You can easily drive to many Kauai beaches and movie locations featured in The Descendants. Except for one. It’s the magnificent overlook above Kipu Kai beach that played a prominent role in the movie. Hollywood made it look like the overlook was across from Kealia beach near Kapaa. Our Kauai vacation rental guests who tried the same way route ended up disappointed. Kipu Kai is actually located between Lihue and Poipu on a rugged coast.
The Kipu Kai shoreline is 2 miles long and consists of four beaches next to clear, blue water. On the surface these beautiful white sand beaches, located 4 miles from Lihue and 2 miles from Mahaulepu, seem within easy reach. Look closer and you’ll see the access point by land is on private property.
At some point in the future this land will be gifted to the State of Hawaii for use as a nature preserve. For now you’ll need other strategies to reach the secluded overlook or see the pristine beach below where the steep slopes of Ha`upu Mountain touch the sea.
Easy. Sit on the left side of the plane on normal approach to Lihue Airport and you may see Kipu Kai in the distance. That makes a sighting possible for many without much effort. Another option is a helicopter tour which our guest concierge can arrange for you.
Moderate. Kipu Ranch Adventures offers ATV tours that will take you to the same overlook in the movie. Be prepared for mud if you go and wear clothes and shoes that you don’t care about. If you need to buy some inexpensive items for this tour, our guide to Kauai shopping will help you find stores. Don’t forget to buy mosquito repellant and sunscreen too. We can help you plan this popular Kauai activity.
Extreme. All of Kauai’s beaches are public. Currently there are no kayak tours that land on the beach. Mostly for safety reasons as it takes an experienced paddler to make the journey. If you’re so inclined you need to be in excellent shape, understand surf conditions and take safety precautions. This includes not going out alone, wearing a life jacket and carrying a PEPIRB (personal emergency position indicating radio beacon).
Select a Hanalei vacation rental from our distinguished collection and you’ll be in the same neighborhood featured in The Descendants, right next to one of the best beaches in America.
When you’re ready to relax and unwind in Hanalei town, stop at the famous Tahiti Nui bar and restaurant from the movie. This celebrated hangout has been in business for 50 years and is still owned by the same family. Featuring live music, late hours and popular Mai Tais.
If you stay at our Princeville condos at Hanalei Bay Resort, you’ll also be close to the beach in front of the St. Regis Princeville Resort that was prominent in the movie. A paved path from the resort leads down to the ocean.
We welcome your comments and suggestions. Let us know if you have any questions about Kipu Kai or filming locations from The Descendants.
Bookmark our Kauai Beach Explorer to stay current on Kauai beaches and facilities. Watch our Kauai video with important ocean safety information. It’s six minutes of your time that can save your life or that of a loved one.