Shipwreck Beach

Shipwreck Beach – Where to Get Away from It All in South Shore Kauai
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

When you want to go surfing, play in the sand, or walk the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail, set your sights on Shipwreck Beach in South Shore Kauai. Although its namesake shipwreck disappeared in 1982, the name sticks, serving as a reminder of the ocean’s power. Once you get here, you’ll want to stay for the day, so be sure to bring a picnic lunch.

- The Local Expert Team

If you want to enjoy a day at the beach without the large crowds, let Shipwreck Beach in South Shore Kauai win you over. Although not quite a hidden gem, these shores don’t get nearly as many visitors as nearby beaches. The surf is often too rough for swimming, after all, leaving just the bravest surfers in the water.

Despite that, Shipwreck Beach is still a fun place to visit, especially if you want to hike along the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail during your visit. The trailhead lies right at the eastern edge of the beach, opening the doors to a long hike down the gorgeous oceanfront. If that’s how you want to spend the day, be sure to bring food, water, and plenty of gear, plus wear your best closed-toe hiking shoes. Don’t forget your water shoes either, since it’s plenty rocky all along the coast. You can also park at the trail head!

Prefer to stay put and simply enjoy all that Shipwreck Beach has to offer? That makes for a fun day as well. You can no longer check out the namesake shipwreck since it disappeared in the early 80s, but there’s still plenty to see and do along the shoreline. Once you get a whiff of how serene the waterfront feels, you’ll want to spend the whole day at this beach. So, make sure to pack a big picnic lunch with all the fixings to avoid having to leave before getting your fill of all the fun in the sun.

Top things to do at Shipwreck Beach include:

Strolling Along the Beach
Even if you don’t want to hit the trails, you can still get your steps in by strolling along the waterfront. Although the beach doesn’t extend for miles and miles, there’s plenty of room for a leisurely stroll across the golden sands. As you walk end to end, you’ll get to experience the beauty of the natural landscape from several different vantage points.

Watching the Sunrise and Sunset
Whether you’re a fan of the sunrise, sunset, or both, you’ll want to see the colorful display from Shipwreck Beach at least once. The wide-open view of the oceanfront makes for a spectacular show, treating you to all the best natural hues as the sun goes on the move.

Building Sandcastles
The soft golden sand absolutely begs to become a sandcastle of your creation, so bring along your tools and happily oblige. Remember to use plenty of water to get the sand grains to stick together just right, allowing you to add plenty of detail to your works.

Going Surfing
Avid surfers come from far and wide to take advantage of the strong shore break at Shipwreck Beach. If you have the skills, you’re welcome to join them, but it’s good to remember that there are no lifeguards or other safety nets. You’re also able to simply settle down in the sand and watch all the action on the water if you want to enjoy surfing fun without the risk.

While the strong shore break makes for excellent conditions for experienced surfers, it can prove too much for swimmers. On top of that, there’s no lifeguard on duty, so you’ll have to enter the water at your own risk. So, it’s best to simply jump the waves, build sandcastles, and otherwise stay on shore during your visit to Shipwreck Beach.

Insider Tips:
-As with all ocean beaches, never turn your back to the waves. Otherwise, a rogue wave could knock you off your feet and drag you back into the surf.
-Check the surf and weather conditions before deciding to enter the water. Also, take the time to watch the ocean for signs of rough surf, like dark patches of water and rippled areas surrounded by smoother conditions.
-If you have a picnic on the beach, watch out for wild chickens. They will take advantage of every opportunity to grab a bite to eat, so keep your food covered and well-protected at all times.