A stunning Secret Beach in Kauai, all to yourself? Your very own slice of tropical paradise?
Sounds jaded, especially if you’ve just been to Oahu or Maui, where every Secret Beach is no longer a secret, and overflowing with tourists.
But what I love about Kauai, and why I feel every visitor to Hawaii should stop for a few days here, is its rugged beauty, pristine and mostly untouched by development.
Where else will you find a relatively large, secluded beach with golden, finely powdered sands and crystal clear, turquoise waters, uncrowded and yours to enjoy?
Situated along the picturesque North Shore of Kauai, with amazing views of the iconic Kilauea Lighthouse on one side and rocky lava cliffs on the other, the Kauapea Secret Beach, Kauai, offers a welcome respite, where you can immerse yourself in nature’s beauty!
While vacationing in Kauai, we spent some quiet family time on this lovely Secret Beach, and we cherished the peaceful, serene ambiance here, especially at sunset!
Let us help you plan your visit to the Secret Beach, Kauai, so you too may get the dose of rest your doctor ordered!
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!
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Directions to the Kauapea Secret Beach, Kauai
The Secret Beach, Kauai, is located on the eastern part of the North Shore of Kauai, in the small town of Kilauea.
The Secret Beach, Kauai, is officially called the Kauapea Beach, but most people refer to the beach as “Kilauea Beach“, “the Secret Beach, Kauai” or “Hidden Beach, Kauai.”
How to Get to the Secret Beach, Kauai?
If you are coming from Lihue on Highway 56, Kuhio Highway, take the Kalihiwai Road exit.
If you are coming from Princeville or Hanalei, you will also take Highway 56, but make sure you take the second Kalihiwai Road exit (in the town of Kilauea).
Shortly after the exit, take a right onto Secret Beach Road, the first dirt road after the exit, to the end.
You can enter “kauapea beach kalihiwai hi 96754” on Google maps or GPS.
Parking for the Secret Beach, Kauai
At the end of the Secret Beach Road, there is a small parking lot, and usually we have no trouble finding a spot on weekdays and mornings.
If the lot is full, park along the side of the road.
Map of the Secret Beach, Kauai, HI
The below map shows the location of the Secret Beach, Kauai, and nearby attractions.
Secret Beach Kauai Trail
Access to Secret Beach, Kauai, is through a short, steep trail that starts at the end of the dirt road, and is moderately difficult. The trail can be slippery, when wet.
Watch out for the exposed tree roots. I recommend hiking shoes on this trail, and I wouldn’t take small kids or older parents on this trail.
Kauapea Secret Beach, Kauai, Amenities / Facilities
Location: North Shore of Kauai, Kilauea
Beach Amenities: None
Food Nearby: Kilauea, Princeville
Parking: At the trailhead, small parking lot or street parking
Directions: Kalihiwai Road exit to Secret Beach Road
The Secret Beach, Kauai, is pristine and undeveloped. No restrooms, showers, or lifeguards.
Bring everything you need including water and snacks, and make sure you leave no trace behind, so others can enjoy this unspoiled beach!
>> Book these 5 star rated, highly popular, Kauai Tours now!
Best Things to Do at Secret Beach, Kauai, HI
The ocean waters on the North Shore of Kauai tend to be rough during winter, and the Secret Beach is no exception.
Like other North Shore beaches, summer tends to be a lot better and calmer. However, without underwater reefs to break the waves, Secret Beach waters are still rough and dangerous.
Rogue waves are not uncommon, and several deaths have been reported in these waters!
Enjoy the beach, but stay away from the water!
1. Secret Beach Snorkeling
Without underwater coral reefs at Secret Beach, Kauai, waves tend to break close to shore, and snorkeling is not easy.
If you must snorkel at Secret Beach, Kauai, your best option is to explore the many tide pools next to shore, and I’ve seen even large tropical fish in these waters.
To identify and recognize these Hawaiian fish, check out our detailed Hawaii Fish snorkeling guide!
Secret Beach snorkeling is strictly a summer activity, because, in winter, the waves are too rough to even think about entering the water.
2. Surf Secret Beach, Kauai
Even with the steep access trail and the rough ocean waters, I’ve been amazed at the number of avid, dedicated surfers who lug their boards down, often barefoot, just to ride the waves here.
More of a locals’ paradise, surfing on the waters of the Secret Beach, Kauai, is primarily for the experienced, skilled surfer, and even for them, I recommend surfing in groups, so you can look out for each other.
Without lifeguards, and with towering waves even during summer, visitors are better off admiring the grace of these surfers from the safety of the shore!
