Kauapea (Secrets) Beach

Top choice beach in Kilauea

Obviously a 'secret' no longer, these powdery white sands extend along massive cliffs for more than a mile, wrapping around two rock reefs, all the way to Kilauea Point. There's a sandy ocean floor and seashells galore, with crystal-clear seas that are the domain of bait balls and dolphin pods.

Alas, the swimming isn’t always safe, thanks to a massive shore break, with frequent close-outs and strong currents that flow along the entirety of the beach. Swimming is especially hazardous during big swells (common in winter), which is why it's popular for surfing. This is a local spot, so mind your manners. Nudists also dig it, although technically they're breaking the law.

If you can handle such, ahem, sights, don’t mind dirt roads or steep trails, adore virginal beaches and savor sunsets, you'll think Secrets is absolutely magical. However, if the swells are even a little bit big or rough, do not go out into knee-high water and don’t clamber on the rocky outcrops, as people have drowned here.

Turn makai (seaward) at Kalihiwai Rd (about 0.5 miles north of the gas station) and take a right on the first dirt road just after the initial bend. Drive toward the end of the road, park and find the steep trail down through wild plum trees to the beach.