Kauai gets a lot of beach visitors every year, but not all of them have similar preferences. While some like the city crowd on the south shore, others prefer a laid back experience on the mountainous and quaint north shore.
The north shore is home to several undisturbed, idyllic beaches that are perfect for unwinding. One such beach lies near Princeville, an unspoiled piece of paradise only known to the locals. It is called Hideaways beach.
As you can guess from its name, the beach hardly gets any visitors and this is what leads intrepid travelers to wander in search of it.
Hideaways is also called Pali Ke Kua beach. Although the names are used interchangeably, they are actually two different beaches separated by rocky outcropping. The common access path will lead you to the left side of the beach, but the access doesn’t come easy.
Hideaways Beach: Everything You Need to Know
Mountainous Hike to the Hideaways Beach
True to its name, Hideaway beach is hidden beneath a 200ft ocean bluff and can be accessed by a steep yet well-maintained trail. It’s a downhill trek from the parking lot, gradually coursing through the 200ft elevation drop.
The trail starts with neatly paved steps that disappear as you descend. At some points, you will have to crawl on all fours for support.
The trail is bordered by railings for safety as there are steep drop-offs on either side. You will get a glimpse of the ocean a few minutes into the trail. At this point, the trail disappears and a rope is all you’ll have for support. You’ll soon be walking over a small ridge before finally reaching the beach.
Rain can make this trail muddy and slippery and raise the difficulty level of the hike. It helps to wear appropriate footwear instead of hiking on flip flops.
The elevation can be more daunting when you turn back to reach the starting point as you’ll have to climb uphill. This is why you’d want to be a minimalist on this hike. You can skip packing umbrellas because there is plenty of shade on the beach. Proceed with bare minimum requirements like Water (or Beverages), a beach towel, snorkeling gear, and a camera to avoid being weighed down by heavy luggage.
After 10-minutes of mild adrenaline rushing hike, you will step foot on the crescent-shaped beach with golden sand. This is when you’ll realize that the challenging hike was well worth the effort. Considering how peaceful and serene the beach is, it’s hard to leave the place.
What to Do on the Hideaways Beach
If the steep trail feels intimidating, another option is to access the beach via kayak from Hanalei Bay. Seeing kayakers arriving at the beach is a common sight at hideaways. The kayakers snorkel and spend some time on the beach before heading back to where they came from.
There is not much sea-life here, except for a few fish and some Hawaiian sea turtles. The underwater view is not that great, but the shallow area is great for swimming and snorkeling when the ocean conditions are calm.
The beach has plenty of shade to relax and escape the sunburn. If you’ve not planned out anything, just relax on the soft beach sand and watch the gentle waves come and go by. It’s a priceless feeling to be in an undisturbed setting, left to your own devices.
Hideaways beach should be visited for its tranquil and peaceful atmosphere, which is the case even during peak tourism season in Kauai.
You can savor scenic views of the beach from Princeville Resort (earlier called St. Regis Resort) and the condos nearby. The resort has a dedicated free valet parking for beach visitors which is helpful considering the beach parking lot being full most of the time.
How to Get to the Hideaways Beach in Kauai
From Princeville, drive along Ka Haku road until you see a parking area on the right, with spots for about 7 to 8 cars.
If the parking area is packed, drive down further to Princeville Resort valet parking. Tell them that you’re heading to the beach and they will graciously welcome you.
From here, you can spot a narrow muddy pathway that converts into a steep trail with metal railings. Finally, after ten minutes of physical activity, you will step foot on paradise, which is Hideaways beach.
If you are staying at Pali Ke Kua condos, there is another lesser-known path that leads to the Pali Ke Kua section of the beach. The paved pathway starts at the easternmost end of Pali Ke Kua condos and leads to a barbecue area with picnic tables near the beach.
Hideaways beach is a paradise tucked underneath an exciting trail. Whether you need a snorkeling session, a kayak ride, or just some undisturbed time away from civilization, Hideaways is the beach of choice when you are on the north shore.