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Maha’ulepu Beach, Kauai

Best Hidden Places in Hawaii

As the last accessible undeveloped coastline on the south shore of Kauai, Maha`ulepu is a quiet retreat, a place to get away from the crowds at popular resort beaches. Residents and their families come to relax, picnic, hike, fish, dive, surf, windsurf, and observe the sea life along the coast. Visitors say that the area – pristine, awesome, and secluded – is what they hoped to find in Hawaii.

Maha’ulepu is a heritage landscape. Revealing 5 million years of continuous history, it is a living museum – a research site and habitat for rare and endangered plants and animals. Maha`ulepu is sacred and legendary to Native Hawaiians, many of whom are connected to this area by ancestral ties and by continuing cultural uses. Some of the endangered species include reclusive blind cave invertebrates, breeding monk seals (a pup was born in August 2004), humpback whales, and rare native plants. David Burney, professor of paleoecology, Fordham University describes Maha’ulepu this way: “This is the Olduvai Gorge or La Brea Tar Pits of Hawai’i. We keep finding things. We could dig here forever!”

"Mahaulepu"The area is also a remote retreat for residents and visitors alike to be awed and inspired by its beauty and rich past. The scenic splendor of Maha’ulepu, natural and undeveloped, includes majestic Ha’upu Mountain overlooking the fertile valley, the dramatic coastal headlands, the intimate bays and long sandy beaches.

How one Kauai resident describes Maha’ulepu: “I have played on it for 30 years and would like my children and their children to experience a pristine and hotel-free area. It is our Yellowstone Park.”

To get there, follow Poipu Road eastward just passed the oceanfront Hyatt where the road ends to the right (towards the sea). Park and hike from there — you are just steps away from going back in time.

(Some information is courtesy of Malama Maha’ulepu, a non-profit group formed to preserve Maha’ulepu. Phone: 808-828-1438.)

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