Kauai Sights

Even a nickname like "The Garden Island" fails to do justice to Kauai's beauty. Verdant trees grow canopies over the few roads, and brooding mountains are framed by long, sandy beaches, coral reefs, and sheer sea cliffs. Pristine trade winds moderate warm daily temperatures while offering comfort for deep, refreshing sleep through gentle nights.

The main road tracing Kauai's perimeter

takes you past much more scenery than would seem possible on one small island. Chiseled mountains, thundering waterfalls, misty hillsides, dreamy beaches, lush vegetation, and small towns make up the physical landscape. Perhaps the most stunning piece of scenery is a place no road will take you—the breathtakingly beautiful Napali Coast, which runs along the northwest side of the island.

For adventure seekers, Kauai offers everything from difficult hikes to helicopter tours. The island has top-notch spas and golf courses, and its beaches are known to be some of the most beautiful in the world. Even after you've spent days lazing around drinking mai tais or kayaking your way down a river, there's still plenty to do, as well as see: Plantation villages, a historic lighthouse, wildlife refuges, a fern grotto, a colorful canyon, and deep rivers are all easily explored.

While exploring the island, try to take advantage of the many roadside scenic overlooks and pull over to take in the constantly changing view. Don't try to pack too much into one day. Kauai is small, but travel is slow. The island's sights are divided into four geographic areas, in clockwise order: the North Shore, the East Side, the South Shore, and the West Side.

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North Shore Kauai 24

East Side (Coconut Coast) Kauai 23

West Side Kauai 13

South Shore Kauai 12

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Archaeological Site/ Ruins 3

Beach–Sight 34

Body Of Water/ Waterfall 4

Bridge/ Tunnel 1

Building/ Architectural Site 1

Cave 2

Farm/ Ranch 4

Garden/ Arboretum 5

Geological Site 1

Industrial Site/ Mill/ Factory 1

Information Center 1

Marina/ Pier/ Dock 1

Museum/ Gallery 5

Nautical Site/ Lighthouse 1

Park (National/ State/ Provincial) 1

Park/ Playground 2

Religious Building/ Site/ Shrine 2

Tour–Sight 1

Town/ Village 1

Trail/ Path 1

Viewpoint/ Scenic Overlook 6

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Kauai Sights

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Spalding Monument

  • Viewpoint/Scenic Overlook

The Colonel Zephaniah Spalding monument commemorates the Civil War veteran who purchased this splendid property overlooking an area from...

Spouting Horn

  • Body Of Water/Waterfall

If the conditions are right, you can see a natural blowhole in the reef behaving like Old Faithful, shooting salt water high into the...

Steelgrass Chocolate Farm

  • Farm/Ranch

Hawaii is the only state in the country where theobroma cacao grows. As every chocolate connoisseur knows, the tree that grows the...

Waikapalae and Waikanaloa Wet Caves

  • Cave

These wet caves are smaller (and wetter) than Maniniholo but are still visually worth a short jaunt. Said to have been dug by Pele, goddess...

Wailua Beach

  • Beach–Sight

Some say the first Polynesians to migrate to Hawaii landed at Wailua Beach. At the river's mouth, petroglyphs carved on boulders are...

Wailua Falls

  • Body Of Water/Waterfall

You may recognize this impressive cascade from the opening sequences of the Fantasy Island television series. Kauai has plenty of noteworthy...

Waiohai Beach

  • Beach–Sight

The first hotel built in Poipu in 1962 overlooked this beach, adjacent to Poipu Beach Park. Actually, there's little to distinguish where...

Waioli Huiia Church

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

Designated a National Historic Landmark, this little church—affiliated with the United Church of Christ—doesn't go unnoticed right...

Waioli Mission House

  • Museum/Gallery

This 1837 home was built by missionaries William and Mary Alexander. Its tidy New England architecture and formal koa-wood furnishings...

West Kauai Technology & Visitor Center

  • Information Center

Cultural information and local exhibits highlight this museum-style resource center in the middle of Waimea town. Weekly events include...

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