Kauapea Beach – Kauai’s Secret Beach (Gorgeous secluded beach!)
This beach is awesome! Seriously.
Kauapea Beach is better known by its nickname, Secret Beach. I don’t know why it got this name, but I do have a few guesses.
The nickname Secret Beach might be because accessing this beach requires a drive down a dirt road and then a .3 mile hike through the jungle.
It could also be due to the beach being much less crowded than others, and big enough that you feel like you have completely escaped into your own secret spot.
Or finally, the nickname could be due to the far end of the beach being an unofficial nude beach Kauai has.
Regardless, this is a great beach to visit if you want to avoid crowds but still be able to enjoy a large beach with wide stretches of sand.
Be careful though since outside of summer the water conditions can be intense and too much for weak swimmers.
- Kauapea Beach – Kauai's Secret Beach (Gorgeous secluded beach!)
- How to get to Kauapea Beach
- Secret Beach Kauai Trail (.3 mi)
- What to Expect at Secret Beach
- "Unofficial" Nude Beach in Kauai
- Where to Stay on The North Shore of Kauai
Secret Beach Quick Facts
- Known For: wide sand, exclusive feel, nude beach on one end
- Facilities: literally none! Not even a trash can.
- Lifeguards: none
- Parking: dirt gravel lot with plenty of spaces, or could park along side of road
- Cost: free
- Other Names: Secret Beach, Secrets, Kauapea Beach, Kauai Nude Beach
Where to Stay on The North Shore of Kauai
There are two main areas where you can stay on the north shore of Kauai. Those areas are Princeville and Hanalei.
Princeville Resort Area – Understanding the basics of each area will help you book. Princeville is a super well manicured master plan type of community more than a town. Check out all the hotels in Princeville here.
Think of it like a country club golf community that just so happens to be on a few beaches. It’s beautiful, perfectly manicured and maintained, and especially attractive to retirees and people looking for high end condos. You can get more info here.
Hanalei also borders one of the biggest and all around beaches on Kauai (Hanalei Beach), though the downside is that it isn’t as quiet or master planned and not as quiet as Princeville.
I love both areas, but for my tastes I’m willing to sacrifice a little bit of super upscale feel of Princeville for the walkability access to everything in the Hanalei town area. You can get more info here.
Location of Kauapea Beach
Kauapea Beach is located on the northern coast of Kauai on the east side. This sits close to but not in the Princeville resort area.
It is about a 15 minute drive to get to Princeville. If you are coming from the airport it is about a 45 minute drive.
Secret Beach Kauai Map
How to get to Kauapea Beach
Getting to this beach requires a little bit more work than others.
Don’t Type Kauapea Beach Into Your GPS
If you type Kauapea Beach into your GPS it won’t take you to the public beach access spot.
Instead, it will take you to a private residence that has access to the beach, but is gated off and not open for you to access. Type Secret Beach Road into your GPS instead.
Dirt Road Drive Required
Secret Beach Road is not paved, but it is packed with dirt instead. I worried about driving my rental car on it as some contracts don’t allow you to drive off of paved roads, but it ended up not being a big deal as the road was perfectly flat. You drive down the road for less than a mile.
Kauapea Beach Parking
There is dirt parking lot with plenty of spots. Don’t get worried if you see it full since the beach is large enough for everyone to spread out on, and even if the lot is full you can park along the road just outside of the lot.
Secret Beach Kauai Trail (.3 mi)
The trail that leads to the beach is only .3 miles long. It is a bit of a steep decline though, so don’t plan on running down it.
I did it in flip flops no problem, but if it has just rained don’t be surprised if it’s pretty muddy along the way.
- Trail, only .3 miles long – bit of a steep decline, and beach is wide and long, so could walk a lot further along the beach
- Bit of a steep descent
What to Expect at Secret Beach
- Sand: The golden fine sand is really wide and it goes for over ½ of a mile.
- Water: Turquoise blue
- Swimming conditions: Waves often intense!
You know this beach is going to be awesome when there is a large tree swing at the very bottom of the trail as it widens out onto the beach.
There are no facilities here. No bathrooms, no garbage cans, etc. Just nature.
Much Bigger Than Expected
This beach was MUCH bigger than I expected. The sand is really wide and it goes for over ½ of a mile.
Even though there were a number of cars in the parking lot, when we settled onto the beach we weren’t within shouting distance of anyone else.
Secret Beach Tide Pools
Waves Can Be Dicey But There is A Small Lagoon
Unfortunately at times the waves can be a little intense. This may mean that you shouldn’t swim if you aren’t strong in the water.
If you have kids or are afraid of the waves, there is generally a small lagoon full of water that you can swim in.
Kilauea Lighthouse Views
The famous Kilauea Lighthouse can be seen on its promontory from this beach. It offers a striking backdrop.
“Unofficial” Nude Beach in Kauai
Kaupea Beach is an “unofficial” nude beach Kauai offers. While nudity is officially outlawed in Hawaii, it is very rarely enforced on Secret Beach Kauai.
