Shipwreck Beach of Kauai is one of the most popular beaches on the entire island. Its popularity makes sense once you realize that this beach genuinely has it all!
It is located close to a lot of different hotels in one of the popular resort areas. In addition to being stunning, it also provides consistent waves for surfing or body boarding. If you are looking for even more adventure it features a spot for cliff jumping and houses a trail head for an amazing hike.
The only real negative is that this beach isn’t really a secret and you are not likely to have it to yourself. Don’t let the crowds deter though; I’ve gone twice and both times there was still plenty of space to spread out.
Shipwreck Beach Basic Info
- Best For: lounging, cliff jumping, surfing, starting point to hike the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail, and wedding photos
- Days and Times I Visited: Friday afternoon and Saturday morning (busy but not overcrowded)
- Facilities: bathrooms, showers, and picnic tables
- Lifeguards: No
- Cost: Free
- Parking: Small lot that fills up quick
Source of the Name Shipwreck Beach
Not surprisingly the beach earned its name as being the previous site of a shipwreck, though there isn’t currently any remnants you can explore.
Shipwrecks Kauai Location
Shipwreck Beach is located in the Poipu resort area on the south east coast of Kauai. There are a lot of nice hotels in the area, so there is a chance you can walk here from your hotel.
It is about a 25 minute drive from the airport, and about 5 minutes from the famous Poipu Beach.
Shipwrecks Beach Parking
There are a couple of small lots that you can park in if you aren’t staying in one of the resorts. Unfortunately they do fill up quickly so you may want to try to arrive earlier or later in the day if you can.
Cool Things To Do On This Beach
Aside from the obvious soaking up of the sun while lounging in the sand, there are a number of extra things available at this beach.
Consistent Waves For Surfing or Body Boarding
This beach features regular waves that are perfect for surfers looking to catch one. Even if you aren’t a surfer, the waves are still fun to play in, though you will want to be careful about letting little kids in the water.
Check out my YouTube video of this beach here.
Also, I’m sure it’s not surprising tthe waves generally make the water unsuitable for snorkeling.
Cliff Jumping at Shipwrecks Beach Poipu
If you are feeling adventurous you can cliff jump off of the rock cliffs that jut out into the ocean on the east end of the beach. If you are facing the ocean this will be on your left side. The height of this cliff is about 40 feet.
Before you jump though you need to make sure that the waves and currents are not too intense. I’ve seen the cliff with calm waters and lots of people jumping and also see waves being way too intense to safely jump.
I’m no expert on the waves and currents at Shipwrecks Beach, so only jump if you are 100% confident you can do it safely.
Cliff jumping at Shipwrecks beach in Kauai Hawaii
Hike the Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail
The Mahaulepu Heritage Trail leaves directly from Shipwreck Beach.
You can easily find it if you walk towards the cliff jump and simply continue along the coast line.
This trail follows the southern coast of Kauai and provides consistently amazing views. You will waves crashing against rocky coasts, tide pools, and mini cove beaches. If you make it all the way to the end you will pass a resort golf course and have a chance to explore a cave.
If you go all the way out and back it is about 4 miles, but even if you want to only go a bit you will have striking views immediately. Keep your eyes open for Kauai’s famous sea turtles along the way! Read more about this hike here.
There are no lifeguards which can be scary given what can be intense wave conditions, but there are restrooms, showers, and picnic tables.
Conclusion Pros and Cons
I love this beach, but to summarize.
- Striking views
- Consistent waves
- cliff jumping
- Hike trail head
- Convenient location
- Waves can get a little intense
- Rocky in spots
- No lifeguards
What to do nearby
- Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail (Awesome trail! Easy trail with non-stop views along the coast)
- Spouting Horn