Top Hidden & Secret Hawaii Beaches

A list of Hawaii’s best hidden and secret beaches.

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• General: DIY / How-To • General: Educational

Matt Anderson's Take
Almost all of Hawaii’s beaches are amazing places to see and be. But there’s something special about a hidden beach or secret beach.

It’s probably different things to different people. Maybe it’s the remoteness of the beach. Maybe it’s the lack of crowds. Maybe it’s that feeling like you shouldn’t be there. Or, maybe it’s the idea that you’ve found a little piece of unspoiled paradise that you get all to yourself for a little while. Regardless of what exactly it is, we all love a good hidden or secret beach.

Of course, if you’re one of those who thinks we’re ruining Hawaii’s secret beaches by telling the public about them please note that nothing about Hawaii is hidden in these days of the Internet. We’re not spoiling anything that’s already been spoiled in guide books and websites.

If you plan to attend these beaches or any beach, please first read our common sense guide to Beach Etiquette. You also need to take care at any beach, hidden beaches included since they won’t have lifeguards, so please also read Hawaii Dangers - Read Before You Go.

So here’s our list of top Hawaii beaches along with links so you can find them and enjoy them for yourself. I’m not listing these in any particular order, each one is great for its own reasons.

Pali Ke Kua Beach (Hideaways) - Kauai


Known simply as Hideaways, this one is shockingly close to the always lovely The St. Regis Princeville Resort but you won’t even know it’s there, unless you know it’s there! It requires somebody who isn’t afraid of a short but steep climb down a possibly slippery trail. It’s not for everyone but the payoff is incredible.

Kooks Beach - Maui


Kooks is one of my most favorite beaches on Maui. It’s easy to find if you follow our map pinpoint and you can drive right up to it. You may not have it all to yourself but it won’t be crowded at all here. It’s well protected from the open ocean so it’s often fun to play and snorkel in the shallow areas. Or just kick back and take in the views.

Queen's Bath - Kauai


Queen’s Bath is a very, very special place on Kauai’s north shore. It’s not a beach, there is no sand. It’s not a secret but it’s incredibly well hidden and requires a 15 or so minute hike down. The hike isn’t bad but there are areas where you can fall. It’s not for everyone and I wouldn’t do it during or after a rain or if the ocean is intense. The payoffs are incredible views and nature’s own swimming pool. You’ll be tempted to swim here but don’t, people die doing that. Rogue waves can hit at any time and pull you right out of the pool and then it’s game over. Instead, enjoy the hike and views.

Makaiwa Beach Park (Ko Olina Hidden Beach) - Oahu


This one goes by many names. Ko Olina Hidden Beach. Ko Olina Secret Beach. Banyan Tree Beach. I even heard somebody call it dog beach once, but it most certainly is not a dog beach so keep your pets at home please. You’ll find it in the lovely Ko Olina Resort and you can walk to it from any of the resort hotels. You may have it all to yourself for a while. Some people swim or snorkel from here, others just relax and enjoy the view.

Secret Beach At Lanikuhonua - Oahu


Since I just mentioned Makaiwa Beach Park (Ko Olina Hidden Beach) above I’ll add this one in as well. It’s very well hidden and a secret to most mainly because there is no direct access to it. You have to do a little rock crawling from either Lanikuhonua (Paradise Cove) Beach or Sacred Beach @ Lanikuhonua in Ko Olina. It’s a fun place to hang out for a while and little kids often like the protected pool here.

Ke'ei Beach - Big Island


This is a great Big Island hidden beach. Locals know about it but most visitors don’t. Getting here is a little rough due to a bad road so walking in is best for most rental cars. This is a classic Hawaiian beach, complete with palm trees swaying in the wind.

Kalalau Beach - Kauai


Want a beach that’s incredibly difficult to access but has a payoff that’s out of this world? Well, that’s what Kalalau Beach on Kauai’s west coast is. The only way to get here is via an 11 mile hike along the difficult and rugged Na Pali Coast or by a boat.

Kahala Beach – Oahu


It’s hard to imagine that a beach can be a secret, much less hidden, when there is a major street and many house all around it. But that’s really what Kahala Beach is. Sure, nearby residents are plenty aware of this hidden gem in their backyard but most visitors aren’t. It’s often completely empty during the week.

Donkey Beach (Paliku Beach) - Kauai


You really won’t come here to Donkey Beach to swim or snorkel but it’s an amazing place to just “be”. Bring a chair and a book and just enjoy relaxing with some incredible views. It’s about a 15 minute walk down to the beach that will be fairly easy for most. As for the name? Donkeys and mules used to be kept nearby. Not a very exciting story but that’s how they used to name these places back in the day. If we used that naming system today we’d probably start naming things “Checks Cashed Beach” or “Nail Spa Bay”.

Gillin's Beach - Kauai


The only way you’re getting here is on a very long and bumpy dirt road. Although some people do it, I wouldn’t suggest coming here in a rental car. You really need a 4x4 to get here. The payoff comes in the form of incredible seclusion and beautiful ocean vistas. Good luck and hope you got that rental car insurance!

Punalau Beach - Maui


If you’re taking the Road To Hana then you’ll drive right by this beach and may never know it was there. It’s not hard to find but well below the road so easy to drive right by. Stop and take a walk down and you’ll probably have it all to yourself since most people stay up top, take their pictures, then drive away and continue their journey.

Turtle Bay Beach - Oahu


You’d expect a beach that is so close to Turtle Bay Resort, which is a pretty major resort on Oahu’s north shore, to be busy but this one isn’t. Most don’t even know this beach is here. It’s probably easiest to access by following the path from Kawela Bay Beach Park. Since most people stop at Kawela Bay Beach Park, you’ll probably have the west side of Turtle Bay Beach all to yourself.

Moloa'a Bay - Kauai


Talk about a classic Hawaiian hidden beach, Moloa’a Bay has it all. Sandy, crescent shaped beach? Check. Beautiful clear, blue waters? Check. Shady tree cover to keep you out of the sun? Check. Secluded and rarely used but large enough so you can have your own huge slice if others show up? Check. The key here is to go early in the day and shoot for a weekday. Park only where allowed.

Pakala Beach (Infinities) - Kauai


It’s called Infinities because the waves seem to ride forever. If you haven’t guessed, this one is really more for advanced surfers. But, it’s also a great place to just relax on the sandy beach. Read a book, contemplate the meaning of life, or just capture some great vacation photos. It’s an easy 5 minute walk but parking is roadside on a busy road and is a little dicey so be careful.

Waiakalua Beach - Kauai


Most visitors don’t come here simply because you have to navigate down a very steep trail. It takes around 10-15 minutes to hike down the 150 foot elevation drop but when you arrive it will likely be all yours. It’s not a place to swim unless the ocean is perfectly calm, so for most it’s best to just kick back and relax and soak in the views.
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Matt Anderson
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