, and she tripped a couple of times.
There are at least four separate pools/inlets, all pretty close to each other. The first one has a spectacular waterfall fed by a nearby stream that empties right over the edge into the ocean.
The ocean was a little too rough to swim at the first pool because the tide was rising, and this pool is completely open to the sea — not enclosed like the third pool — so I was happy to just stop and admire it from above.
The second pool was also a little too rough for me, so I opted out, but the sea turtles certainly weren’t daunted by the waves (see the baby on the right?).
The third and fourth pools were perfect and temporarily cut off from the ocean.
Colorful fish get trapped in the pools during high tide and just chill there for a while, so if you want, you can bring a mask and snorkel to look around…
If the pools are crowded (they are in the guidebooks, after all), you’ll also see some arms, legs and butts, so stick to the rocky edges, where the fish hang out, for the best snorkeling views.
And it’s not just for teens and adults. We saw quite a few families with children, too, mostly kids 8 and up because of the hike. SO MUCH FUN!