>> Book these 5 star rated, highly popular, Kauai Tours now!
3. Sunbathe or Relax with a Book on the Secret Beach, Kauai
The best thing to do on Secret Beach, Kauai, is to find a secluded spot for sunbathing or relaxing with a book!
With over half a mile of wide sandy beach, finding the perfect spot for you is not difficult.
When we visited in the morning or early afternoon on weekdays, we usually had the beach to ourselves, with most other tourists heading to more easily accessible beaches or beaches with facilities.
4. Stay Back for Spectacular Sunset Views from Secret Beach, Kauai
While sunsets on Kauai, as with the other Hawaiian islands are legendary, more often than not, you are struggling to find a spot to enjoy the colors.
That’s why sunsets from Secret Beach, Kauai, were special to us – often, we were the only couple admiring the sunset, romantic moments that we still cherish!
Just watching the golden orb dip below the Pacific Ocean waters next to the lava rock cliffs amidst an array of colors was deeply satisfying!
Don’t stay too late, climbing the trail back in the dark is no fun, especially with the exposed tree roots on the trail!
5. Admire Turtles and Monk Seals on Secret Beach, Kauai
Given the secluded, remote nature of the beach, you’ll often find Hawaiian green sea turtles or monk seals resting on the sands.
While not as prolific as say Poipu Beach, we would usually sight either a turtle or a monk seal on our visits to Secret Beach, Kauai.
The green sea turtles and monk seals are endangered and protected, so please observe them from a distance!
>> Book these 5-star rated, highly popular, Kauai tours now!
6. Secret Beach Swimming
As with snorkeling, swimming is a no-no! Even if you are an experienced swimmer, the currents here are quite strong and treacherous.
To pick a swimming beach, refer to our guide to the best swimming beaches on Kauai!
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?).
- Snorkeling Gear Set: We love our Cressi Light Weight Premium Travel Snorkel Set for All Family, compact and easy to pack, great fitting, and very clear underwater. The Zenoplige Mask Fins Snorkel Set is a great budget option.
- Sunscreen: Hawaii’s sun can be harsh. Avoid sunburn with sunscreen compliant with Hawaii’s 104 Reef Act. The Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Spray, moisturizing with Vitamin E, is our go-to when we travel to Hawaii. Apply liberally and regularly!
- Underwater Camera: Want to capture Hawaii’s incredible underwater seascape and marine life? Your best budget option is the Fujifilm QuickSnap Waterproof Disposable Camera, reasonably cheap with good underwater photos! If you want high-end photos and video, you must invest in the premium GoPro HERO12 – Waterproof Action Camera, (waterproof to 33 feet)!
- Inflatable Life Jackets: If you’re planning paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking and other water sports, and prefer your own life jacket, consider one of these two US Coast Guard approved options: the Onyx M-16 Series Belt Back Manual Inflatable Life Jacket or the Onyx A/M-24 Automatic/Manual Inflatable Life Jacket.
- Water Shoes: Some of Hawaii’s beaches have sharp lava rocks or coral reefs, good water shoes will protect your feet (but please do not walk on the reef!). We use the Merrell Hydro Moc rubber shoes (men’s, women’s), great for slippery rocks. If you prefer sandals, we recommend the Keen Newport H2 Closed Toe Water Sandals (men’s, women’s).
- Waterproof Waist Pack: Keep your rental car keys, cards, and phone dry and safe while you swim or snorkel with a dry bag. We love this 2-pack AiRun Tech Pouch with waist strap. The transparent one is touch-screen friendly!
Tips for Your Visit to Secret Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
Without lifeguards and facilities, and a steep beach access trail, Secret Beach, Kauai, is more for the physically fit tourist!
Families with kids, especially younger ones, are better off with some of the other beautiful Kauai beaches like Poipu Beach, Anini Beach, Salt Pond Beach or Lydgate Beach that offer facilities and have lifeguards on duty.
While you may be an experienced snorkeler, the currents at Secret Beach can be deceptive.
Be cautious if you enter the water, and stay close to the shore. Check Secret Beach weather and surf conditions.
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 Secret Beach, Kauai, HI
Best Kauai North Shore Hikes
North Shore of Kauai with its dramatic cliffs, beautiful coastline and lush, dense rainforests is a great place for hiking.
To find a trail suitable for you, refer to our detailed guide on North Shore Kauai hikes.
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!
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.
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!
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.
Want detailed recommendations for accommodations in Kauai? Check out our comprehensive guide to the best places to stay in Kauai!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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