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Queen's Bath Kauai
Kauai's Queen's Bath
The Queen's Bath in Princeville, Kauai, is a beautiful tidal pool set amongst lava rocks. Popularized by travel guides, the area is visited by many Princeville vacationers. But hidden dangers lurk. Several people have lost their life here and so it's important to approach with caution.
Getting to the Tide Pool
Located at the end of Punahele road in Princeviile is the beginning of the trail that leads to the ocean. There's a parking lot here that can accommodate about 8 cars. There is no other place to park nearby, so once the parking lot is full there is nothing to do but come back later. The area is patrolled regularly by the Princeville community association and they will boot and fine cars that park illegally.
The trail that leads to the ocean is very slippery after it has rained and not suitable for people with mobility problems. You will also have to climb down a few small rocks. Once at the bottom of the trail, a 5 minute hike over lava rocks leads to the bath.
Swimming at the Queen's Bath
The Queen's bath is about the size of a large swimming pool and there are often fish in the bath, which make it fun for kids to snorkel. The bath is perhaps 6 ft deep. It's not deep enough to dive into even though people sometimes do.
The area has been at the center of many heated debates among Kauai residents. Many feel the area should be closed to tourists, particularly in the winter time when the north shore experiences big waves on many days. People have drowned after being knocked into the ocean in high surf, and lifeguards have had to rescue people swimming in the ocean beside the bath in small surf. Sprained ankles and other injuries are a frequent occurrence.
The photo above shows the bath in about 3-4ft surf. At this height waves can wash into the bath (in smaller surf waves can't get in). Although not dangerous unless you are standing at the edge of the bath next to the ocean, it does cause some wash in the bath. For people who decided to swim in the ocean outside the bath, this 4ft wave will be a very unwelcome surprise.
In bigger surf the area becomes dangerous. People don't know when it's safe to enter the bath and may even decide to swim in the ocean. The ocean can be calm for half an hour before a big wave arrives. During very big surf people like to watch the ocean from the rock ledges above the bath. This is especially dangerous.
Important Queen's Bath Safety Pages
- Queen's Bath Kauai
Queen's Bath Aerial and Panoramic Pictures, and Safety Guidance
Queen's Bath Poll
Do you think the Queen's Bath should be off limits in the Winter?
Places to Stay Near the Queen's Bath
A great place to stay in Princeville is Puu Poa. These large and spacious 2 bedroom condos are on a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and Bali Hai. They're about a 15 minute walk away from the Queen's Bath, but right below them is Hideaways beach which has really nice summer time snorkeling.
BTW, not sure where to stay while visiting the island, take a look at this guide about where to stay on Kauai.
Queen's Bath Video
This video shows the Queen's bath in low surf and high surf conditions. It gives you an idea of how dangerous the area can be in bigger surf.