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Shipwreck Beach, Kaua'i

Marina Miller

Posted on March 31 2017

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  • No lifeguards
  • Experienced swimmers/surfers only
  • Restroom and outdoor showers
  • Limited parking
  • Scenic hike

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On the South side of our beautiful little island, you will find a fun beach with thrills of all kinds. From getting smashed by the treacherous shore break, to a cliff hanger of a hike, Shipwreck Beach lives up to it's ominous name. Located next to one of Kauai's most luxurious hotels, the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa, this white sandy beach offers some of the most easily accessible rugged shoreline on Kaua'i. 

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Shipwreck Beach looks innocent enough when you drive up to it's tiny parking lot. It may take you a little while to find a spot, but it's well worth the patience and "thank yous" you will give to the other beach goers vacating the premisses. Once you remove your valuables and loved ones from the vehicle you will notice a well manicured picnic area and a pretty decent bathroom with an outdoor shower. The coconut trees and some ironwood trees down to the left are the only natural shade at this beach, so be prepared with lots of Sunbum sunscreen and Tamba hats and UV shirts

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If you plan on getting wet, make sure you observe the ocean conditions for at least 15 minutes before attempting to get in. There are no lifeguards at Shipwreck Beach. No one will be watching you or your kids, so take extra precaution near the shore. This is a popular surfing spot for the locals. It is a great place to watch these athletes as they ride waves all the way into shore. If you are an experienced surfer or boogie boarder, this is a short paddle out. Come by the shop and grab one of our high performance board rentals first! The reef is very flat under the main breaks and the shore is super rocky and shallow. 

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If there are no waves, you are in luck. This beach has a large fish population right off of the shore. The snorkeling here is great, but make sure you pay attention to your landmarks. You don't want to get swept out to sea in the current. 

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If our warnings have you completely terrified of the ocean, good news! There is so much more to do here then just swim or surf. While you were looking for parking you may have noticed the road ended with a big rock blocking the way. That is the beginning of the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail, an unmarked multi path, three mile shoreline adventure. You can also access the trail from the beach on the left. It is fairly easy to spot the trail heads and well worth the short uphill climb. Once you are done catching your breath and taking your clifftop selfies, continue North on the trail to catch a glimpse of a sun bathing and endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals or Green Sea Turtles getting tossed in the ocean surge at the bottom of the cliffs.  This place makes you feel like you are stepping straight into a wild life show on National Geographic. During the winter you can spot Humpback whales migrating. If you are hiking during dusk or dawn you may hear some 'crying babies'. This is actually the sounds the Wedge-tail Shearwater. There are also endangered and would love for you to leave them alone.

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This beach is also great for catching the sunset. Be safe and enjoy! 

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