This 1/2-mile-long white sand beach on Kauai’s south side is named after a wooden boat wreck that graced the shoreline for many years before it was finally destroyed and buried by Hurricane Iwa in 1982.
Shipwreck Beach is known as a good bodyboarding beach and also frequented by surfers though the conditions are typically not good for beginners. The strong shorebreak can be dangerous for those without experience in the ocean. Windsurfers and kitesurfers also like this beach. On the eastern side of Shipwreck Beach is the prominent stone cliff (actually a lithified sand dune) called Makawehi Point that is known as a good fishing spot. The cliffs and rocks make this a very scenic beach.
Swimming, bodyboarding, surfing when water is not too rough. Shore hikes.
During strong southwesterly storms sand is uncovered from the beachrock shelves fronting this beach, exposing petroglyphs that were carved into the rocks by Hawaiians in ancient times. The Hawaiian name for this beach is Keoneloa which means “Long sands.”
Need to Know
The strong shorebreak as well as powerful rip currents can make swimming dangerous. Though the locals make it look easy, don’t assume you can go in just because you see people bodyboarding. Never go into the ocean during times of high surf or rough seas. Always stay close to shore and beware of currents.
Shipwreck Beach is reached by following Hwy. 50 from Hanapepe toward Lawai and turning right on Koloa Rd. just past Mile Marker 11. Continue on until you reach Poipu Road and turn right. Near the ocean where the road forks, go left. Shipwreck Beach fronts the Hyatt Hotel, and you can access the beach between the Poipu Bay Resort Golf Course and the Hyatt.
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