Gorgeous view of Secret Beach in Kauai with mountain views an d goldens sands.

Secret (Kauapea) Beach, Kauai: Is It Worth a Visit?

Are you planning on going to Secret Beach in Kauai? If so, you’re in luck – we have everything you need to plan your trip! We’ll tell you everything from how to get there and what to expect when you arrive.

Secret Beach, formally known as Kauapea Beach, is a secluded beauty gem located on the northern side of Kauai. It’s a great spot to escape the crowds and enjoy some time alone or with family. 

The beach features pristine golden sand, beautiful turquoise water, views of Kilauea Refuge, a tidepool, dramatic cliffs, and beautiful lush tropical vegetation. 

Disclaimer: While exploring Secret Beach is one of the top things to do on Kauai, it can be dangerous when the surf is high. Please check the surf and assess your mental and physical health before venturing to Secret Beach, especially in the wintertime. Swimming here is not safe in the winter months. Content on this site is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical, health, or safety advice.

Woman hiking Secret Beach in Kauai viewing the beach from the trail.

Secret Beach Map

How to Get to Secret Beach

The best way to get to Secret Beach is to drive there. If you are already staying in the Princeville or Hanalei area (North Shore), the drive is about 11 minutes long. Driving from Kapa’a is about 24 minutes, 1hr 15 minutes from Waimea, 31 minutes from Wailua, and 56 minutes from Koloa.

Secret Beach Parking

Secret Beach has no designated parking lot, but people park in the residential neighborhood towards the road’s end. 

Remember to be respectful of the residents and their driveways while you’re looking for parking. Do not block anyone’s driveway or mailbox, and avoid being loud or disruptive. 

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The neighborhood parking at Kaupea Beach in Kauai towards the start of the trail.

The Trail to Secret Beach

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 0.6 miles

Elevation Gain: 173 ft

Route: Out & Back

Once you’ve found parking, the rest of your journey will involve a short but steep hike. It’s a 10-15 minute hike down a dirt path to the beach.

Make sure to wear sturdy shoes, as the trail can get slippery, especially after heavy rainfall. We recommend wearing proper hiking shoes to avoid slips or falls.

I wore my Keen hiking sandals on this trail and found them quite comfortable and perfect for the terrain.

Woman hiking Secret Beach in Kauai pointing at the beach from the trail.
Man hiking the muddy trail to Kaupea (Secret Beach) in Kauai.

The Beach

Secret Beach offers a breathtaking stretch of coastline that is sure to impress beachgoers. Here’s what you can expect when you arrive:

Pristine Beauty: As you step onto Secret Beach, you’ll be greeted by pristine golden sand and the beautiful turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Seclusion: One of the main draws of Secret Beach is its secluded nature. Due to its location, it remains relatively uncrowded compared to other popular beaches on the island. This makes it an ideal spot for those seeking tranquility and a peaceful escape. 

Also, the beach stretches for approximately 3,000 feet, providing ample space to find your secluded spot.

Scenic Views: Prepare to be amazed by the breathtaking scenery surrounding Secret Beach. The beach offers panoramic vistas of the Kilauea Refuge, a wildlife sanctuary home to various seabirds and marine life. 

The dramatic cliffs and lush tropical vegetation add to the area’s natural beauty, creating a picturesque backdrop for your beach experience.

Activities: Secret Beach provides opportunities for various activities. You can stroll along the shoreline, enjoy the gentle ocean breeze, and soak up the sun.

Gorgeous view of Kaupea Beach with golden sands, lush scenery and beautiful cliffs.
Secret Beach in Kauai with Golden Sands and cliff views.
View of Secret Beach from the overlook on the trail with some cliff views.

Swimming Conditions

The clear waters of Secret Beach are also perfect for swimming, but it’s important to note that swimming conditions can vary. We do not recommend swimming or coming here in winter when the surf is high. 

Assess the surf conditions before entering the water, and exercise caution if you decide to swim. If the waves are too intense, it’s best to admire the beauty from the shore.

A beware sign posted at the start of the trail at Secret Beach warning beachgoers of multiple drownings.

Secret Beach Amenities/Facilities

Unfortunately, Secret Beach does not offer any facilities or amenities.

  • No lifeguards on duty
  • No restrooms or showers

It’s recommended to bring your own snacks and drinks, as well as beach chairs or umbrellas. Be sure to pack reef-safe sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses for sun protection. 

Secret Beach Waterfall and Lagoons

As you explore the beach, you’ll come across these hidden gems, providing a fun experience for visitors. Here’s what you need to know:

Waterfall: Towards the eastern end of Secret Beach, you’ll find a small waterfall cascading down the cliffside, adding a touch of enchantment to the scenery.

Accessibility and visibility of the waterfall can vary depending on the weather and recent rainfall. Exercise caution when approaching the waterfall and be mindful of potential hazards or slippery surfaces.

Lagoons: On calm days, tidal pools form around the lava rock, which can be found on the western end of the beach. The water in the lagoons tends to be calmer than in the open ocean, making it more suitable for soaking in the natural pools (weather permitting). However, always exercise caution and assess the conditions before entering the water, as the ocean can be unpredictable.

Side note: Going to Kauai and need tour recommendations? Check out our review of the best ziplines in Kauai and the best sunset dinner cruises.

Nude Beach Warning

While not technically a “nude beach,” Secret Beach is known for its unofficial clothing-optional status. Be mindful of this if you happen to visit the area. You will find most of the nude or topless sunbathers on the far east side of the beach. I would avoid this area if you’re not comfortable with nudity or if you’re bringing your children.

Is Secret Beach Good for Snorkeling?

While Secret Beach is known for its beauty and seclusion, it is not considered an ideal location for snorkeling due to strong currents, lack of coral reefs, and limited visibility. If you are looking for good snorkeling on Kauai, we recommend Tunnels Beach and Ke’e Beach in the summer only and Poipu Beach and Lydgate Beach Park.

Our Experience Hiking to Kaupea (Secret) Beach in the Winter 

We attempted to go to Secret Beach in February after a few days of rainfall. Still trying to figure out why we thought it was a good idea, but it wasn’t the best time to go due to the high surf.

As we made our way down the trail, we quickly realized how slippery it was due to the recent weather conditions. During our hike, we ran into some friendly locals who kindly warned us about the strong currents and emphasized the importance of staying away from the beach area, especially near the lava rock formations. 

We took their warning seriously as we knew how unsafe this beach can be in the winter months. Luckily we hadn’t planned on getting in the water. We played it safe and watched the beach from a vantage point atop the trail for a few minutes before hiking back up.

Not being able to set foot on the sandy beach was disappointing, but our concerns about the conditions made us prioritize our well-being.

Side note: Going to Kauai and need recommendations on a luau? Check out our review of the best luaus on Kauai or the Smith’s Family Luau.

Final Thoughts

Secret Beach is an incredible hidden oasis on Kauai’s North Shore. It offers stunning views, seclusion, and plenty of opportunities for exploration and relaxation. 

Just be sure to check the surf conditions before venturing out, and respect the residents while you look for parking.

When done right (in the summer), Secret Beach will surely be a fun adventure!