Hugging the northern shoreline of Kauai between Kalihiwai Beach and Kilauea Point, Kauapea Beach merges as one with Secret Beach at low tide. The golden sands are quite large by Kauai standards, stretching for half a mile or so with black lava rocks dotted here and there sheltered by tree and vegetation covered cliffs.
The beach is accessed down a steep unmarked trail, maintaining its seclusion and, of course, amenities are nil. Watch out, as in wet weather the path can be slick and dangerous to descend. Although the beach is hidden from the road, you can see the alluring stretch of sand and turquoise waters from the nearby Kilauea Lighthouse on the eastern headland.
Walk along the firm sand and pick your spot to relax, but be aware that the far eastern end of the beach is unofficially a clothing-optional area despite the notices to the contrary.
The waters are suitable for strong and experienced swimmers in summer but strong currents prevail, especially in the rough winter seas. Bring beach shoes and explore the tidal pools on the lava rocks when the tide is low and follow the coast eastwards to a beautiful waterfall trickling down about 15 feet into a pool. It’s perfect for youngsters to paddle and the freshwater is ideal for rinsing off your gear too.
Nature lovers will be rewarded with sightings of whales and dolphins frolicking offshore during the summer. The rocky outcrop offshore is known as Moku’ae’ae Island, a bird sanctuary within the larger Kilauea Refuge.
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