Kauai Guide

Mar 29, 2021 | General Information

Table of Contents
When we think of Kauai, the first image that usually comes to mind is the primordial Na Pali Coast rising majestically from the sea. Lashed by rain in 2018, the North Shore is open to visitors again, but only limited numbers of people heading for Ke’e Beach, perhaps for the 2-mile trek to white-sand Hanakapi’ai Beach and the spur trail to spectacular Hanakapi’ai Falls.

Other visitors who have made advance reservations will be able to continue along the Na Pali Coast to Hanakoa Valley and then to Kalalau Valley and its 1000ft. lava cliffs. For most visitors to Kauai, however, the Na Pali Coast journey will remain an unforgettable experience by sea in catamarans, rafts or kayaks.

For the least rain, serene seas and best trail conditions, the rest of the North Shore is as good as it gets for visitors to Kauai, from Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge and the panoramic views from its lighthouse to Hanalei Bay’s golden sand. In winter scan the horizon for whales. Year-round you may see spinner dolphins and laysan albatrosses or a nene, an endangered Hawaiian goose. No longer a secret, Secrets Beach (Kauapea) extends along massive cliffs for more than a mile.

Eight miles from Kilauea and minutes from Princeville, the multiple beaches of Hanalei Bay offer surf breaks and magnificent mountain views. Hanalei Town is every Kauai visitor’s favorite for shopping, eating, festivals and special events, and just strolling around day or night.

On Kauai’s eastside, Kapa’a is full of dining and shopping choices but several nearby hiking trails offer mountain views as good as anywhere in Hawaii. 20-mile-long Wailua River provides one-of-a-kind paddling or other river tours, including visits to national historic Hawaiian landmarks.To the south in Lihu’e, Kalapaki bay and its beach overlooked by the Kauai Marriott Beach Resort, sheltered by a large break wall, offers a nice beach for just relaxing, a swim or watching cruise ships come and go in Nawiliwili Harbor.

For many good reasons, Po’ipu is everyone’s vacation favorite on Kauai. Besides its sun-kissed beaches and their waterborne activities, including great snorkeling spots, the South Shore has one of the best coastal walking and hiking trails in Hawaii, the Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail past sand-dune cliffs to Ha’ula Beach, and also the amazing Allerton Garden and the McBryde Garden, both part of the National Tropical Garden.

Completely different than the rest of the island, Kauai’s westside qualifies as one of the most amazing areas of Hawaii for driving, hiking, biking, and touring with its Waimea Canyon (“Grand Canyon of the Pacific”), Waipo’o Falls and Koke’e State Park overlooking remote valleys and the Na Pali Coast.