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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Alekoko (Menehune) Fishpond

  • Archaeological Site/Ruins

No one knows just who built this intricate aquaculture structure in the Huleia River. Legend attributes it to the Menehune, a mythical—or...

Aliomanu Beach

  • Beach–Sight

This narrow beach is lined with homes, most of them set back a bit and screened with vegetation that blocks access along the sand in...

Anahola Beach Park

  • Beach–Sight

Anahola is part of the Hawaiian Homelands on Kauai, so Anahola Beach Park is definitely a locals' hangout, especially for families with...

Baby Beach

  • Beach–Sight

There aren't many safe swimming beaches on Kauai's East Side; however, this one usually ranks highly with mothers of small children because...

Donkey Beach

  • Beach–Sight

This beach has one of the most unusual names of all on Kauai and is rarely known by its proper Hawaiian name, Paliku. Lihue Plantation...

Fern Grotto

  • Geological Site

The Fern Grotto has a long history on Kauai. For some reason, visitors seem to like it. Perhaps it's the serenity of just cruising up...

Grove Farm Homestead

  • Museum/Gallery

Guided tours of this carefully restored 80-acre country estate offer a fascinating and authentic look at how upper-class Caucasians experienced...

Kalapaki Beach

  • Beach–Sight

Five minutes south of the airport in Lihue, you'll find this wide, sandy-bottom beach fronting the Kauai Marriott. This beach is almost...

Kamokila Hawaiian Village

  • Town/Village

The village is dramatically ensconced at the base of a steep, long, winding road right down to the Wailua River. In the days of King...

Kauai Museum

  • Museum/Gallery

Maintaining a stately presence on Rice Street, the historic museum building is easy to find. It features a permanent display, "The Story...

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