Hideaways Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

Hideaways Beach, Kauai: Complete 2024 Visitor Guide

Your very own slice of paradise, a beautiful, deserted beach on Kauai? I’m sure you’ll say that’s impossible, and for the most part, I agree with you.

But Hideaways Beach on the picturesque North Shore of Kauai in Princeville may be just such a hideout, especially early morning on a weekday!

A hard to find trail, virtually no parking, and a difficult, steep and treacherous trek down a cliffside are the perfect ingredients for a secluded, deserted beach, even in the middle of a town like Princeville.

And what a beach! Hideaways Beach has golden, finely powdered sand, and turquoise blue Pacific Ocean waters with a rich coral reef, against a backdrop of a rainforest cliff with lush green vegetation and plenty of shade.

Hideaways Beach, one of the most secluded Kauai snorkeling beaches near Princeville
Hideaways Beach, one of the most secluded Kauai snorkeling beaches near Princeville

We spent a weekday morning on Hideaways Beach while vacationing in Kauai, with our teenage kids, and we were the only ones on the beach for the bulk of the time!

Our kids said they had the best snorkeling experience on Kauai at Hideaways Beach!

We will guide you on how to plan your visit and the best things to do while at Hideaways Beach.

Hey, by the way! Visiting Kauai? The only way to get a real feel for the rugged beauty of this incredible island is through a helicopter tour! Check out the five highest rated Kauai helicopter tours for 2024!

Beautiful, secluded Hideaways Beach on the North Shore of Kauai, Hawaii
Beautiful, secluded Hideaways Beach on the North Shore of Kauai, Hawaii

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Hideaways Beach Directions

Hideaways Beach is located in Princeville on the North Shore of Kauai, and is one of the best Kauai North Shore beaches.

Hideaways Beach is sometimes confused with the adjacent Pali Ke Kua Beach, which has a separate private access path through the Pali Ke Kua vacation rentals complex. The two beaches are separated by a rocky outcropping.

Hideaways Beach and Pali Ke Kua Beach are separated by a rocky outcropping and have different access paths
Hideaways Beach and Pali Ke Kua Beach are separated by a rocky outcropping and have different access paths

From the Kuhio Highway, Route 560, take the Ka Haku Road north. At the end of the Ka Haku Road is the 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay, and that’s where you’re headed.

Hideaways Beach Parking

The free beach parking comes to your right just before the gatehouse to the 1 Hotel. You have about 9-10 parking spots here, so you are likely to get one only if you come early.

We opted to pay and park at the 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay, have a nice breakfast and then walk down past the gatehouse to the trailhead.

Hideaways Beach Map

The below map shows the location of Hideaways Beach and nearby attractions mentioned.

Hideaways Beach Trail

Access to the beach is through a .15 – .25 mile trail down the cliffside to the beach.

The trailhead is hard to find, located at the right end of the parking lot, between two fences, next to the Puu Poa condominium tennis court.

Starts off as a clearing or flattish trail to the top of a flight of metal stairs leading down. Stairs are quite rickety and rusted, and so are the handrails (broken in multiple places), so be careful of the sharp metal edges and make sure of your footing as you step down.

Flip-flops won’t cut it, I strongly urge you to use hiking shoes (you can always change at the beach).

The staircase switches to a steep, mud trail with handy ropes on both sides. I urge you to use the ropes, they were a godsend for us.

Hike down the cliffs to Hideaways Beach, one of the best secluded Kauai snorkeling beaches near Princeville
Hike down the cliffs to Hideaways Beach, one of the best secluded Kauai snorkeling beaches near Princeville

Trekking down and back up is extremely hard when the trail is wet and slippery, you need to be very sure-footed and in good physical condition.

We needed both hands free for this hike down, so that makes taking gear and other items like snacks and drinks to the beach quite difficult. Use a backpack if you can, to keep your hands free.