Evidently the Kaui nude scene takes place at the far end of Secret Beach (opposite the trail access point). To access, continue off of the path and all the way to the opposite end of the beach walking another ½ mile.
The beach is so big that if you don’t want to see or be part of the Kauai nude scene you don’t have to. We didn’t journey all the way down the beach to find out.
Final Thoughts on Secret Beach
This beach is a MUST see!
There are a lot of different reasons to visit the Kauai Secret Beach. Whether you want to avoid the crowds on a large wide sand beach, be a part of the Kauai nude scene, or simply catch views of the Kilauea Point lighthouse you can’t go wrong at Kauapea Beach.
Things to do near Kauapea Beach
WHAT TO PACK FOR KAUAI
- Dresses – Packing a few good dresses is essential for Hawaii. Dresses have become my go to on trips to help quickly put an outfit together. Revolve is one of my go to shops for beach dresses. ASOS also has great summer dresses.
- Shorts – Anyone who is traveling to Hawaii needs a good pair of shorts. Khakis are great for guys. For women, cute athletic shorts or denim shorts are perfect for a breezy summertime look. These Levi denim shorts are my current favorites! These high waisted athletic shorts have gone viral on instagram and for good reason, they are AMAZING.
- Sandals – LOVE these Teva’s! They are my new go to travel sandal. Shop my favorite Teva’s here. They are great to wear in the water snorkeling and also amazing for hiking in Hawaii.
- Sports bra – This SKIMS bra is the most comfortable sports bra you will ever wear! Trust me. I travel with 5 of them. Also, highly recommend checking out the SKIMS fits everybody bra is to die for as well.
- Tank tops – Free people is my go to place to buy cute and affordable tank tops. I have this tighten up tank in almost every color.
- Hat – essential. Shop the newest hats at Nordstrom.
- Beach cover-up – Having at least one good cover-up is essential on any beach trip. I recommend ASOS, Nordstrom and Revolve as well.
- Hiking boots – I have two pairs of hiking boots that I love. My Columbia waterproof boots and my Salomon hiking boots. Highly recommend checking them both out! Warning – they both sell out really quick.
- Tennis Shoes – I guess you could wear sandals hiking this trail but I would recommend tennis shoes. It can get narrow and slippery in parts. These Nike high tops are my current favs. They look so cute with shorts too!
- Packing cubes – I always go to Urban Outfitters for my packing cubes. They have the cutest ones!
- Quick Dry Travel Towel – This quick dry towel is amazing to travel with. It really will come in handy when you need extra room in your suitcase.
- Snorkeling gear – for obvious reasons.
Planning a trip to Kauai? Read everything we know about Kauai here:
My husband and I have been to Kauai many, many times and have written up more guides to help you plan your trip. These are my most popular blog posts and Kauai travel guides to help you plan your trip.
Best Beaches for Snorkeling on Kauai
- TUNNELS BEACH IN KAUAI (amazing snorkeling, swimming, seals) – one of my personal favorite beaches own the entire island!
- KE’E BEACH ON KAUAI – great snorkeling, swimming, but you have to make reservation in advance – it was a nightmare.
- Hideaway’s Beach – Amazing snorkeling on the North Shore.
- Anini Beach – (Snorkeling, fishing, swimming) Great for basically everything.
- Kalapaki Beach in Kauai – Kids beach. Perfect beach for families, beginner snorkeling and swimming!
Best Cliff Jumping in Kauai
- SHIPWRECK BEACH ON KAUAI – Amazing cliff jumping beach
- QUEEN’S BATH KAUAI: COMPLETE GUIDE – Another must visit!
More awesome beaches
- MOLOA’A BEACH ON KAUAI – Insanely underrated. Giligans Island was filmed here. This beach was another one of my favorites. Practically empty.
- Lumaha’i Beach Kauai – What you need to know before going
- Secret Beach Kauai! (aka Kauapea beach) – MUST see beach!
- Haena Beach – We saw a Monk Seal on this beach!
- Gillin’s Beach – Fairly secluded beach where you can ride horses!
- Donkey Beach – Underrated – practically deserted beach
- Hanalei Beach – Gorgeous beach, perfect for sunsets.
- Salt Pond Beach Park – Amazing beach for kids and families (You can camp here as well)
- Black Pot Beach
Kauai Hiking Guides
- WAILUA FALLS HIKE ON KAUAI – AMAZING WATERFALL HIKE! Probably my favorite hike I have ever done.
- KALEPA RIDGE TRAIL – BEST HIKE IN HAWAII…SERIOUSLY. Trust me, don’t leave this one off your list! It’s GORGEOUS!
- MAKALEHA TRAIL – Amazing trail that is extremely muddy. 100% worth it!
- CANYON TRAIL TO WAIPO’O FALLS
- Pihea Trail – Easy hike on Kauai with Na’pali Coast Views!
- Makauwahi Cave Trail – Kauai Hidden gem
Read about all the hikes we have done in Kauai here.
Read all other posts on Kauai here.