Shipwrecks Beach is my favorite beach on Kauai. It has so much to offer but it is hidden from the unsuspecting eye. What exactly do I mean by this? If you roll up to Shipwrecks it looks like a nice beach but not much else. However, there is so much going on here if you know where to look. There is the Maha’ulepu Coastal Trail beginning on the left of the beach, the cliff-jump out at the point, turtles and whales out in the ocean, and a surf break when the swell is up!
Shipwrecks Beach is in Poipu and not too far from the popular tourist town Kapa’a. It’s a great spot for a chill session if you don’t want to head all the way north or west! It’s also one of the best cliff jumping spots on Kauai.
Shipwrecks Beach Cliff Jump
I slept in the parking lot in my car a few times while I was on the island and would wake up for sunrise at the beach. Special moments like that are what travel is all about. The cliff jump is right at the end of the cliff on the left side of the beach as you look out towards the ocean. It’s pretty hard to miss.
You walk up the cliff from behind and then edge your way down to the jumping spot right on the tip of the coastline. I think the jump is about 40ft or 13m but it could be a little less according to some. The depth of the water could have been deeper but we never touched the bottom. As always you will need to check this yourself to watch out for changes in tides, sandbars, rocks, and debris.
We sent a few backflips from this height and never touched the bottom. Any time we were in the area during our month of hiking in Kauai, we would pull in and have a few jumps at Shipwrecks. It’s definitely the most popular cliff jump spot on Kauai and the only ‘real’ well-known spot for jumping from a decent height into the ocean.
If you are heading to Oahu, definitely check out my guide to the best cliff jumps on Oahu before you plan your adventures.
Maha’ulepu Heritage Coastal Trail
The Maha’ulepu is one of the easiest hikes on Kauai and is actually more of a coastal walk. The walk begins at Shipwrecks beach and winds along the coast. It’s a little under 2 miles each way but you can really turn back at any point unless you are trying to reach the caves. The Makauwahi caves are at the end of the trail and it’s truly a sight to behold. In this cave are lush green grass and plants but also fossils, which are millions of years old. It’s one of the best easy hikes on Kauai.
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Whale watching at Shipwrecks
From the beach, it’s not uncommon to see whales breaching out in the ocean. I visited during January and there is a day where multiple whales cruised past the coast, exciting everybody onshore. Nic flew the drone out to get a closer look at the whales and captured some epic footage.
The free hot tub hack: Grand Hyatt
If you are like me, you are likely not keen to spend hundreds a night in a fancy hotel. Luckily though security is lax and you aren’t harming anyone by sneaking in for a cheeky hot tub session. After a few cliff jumps, we blended right in at the Grand Hyatt, which is right on the beach at Shipwrecks. A 30-minute hot tub session was enjoyed and then we were on our way! Definitely, give it a crack!
Where to stay on Kauai
I’m going to recommend five places to stay on Kauai. All five of these spots are in great locations but each one is a little different. Two are a luxury pick, one is a family choice, the other is a value selection. For more accommodation recommendations you can check my favorites in the Kauai Where to Stay Guide.
Kauai Shores Hotel – Luxury (but value also): A luxury feels with the resort-style property, palm trees, and a beautiful pool area. However, it is less than $300 a night. The best part about this hotel is that it is right on the beach. The restaurant literally looks out to the waves, which is an awesome spot to start your day with breakfast.
Koloa Landing Resort – Luxury (high-end): I was lucky enough to spend three nights reviewing Koloa Landing Resort and honestly the place is just phenomenal. It has the LARGEST pool on all of Kauai with beautiful, natural-style landscaping throughout the pool areas.
The Grand Hyatt Resort – Best Family Resort: With the best kids’ club on the island, wildlife talks in the lobby, and a five-acre pool complex that includes an enormous lazy-river pool, a waterslide, and a saltwater lagoon big enough for kayaking, the Grand Hyatt is unbeatable for keeping kids busy and parents happy.
Hilton Garden Inn – Value Pick: The Hilton Garden Inn is your number one choice if you are on a budget but still need comfort. The Hilton has a beautiful pool, has private beach access and hot tubs so you are still getting an awesome value and the resort experience.
What are my favorite pieces of travel gear?
There are four pieces of gear that I simply never travel without. These are four items that I using right now and this list gets updated every year! Here are my travel essentials.
- Packing Cube Set: Once you cube you’ll never go back. Organize your clothes within your luggage with these smart mesh containers. It will revolutionize your packing.
- PackTowl Quick-Dry Towel: A quick-dry towel is a must for travelers. It hardly takes up any room and dries in seconds.
- Travel Wallet: Keep your passport, wallet, and vaccine card safe as well as any forms and important documents you need to store.
- Grayl GeoPress Water Filter Bottle: I’ve used this for three years. It filters your water with one press and you can drink directly from it. Never buy a plastic water bottle again!