Ha'ula Beach

There are only three native animals to the Hawaiian Islands, and a trip to Ha'ula Beach all but guarantees and encounter with one of them. This sheltered cove is perfect for a monk seal's secluded nap, and taking the 20-minute hike to Ha'ula Beach can have you up close and personal with one of Hawaii's friendliest critters.

Ha'ula BeachThe beach is on the southeast coast of Kauai. You'll have to drive down towards Poipu Beach Park and then turn east on Poipu Road. You'll drive past the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Shipwreck's Beach until the road turns to dirt. Now, you have a choice. You can either park here and walk the rest of the way, or you can challenge your rental car all the way to Kawailoa Bay. It's recommended that you have a 4x4 rental for the drive.

Follow the dirt road for 1.5 miles until you reach a four-way intersection. Turn right for another 0.75 miles and continue to stay to the right when the road forks. After another quarter mile, you'll reach Kawailoa Bay. Park and find the trail on the eastern side of the bay. Follow the path for another three-quarters of a mile to the secluded Ha'ula Beach

Ha'ula BeachAlternatively, you can park in the easternmost parking lot of the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort at Shipwreck's Beach. Walk all the way to the east side of the beach to find the trail up the cliff side. You can follow that trail for miles, and it will take you to Kawailoa Bay and Ha'ula Beach.

Ha'ula Beach is inside a cove, features a small strip of sand and violent water. There is no swimming at this remote beach, and there are no lifeguards. But the beach serves as the perfect picturesque picnic spot, and it's a great place to snap a pic of sleeping monk seals.

There are rocky shelves that jut out into the water at Ha'ula Beach and it's all framed by Kauai's largest sand dunes. It's a rugged place with its own unique, secluded beauty. And you'll leave the rest of the south-side Kauai tourists behind. It should only be you, a few monk seals, and perhaps a fisherman as they slowly sail by.

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Price: Free
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Hauula, Kauai