Hideaways Beach Reservations

No reservations are required for the Hideaways Beach.

Hideaways Beach Amenities / Facilities

Location: North Shore of Kauai, Princeville
Lifeguard: No
Beach Amenities: None
Food Nearby: Princeville has great food options
Parking: At the trailhead, small parking lot or 1 Hotel paid parking
Directions: Ka Haku Road to Hideaways Beach Parking or 1 Hotel

A pristine, unspoiled beach, Hideaways Beach has no facilities, no restrooms or showers, and no lifeguards.

Bring everything you need with you, and note that you enter the water at your own risk, so make sure surf is low.

>> Book these 5 star rated, highly popular, Kauai Tours now!

Best Things to Do at Hideaways Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

Snorkeling at Hideaways Beach, one of the best snorkeling beaches in Kauai for experienced, adventurous snorkelers
Snorkeling at Hideaways Beach, one of the best snorkeling beaches in Kauai for experienced, adventurous snorkelers

Activities on Hideaways Beach, as with all other North Shore Kauai beaches, are dictated by the seasons and the weather.

In late spring and summer, the Pacific Ocean waters on the North Shore of Kauai are calm and clear, ideal for swimming and snorkeling.

However, from November to March is typical rainy season in Hawaii, and with the rain storms come high surf and large swells, excellent for surfing, but making swimming and snorkeling in the ocean waters almost impossible!

There are no lifeguards at Hideaways Beach, be cautious and enter the water only under safe weather and tide conditions. During high tide and high surf, large waves can come to the beach over the reefs.

1. Hideaways Beach Snorkeling

With extensive coral reefs right up to the shore, Hideaways Beach is one of the best Kauai snorkeling beaches in summer.

The calm, clear summer waters offer excellent underwater visibility to spot the abundant tropical fish and marine life in the shallow coral reefs around Hideaways Beach.

Snorkelers at Hideaways Beach, Princeville, Kauai
Snorkelers at Hideaways Beach, Princeville, Kauai

We saw common but beautiful Hawaiian fish like different kinds of tangs, wrasses, butterflyfish, triggerfish and goatfish. Our kids spotted a green sea turtle hiding in the corals.

We found the best snorkeling closer to the rocky outcropping separating Hideaways Beach from the Pali Ke Kua Beach, and spotted so much fish, we never really felt the need to head further from the shore.

Given there are no lifeguards on Hideaways Beach, and the unpredictable currents around Kauai beaches, staying close to shore and in shallow waters is definitely prudent.

2. Hideaways Beach Swimming

In late spring and summer, the shallow waters around Hideaways Beach are usually calm and great for a relaxing swim to cool off after the difficult trek down.

Waves tend to break at the reef further from the shore, allowing for swimming closer to the shore.

Extensive coral reefs and calm, clear waters in summer at the Hideaways Beach, Kauai
Extensive coral reefs and calm, clear waters in summer at the Hideaways Beach, Kauai

Swimming here is best for experienced swimmers, but even they must exercise caution. There are no lifeguards, and the weather and tides can change quickly, resulting in waves closer to shore or rogue waves.

For beginning swimmers and families with kids, some of the best Kauai swimming beaches are Lydgate Beach Park and Poipu Beach, with protected lagoons or shallows, and lifeguards on duty.

>> Book these 5 star rated, highly popular, Kauai Tours now!

3. Sunbathe or Relax with a Book on the Hideaways Beach, Kauai

Given the peaceful, secluded nature of the beach, one of the best things to do on Hideaways Beach is to sunbathe or relax with a book under the shade of the many trees along the cliffs.

Large palm trees, monkeypods and ironwood trees provide shade all around the beach, so finding a good spot is easy.

Hideaways Beach Kauai Hawaii

You can also take a stroll along the beach, but the beach is quite small.

4. Stay Back for Spectacular Sunsets from Hideaways Beach, Kauai

Like sunsets? Then you must stay back, the sunsets on Hideaways Beach are spectacular!

