Pilaa Beach

Pilaa Beach — Secluded Beach Lacking Great Public Access Points
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

If you want to leave the world behind for a bit, Pilaa Beach would be a great place to go. Unfortunately, despite being a public beach, it’s near impossible to get to these days. So, skip it in favor of one of the other quiet beaches nearby.   

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

Are you looking to enjoy the paradise that is North Shore Kauai in pure solitude? In the past, all you would have to do is brave the rocky hike down to Pilaa Beach to get away from it all. Since it’s so difficult to get down to the water, not many people even think about bothering with the hike anymore. Instead, most people happily choose one of the many other quiet beaches in this area.

The rocky shore also deters potential visitors since it makes for a rather poor, if not outright dangerous, swimming experience. Without a protective reef, the waves come in fast, crashing hard against the shore, especially through the winter months.

A rather powerful riptide is ever-present as well, ruling out snorkeling, paddleboarding, and all the other awesome waterside activities you can enjoy at other nearby beaches. As a result, even the vast majority of surfers skip these waters in favor of Kahili Quarry Beach just down the way.

Pilaa Beach also lacks lifeguards, facilities, and all the creature comforts that many beach enthusiasts are looking for in a recreational area. So, not even sandcastle building enthusiasts attempt to make the trek in hopes their creations will remain untouched for longer than ever before.

Beyond all that, since the entire property behind Pilaa Beach is privately owned by Mark Zuckerberg, there’s no great public access point. As he developed the land and built a large wall, even getting to the trail proves difficult to near impossible. In fact, even if you go by boat, you’re likely to encounter his security team.

You can try to go down the dirt road right off North Waiakalua Road, but it’s often more trouble than it’s worth. Even after making your way to the clearing at the end of the road, you’d need to hike down the steep, rocky trail to land on the beach.

Since there’s not much to enjoy at this beach that you cannot find elsewhere, there is no real fight to establish a truly accessible public right of way to the water’s edge. Instead, the beach remains frozen in time, virtually untouched by people much of the year. The seabirds and vast marine life likely benefit from the lack of human activity, especially since there’s almost zero chance of garbage landing on the shores or in the water.

All things considered, Pilaa Beach is best left be — at least until local officials decide to enforce public access to these sandy shores. Until then, jet on over to one of the many beautiful North Shore Kauai beaches to enjoy sunbathing, surfing, and everything in between.

Insider Tips:
-Want to settle down in comfortable digs near Pilaa Beach? Stay at the nearby Plumeria Moon for a cozy room with a hot tub and so much more.
-You can park at some nearby parking lots: this beach access parking lot is a little trek away.
-For fresh fruit, honey, and so much more, go down Wailapa Road to reach by the stand at Fehring Family Farm.