Most people choose Kauai as their island destination for its lush valleys, picture-perfect beaches and to escape the hustle and bustle of tourist hotspots. However, even on this secluded paradise, you’ll need to put some effort into finding your own little slice of heaven!
My boyfriend and I absolutely love exploring Kauai; over our many trips there, we’ve stumbled across some incredible hidden beaches. These secret shores are off the beaten path and require a bit of effort to get there – whether access is via car or hiking trail – but it’s always worth it as you’ll have a vast sandy shore all to yourself!
To make beach hunting in Kauai easy for everyone else too, I’ve listed my top picks of hidden beaches on the island below with detailed instructions on how to get there. It’s an absolute must-do if you’re visiting this gorgeous tropical paradise!
Let’s go hidden beach hunting in Kauai!
This beach is no secret among Kauai’s tourists, but it stays nice and secluded since most can’t find the hidden location. However, the way here is simple enough, and on arriving, you’ll be met with soft sandy shores, rough waves, lush greenery, and lava rocks bordering the beach.
The locals know it as Kauapea Beach and will direct you to the dirt trail that leads to it. We found the steep trail easily and trekked down to Secret Beach without any trouble.
Once you get here, enjoy running around on the sandy shores and suntanning on the sunny beach. Just make sure not to go swimming since the water is choppy and often gets rough in colder weather.
We loved hanging out on Secret beach, and the lack of crowds makes it the best hidden beach in Kauai.
- There’s limited parking space where the trail starts.
- There are never more than 10-20 people here at once.
- This is a famous spot for nude beachgoers, but be aware as this practice is illegal in Hawaii.
How to get to Secret Beach Kauai: It’s nestled between Kalihiwai Bay and Kilauea Point in a residential area. You’ll find two houses with a dirt trail in between; take the trail, which goes into some foliage and gets steep, leading to Secret Beach.
A secluded cove known as Hideaways Beach, located in Princeville, is one of the best snorkeling beaches in North Kauai. The hidden location and hike to get here keep people away, so you can enjoy the jewel-like waters in peace.
We found the hike to get here a bit challenging since we went some days after it rained. But in dry conditions, you can make the hike easily since there are ropes and guardrails for guidance in the steep spots.
Being in the North makes Hideaways Beach shaded in many spots, a welcome relief from intense sunny days. We enjoyed snorkeling here alongside the coral reef that attracts many tropical fish.
You’ll love Hideaways Beach and brave the hike to come here as it’s a beautiful hidden beach in Kauai.
- Parking is limited where the trail begins, so you’ll have to wait for a spot to clear up.
- This is a good spot for kayaking; some people regularly kayak here.
- Don’t make the hike after recurring rains, as the trail will be slippery and dangerous.
How to reach Hideaways Beach: Drive toward St. Regis, and as you pass Pu’u Poa and the tennis courts, there’s a small parking lot on the right. A trail where you begin the descent to Hideaways Beach between the lot and the courts.
Polihale State Park
Polihale Beach is Kauai’s longest stretch of shore, at 17 miles, and one of the most beautiful hidden beaches on the island. The sands here are almost silver-like, backed by hundred-foot tall dunes and framed by the cliffs from the Na Pali coast.
You’ll be in awe of the beauty and calm here, making it a perfect spot for a romantic date or a night under the stars. However, camping requires permits which you can get from the Hawaii State’s Wiki Online Permits System.
Since Polihale is far from the mainland, you’ll need an SUV or Jeep to travel the rocky roads. Expect potholes and rocks for the twenty-five-minute drive here, which turn into miniature lakes after a rainy spell.
But once you get here, you won’t turn back, as Polihale is a terrific hidden beach in Kauai.
- Some run-down facilities include picnic tables, restrooms, and outdoor showers.
- The gates leading here close around 8 pm, so leave well before then to make it out in time.
- The water is too rough for swimming, except for a reef-protected area in the south called Queen’s Bath.
How to reach Polihale Beach: Drive on Kaumualii Highway until the road reaches a dead end near the Missile Range Facility Airport. From there, drive on the rocky, unpaved road in the parking lot of Polihale Beach.
You won’t have to take a long trek to reach this hidden wonder, as a short walk or bike ride leads here quickly. The beach has rough waters, not safe for swimming, but there’s plenty of shade to lounge under and enjoy a relaxing time.
Park your cars in the beach’s lot and walk ten minutes on the unpaved path to Donkey Beach.
We rented bikes and rode on the Kauai Multiuse Path, a great paved biking track on Kauai’s eastern end that goes directly by this beach. So lock your bikes in the lot, walk to the shores, and escape the island for a few blissful hours.
Although it’s not the best for water activities, Donkey Beach is great for getting some much-needed alone time.
- The rough water makes it unsafe for younger children.
- This is a great spot for a picnic.
- The beach gets its name from mules that hauled sugarcane to the water.
How to reach Donkey Beach: On the Kuhio Hwy look for the Hikers sign and turn into the little parking lot. Take the paved path near the driveway down to a T intersection, and turn right. You’ll see a steep dirt path going down to the beach but keep walking another 100 feet, and the next dirt path is much easier.
Wrapping Up: Hidden Beaches in Kauai
Kauai has spectacular beaches with sprawling shorelines and safe waters. However, peak season brings big tourist crowds. Head to Kauai’s best hidden beaches when the crowds overwhelm you for a peaceful few hours on your own.
The hikes leading here appear trying, but once you reach the shores, it’ll be all worth it. Try snorkeling at Hideaways, camping at Polihale, and biking up to Donkey beach, all gorgeous, unmissable beaches.
Last Updated on February 12, 2023 by Brigitte