Dramatic colorful sunset at Hideaways Beach, Kauai, amidst gathering clouds
Dramatic colorful sunset at Hideaways Beach, Kauai, amidst gathering clouds

The secluded, beautiful Hideaways Beach is one of the most romantic spots on Kauai, for a leisurely stroll on the beach while admiring a dramatic colorful sunset over the turquoise Pacific Ocean waters!

Don’t stay too late, climbing back up the steep trail in the dark is definitely very difficult!

5. Admire Turtles and Monk Seals on Hideaways Beach

Given the secluded nature of the beach, spotting Hawaiian green sea turtles or the occasional solitary monk seal napping on Hideaways Beach is fairly common!

Hawaiian green sea turtle or honu on the beach
Hawaiian green sea turtle or honu on the beach

Both are endangered species, make sure you admire them from a distance.

If you don’t see a turtle on the beach, don’t despair, they are easy to spot while snorkeling in the coral reefs near shore as well.

>> Book these 5-star rated, highly popular, Kauai tours now!

6. Surf Hideaways Beach

Surfing Hideaways Beach is a challenge, mainly due to getting your surfboards to the beach on the steep cliffside trail.

But I was surprised. I saw a bunch of young, avid, dedicated surfers hauling surf boards down, to ride the magnificent waves on Hideaways Beach during winter.

Without lifeguards, and the need to go further off the shore to the waves breaking over the reefs, surfing at Hideaways Beach is only for the experienced surfers, and the ones I saw seemed to be locals who knew what they were doing.

Surfer riding winter waves
Surfer riding winter waves

But was definitely a pleasure to watch from the beach, as they gracefully rode the large waves!

7. Kayaking to Hideaways Beach

Not up to trekking down the treacherous cliffside trail to Hideaways Beach? An alternative to hiking the trail is to kayak to Hideaways Beach, and that sure beats trying to find a parking spot!

We were with a group of experienced ocean kayakers, and rented kayaks for a self-guided kayak tour from Hanalei Bay, and made Hideaways Beach a stop for some snorkeling.

Kayaks on the beach during a break
Kayaks on the beach during a break

Guided kayak tours that stop at Hideaways Beach are not common. Kayak Kauai has a blue lagoon paddle and snorkel tour that stops at Hideaways Beach if the weather is good.

Snorkeling and Water Activities Gear Checklist

Though you can rent snorkeling gear or use the ones that come with tours, we invested in our own gear, mainly due to Covid-19 (why take the risk?).

Tips for Your Visit to Hideaways Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

Hideaways Beach does not have any facilities, so make sure you bring all the food, snacks, drinks and gear you will need. Use backpacks to keep your hands free during the hike down, you may need to hold onto the guiding ropes on both sides of the trail.

Come early if you want the free beach parking, and even then you may not find a spot. Weekends are usually busy, plan a weekday if you have flexibility.

Select a snorkeling spot based on your skill level, and ideally stay closer to the shore.

As with any each beach in Kauai, safety should be your primary concern, especially if you are with kids. There are no lifeguards, and you enter the water at your own risk.

Check weather forecasts and surf conditions before entering the water. From the trail, you have vantage points from where you can get a good picture of the surf conditions.

Calm waters and surf on Hideaways Beach from the trail lookout
Calm waters and surf on Hideaways Beach from the trail lookout

Hideaways Beach ocean waters are rough in winter, and you should not swim or snorkel here in winter.

Ocean Safety Tips

Hawaii’s beaches are beautiful, but ocean activities can be dangerous. Ocean conditions are dynamic and can change without warning.

