This Gorgeous Beach In Hawaii Is Such A Hidden Gem, Its Nickname Is Secret Beach

Soaking up the sun on this slice of paradise is even more delightful than a scoop of Lappert's mouthwatering Kauai pie ice cream. Despite its name, it would be impossible for anyone to keep this beach a secret after a visit to its sugar palm shores. While the secret may be out on this not-so-secret hideaway, Kauapea Beach (fondly known as Secret Beach by locals) remains one of the best-hidden gems on Kauai's North Shore. 

Its secluded and sun-soaked stretch of coastline shouldn't be confused with those of Hideaway Beach, located just a seashell's throw away in Princeville. Volcanic tide pools, scattered seashells, and warm turquoise waters create a picturesque canvas against a backdrop of lush, forested cliffs. Lava rocks and trickling waterfalls only add to the tranquility of this beach's enchanting ambiance.

The North Shore is perhaps one of the best places to satisfy an unbridled wanderlust spirit. Kauai may have garnered its moniker "The Garden Island", but the majestic landscape provides a playful and untouched wilderness playground. Rain-washed mountains, worn-in beach shacks, and evergreen valleys clothed in wildflowers dapple the roadside all the way from Kapa'a to Princeville. Kauai's tourist-laden attractions, including the iconic Hanalei Bay with its worn wooden pier sticking out over the Pacific, are certainly a sight to behold. Yet, it's the island's more obscure, hidden landmarks like Secret Beach that make the North Shore a truly remarkable gem.

The ultimate guide to Secret Beach

Descending the forested, water-clogged bluffs down to Secret Beach is no picnic (although it's certainly a popular leisure activity along the shoreline). Located in Kalihiwai, just east of Princeville, the trek to Secret Beach is best reserved for the seasoned adventurer with a built-in workout required to reach its shores. After turning off Kuhio Highway, the adjoining unpaved road guides visitors to the Secret Beach trailhead.

This unmarked trail consists of a winding network of aerial roots and thick vegetation. The majority of the journey contains little guidance other than the occasional wisp of turquoise water visible through the dense undergrowth. The reward for navigating the inner jungle? 3,000 feet of white sand and lava rocks, with rolling waves lapping at the water's edge. Kauapea Beach is consistently rated as one of the top secluded beaches on any of the Hawaiian Islands. There are certainly worse places to spend an afternoon than at this picture-perfect cove. Beachcombing and fishing are popular leisure activities, but visitors are advised against swimming in this beach's lagoon, given its rough break, strong tides, and sharp coral reefs.

Nearby North Shore wonders

Secret Beach is just one tangible illustration of Kaui's relaxed and spontaneous island culture. While the southern shore is flanked by luxury retreats and stylish beach resorts, the north side is less of a tourist spot and more of a gateway into a lifestyle few people are lucky enough to call reality. If you're more of an "on-the-go" personality and spending the day in a single spot is not your style, road trip down the coastline, taking in the wealth of Kaui's north shore hidden gems. An afternoon stretching your arms overhead in the waters of the Queen's Bath or a Saturday morning picking out seasonal fruit at Hanalei Farmers Market is what's on a resident's itinerary. One of the best parts of island living is the assortment of fresh, natural ingredients that characterize the locals' diet.

The one requirement when dining on Kauai is to enjoy your meal outside in the fresh air (the exception being an upscale resort venue). Nearly all of Kauai's dining outposts are designed to support such a lifestyle. Fresh-pressed juicers and acai shacks on the side of the highway are a local's idea of a traditional restaurant. Wishing Well, an adorable cafe serving shaved ice, smoothies, and coffee, is just 20 minutes east of Secret Beach — the perfect roadside stop for visitors traveling to and from its sandy shores. Better yet, wake up early and order it to-go, enjoying it beachside as you watch the first rays of sunlight settle over the island.