Haula Beach is a very secluded beach on Kauai’s southern shore — and we do mean secluded. There are no roads connecting to this beach, but there are some hiking trails. Haula Beach sits at the center of a big cove with tall sand dunes at its back and sea cliffs along its sides. This is a good place for those looking to take a day trip away from it all.
To get to Haula Beach, you will need to take at least one hiking trail and, in some cases, two. Again, there are no roads servicing this beach as the lands behind it are largely privately owned farmlands. The fastest way to access this beach is by going to the small parking area at Kawailoa Bay. Kawailoa Bay has a beach that is slightly larger than Haula Beach and is renowned for its good sea conditions for windsurfing and kitesurfing.
Go to the very eastern end of Kawailoa Bay and you will find the start of a trail out to Haula Beach. Now, this trail is not any kind of official state park trail or one that is otherwise well cared for by any organization, government or otherwise. Rather, what you will find is a trail that is slightly larger than a deer trail that will lead you over and along Kauai’s southeastern coast. This is a 2.8-mile back-and-out trail that is rated as fairly easy with an elevation gain of just under 300 feet through the totality of its length (and most of that is just going up and down the sand dunes to get to the beaches). On any given day, you might encounter other hikers, mountain bikers, trail runners, and even equestrian riders out on this trail.
Parking at Kawailoa Bay requires going down dirt backroads that are not recommended for all vehicles. This is especially true during rainy weather. An alternative for those who don’t want to risk this drive is to start the hike further south at Shipwreck Beach. Shipwreck Beach has a dedicated parking lot as well as showers and public restrooms. From here, you can easily hop onto the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail which will connect with Kawailoa Bay and the aforementioned hike to Haula Beach. This will be about double the length of your hike but will offer plenty of gorgeous vistas along the way. Most people report the trip out from Shipwreck Beach to Haula Beach to take around one hour.
Once you finally get to Haula Beach, what you will find is a smaller cove cut between the cliffs. The beach itself isn’t very large and does sit back within the cove so that when you first catch sight of it, you might think of it as a hidden beach. These lithified cliffs and the wide-open expanse surrounding the beach give it a very raw and untamed feeling. Chances are that when you make your way out to this beach, you will be the only one standing on its shores — further adding to its wild mystique.
While Haula Beach is the place to go when you want to be wild and free, it is not the place to go if you are looking to do extensive swimming. That’s because there are no lifeguards stations here nor are there any showers or public restrooms. This is Kauai backcountry, plain and simple. The waves here can get really rough and the bottom of the ocean floor is littered with sharp rocks and leftover coral. Be cautious whenever you enter the ocean, but especially when you swim in areas away from others.
-It is a good idea to download Google Maps or download and print out a map of the trail out to Haula Beach. That’s because while there is a trail here, it isn’t well cared for and can be hard to spot in some places.
-Plan a meal in nearby Poipu either before or after your beach adventure for a well-rounded trip on this side of the island.