Here are some tips to enjoy the ocean and beaches safely:

  • ALWAYS heed posted warning signs.
  • Check conditions just before you arrive at your chosen beach, and watch conditions at the beach for a bit before you decide to enter the water.
  • Swim at a lifeguarded beach and ask the lifeguard for advice before you enter the water.
  • Never turn your back on the ocean, whether you are standing at the shore or on a cliff above. If you see wet rocks or sand, it means the water has been here recently.
  • Know your limitations, especially if you are not an experienced swimmer. If in doubt, do not go out.
  • If you choose to enter the water, go with a partner or in a group.
  • Know that alcohol can impair judgment and motor skills in the water.
  • Keep children close and always keep your eyes on what they are doing in the water.
  • Watch for sharp coral or rocks or sea urchins.

What Else to Do Near Hideaways Beach, Princeville, Hawaii?

Hanalei

Hanalei is a charming town on the North Shore of Kauai, with many attractions and things to do, including views from the Hanalei Valley Lookout, exploring Maniniholo Dry Cave and other wet caves, and, of course, eating!

Stunning views from the Hanalei Valley Lookout near Hideaways Beach
Stunning views from the Hanalei Valley Lookout near Hideaways Beach

Best North Shore Kauai Hikes near Princeville

North Shore of Kauai with its dramatic cliffs, beautiful coastline and lush, dense rainforests is a great place for hiking.

Some of the best Kauai hikes are on the North Shore including the epic Kalalau Trail and smaller subsections, the Okolehao Trail, and the Wai Koa Loop Trail and the Queen’s Bath Trail.

Queen's Bath tidal pool on Queen's Bath Trail, one of the best Kauai North Shore hikes, near Hideaways Beach
Queen’s Bath tidal pool on Queen’s Bath Trail, one of the best Kauai North Shore hikes, near Hideaways Beach

Haena State Park

Haena State Park, one of the most popular Kauai state parks, is at the end of the Kuhio Highway, a few miles from Hideaways Beach and Princeville.

With one of the best beaches on North Shore KauaiKe’e Beach, and the trailhead to the epic Kalalau Trail along the beautiful Na Pali coast, Haena State Park is a must-visit on every tourist’s Kauai itinerary.

Ke'e Beach Viewpoint near the start of the Kalalau Trail, one of the best Kauai North Shore hikes
Ke’e Beach Viewpoint near the start of the Kalalau Trail, one of the best Kauai North Shore hikes

Due to its popularity, refer to our detailed guide on visiting Haena State Park to careful plan your visit, preferably well in advance!

The Best Kauai Tours

Have you booked these top Kauai guided adventures yet?

Sunset catamaran tour of the Na Pali Coast (relatively more stable ride, insane views on good weather days!)

Doors-off helicopter tour of Kauai (unobstructed views, chance to see more of the island than you can by land, no middle seats!)

Kayak on the Wailua River plus hike to a waterfall (a super fun activity for active travelers, albeit a little muddy sometimes!)

Raft trip to the Na Pali Coast plus snorkeling (prepare to get wet on this exhilarating adventure!)

Eurocopter ECO-Star helicopter tour over Kauai (the most booked Kauai helicopter tour on Viator with close to 2K reviews and a 5-star rating!)

Entire Kauai Island Air Tour (super popular, less expensive than a heli tour, large bubble windows for flightseeing!)

Renting a Car in Kauai

The best things to do in Kauai are scattered all over the island.

Public transport options on Kauai aren’t great, so if you want to explore the island beyond your base, you’ll want to book a rental car for your Kauai trip.

We always use Discover Cars to book Kauai car rentals. They search across a variety of rental car companies, both budget and brand, to offer you the best deals, AND they offer free cancellations. Plus, there are no hidden fees.

>> Check availability and prices on Kauai car rentals now!

Lihue Airport-Hotel Shuttle

Not planning to pick up a rental car at Lihue airport? Pre-arrange round trip transfer from the airport to your hotel and back!

This shared shuttle serves hotels or vacation rentals in Princeville, Kahala, Poipu, Kapaa, or Lihue, and then back again. It’s convenient and inexpensive, and saves time and hassle!

