The Kauapea beach gets its highly popular name because of its secluded nature. As you have rightly guessed, the secret beach will provide you with much needed private space to cherish your Kauai vacation. This beach is well known (though it is secret) for its size, privacy and beauty.
Contrary to the popular beaches on the island, the secret beach does not front any resorts and also doesn’t have basic amenities like restrooms and picnic tables. What you see is a long serene stretch of coastline decorated with spectacular landscapes.
Secret beach is one of the ‘clothing optional’ beaches on the island. Though the Kauai county authorities sometimes stress on nudity ban on the island’s beaches, this is where nude sunbathers often seek refuge.
Since the trail leaves you at the western end of the beach, as you explore and go deeper towards the eastern end, you have a good chance of finding topless sunbathers or be one yourself!
Hike to Secret Beach
Secret beach is located to the northwest of Kilauea town and can only be reached by hiking along a trail. The trail-head is located towards the end of the first dirt road along Kalihiwai road, which branches to the right off Kuhio highway. As there is no official parking lot here, you can park your vehicle at the end of the road and start the steep hike down the trail.
The trail leading to the beach is an easy 10 minute hike during dry weather. The hike can get slippery during rains and it’s recommended that you wear appropriate footwear. Be wary of the tree roots which might lead to a fall if neglected. Once you are through the trail, you’ll find yourself on the western part of the beach.
As you are heading to the “Secret” beach, do not expect any directions or marked roads to lead you to your destination. But once you get there, the pay-off is immediate. Since you are expected to hike your way back to the top, be cautious about the backpack you carry as it can wear you down.
What to do on the beach?
Even on busy days, the magnitude of the beach makes it seem secluded. There may also be times when you will be the only person on the beach.
Once you are done hiking down the trail, it’s time to enjoy the view.The long white sand stretch and the turquoise blue waters form a brilliant setting. The beach is surrounded by red and black cliffs filled with local vegetation that forms a spectacular landscape behind the beach. If you are tired after the hike, find a shaded spot under the trees and relax.
From the shore, you can spot the Kilauea Lighthouse and the Makaiaeae, a small rocky outcropping that is a bird sanctuary. The beach is marked by lava rocks on both ends. Towards the western end of the beach, there is a 15 foot tall waterfall that forms a perfect setting for the lush green mountainous backdrop.
As you stroll towards the left end of the beach, you will find a lagoon and tiny waterfalls formed by the lava rocks. However, exercise extreme caution while climbing the rocks as the rough ocean currents might prove harmful. Visiting the place just after rainfall will prove to be one of your best experiences as the waterfalls run full and you can spot as many as four of them on the beach.
Secret beach is not for inexperienced swimmers and kids. The ocean waters in the region are rough, even during the calm summer months. As there are no lifeguards stationed on the beach, its advisable to check the local surf report before you plan on getting into the water.
You can often see monk seals and dolphins during the summer months. The winter waters attract local surfers and also Humpback whales, which migrate to the Hawaiian islands for mating, breeding and nursing their calves.
The secret beach is completely different from the beaches you see on the island and is truly a hidden paradise. Once you get past the initial effort of finding the way to the beach and hiking down the trail, be prepared for an experience of a lifetime. Popularly called “Secrets” by the locals, the secret beach is, without any doubt, one of the island’s best kept secrets.