Apical localization of filamentous actin (F-actin) is a common feature of epithelial tubes in multicellular organisms. However, its origins and function are not known. We demonstrate that the Diaphanous (Dia)/Formin actin-nucleating factor is required for generation of apical F-actin in diverse types of epithelial tubes in the Drosophila embryo. Dia itself is apically localized both at the RNA and protein levels, and apical localization of its activators, including Rho1 and two guanine exchange factor proteins (Rho-GEFs), contributes to its activity. In the absence of apical actin polymerization, apical-basal polarity and microtubule organization of tubular epithelial cells remain intact; however, secretion through the apical surface to the lumen of tubular organs is blocked. Apical secretion also requires the Myosin V (MyoV) motor, implying that secretory vesicles are targeted to the apical membrane by MyoV-based transport, along polarized actin filaments nucleated by Dia. This mechanism allows efficient utilization of the entire apical membrane for secretion.