>> Check prices and availability for shared round-trip airport transfer in Kauai now!

Where to Stay in Kauai

Depending on whether you want a vacation rental with more room and the option to cook some of your meals, or you want a resort or hotel experience, and depending on which part of Kauai you want to choose as your base, you have a variety of options.

Since you’ll likely want to base in a couple places on your trip to Kauai, we suggest starting your search for Kauai accommodations by browsing vacation rentals on VRBO.

We have stayed in VRBO rentals in both Poipu and Princeville and find that the choice and quality are generally great.

>> Look for a Kauai vacation rental on VRBO now!

Want detailed recommendations for accommodations in Kauai? Check out our comprehensive guide to the best places to stay in Kauai!

Hideaways Beach, one of the best secluded Kauai snorkeling beaches
Hideaways Beach, one of the best secluded Kauai snorkeling beaches

More Kauai Travel Inspiration

Considering a trip to the Garden Isle in Hawaii? You’ll definitely want to check out some of our other comprehensive Kauai travel and attraction guides!

If you are a first-time visitor to Kauai, start by discovering the best things to do in Kauai! From beaches and botanical gardens to cliffs, canyons, and waterfalls, Kauai has it all, and our round-up lists all of Kauai’s must-experience activities and attractions.

Planning to split a week between Kauai and another island? We have a 3 days in Kauai itinerary article you must read to help flesh out what you would like to see and do!

Read our in-depth guide to visiting the Na Pali Coast of Kauai. We give you the full scoop on the best ways to visit this stunning coast in the remote northwest of the island.

Discover our round-up of the nine spectacular state parks in Kauai, which house some of Kauai’s most treasured natural wonders.

We also have visitor’s guides to popular parks like Waimea Canyon State Park, which protects the namesake canyon, nearby Kokee State Park, and the remote but beautiful Polihale State Park.

Also check out the ultimate guide to visiting Haena State Park on Kauai’s north shore, and a full guide to hiking the epic Kalalau Trail.

Check out our round-up of the most beautiful waterfalls in Kauai, from waterfalls you can view from the road to falls that require hiking and falls that are best seen from a helicopter or sightseeing flight. We also have an article on everything you need to know to visit Secret Falls Kauai on an exciting kayaking and hiking tour.

Read our guide to Wailua River State Park to discover two easy-to-access Kauai waterfalls, and our trail guide for the easy hike to Ho’opi’i Falls. We also have an article on the best Kauai waterfall hikes.

And if a helicopter tour is part of your plans for Kauai, read our article on the top-rated helicopter tours in Kauai!

Hiking enthusiasts will want to read our article on the best hikes in Koke’e State Park: the trails here are some of the best hikes in Kauai!

We have detailed trail guides for the most popular Koke’e hikes, from the scenic Canyon Trail to the top of Waipo’o Falls, to the epic Awa’awapuhi Trail, challenging but very rewarding!

Also discover the best hikes in Waimea Canyon State Park, and the best hikes on Kauai’s north shore.

We also have a trail guide for the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail on Kauai’s scenic south shore, an article on how to hike the Sleeping Giant Trail, and a guide to the Kuilau Ridge Trail, one of the easy hikes on Kauai.

Get the scoop on the best botanical gardens in Kauai, from Limahuli Garden on the north shore to McBryde and Allerton Gardens on the south shore.

Learn about the best things to do in Hanalei, the charming town that sits in the middle of Kauai’s scenic north shore.

Read our guide to the best swimming beaches on Kauai, from Hanalei Bay on the north shore to Poipu Beach on the south shore!

We also have a guide to the best snorkeling beaches on Kauai, a round-up of the best Kauai north shore beaches, and an article on the best Kauai south shore beaches!

Did you find this article informative? Pin it on Pinterest for later!

Discover the complete guide to Hideaways Beach on the scenic north shore of Kauai, Hawaii!

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