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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Anini Beach Park

  • Beach–Sight

A great family park, Anini features one of the longest and widest fringing reefs in all Hawaii, creating a shallow lagoon that is good...

Haena Beach Park

  • Beach–Sight

This is a drive-up beach park popular with campers year-round. The wide bay here—named Makua—is bordered by two large reef systems...

Hanakapiai Beach

  • Beach–Sight

If you're not up for the full 11-mile haul to Kalalau Beach, you can explore Napali Coast via a 2-mile hike to Hanakapiai Beach, which...

Hanalei Bay

  • Beach–Sight

This 2-mile crescent beach cradles a wide bay in a setting that is quintessential Hawaii. The sea is on one side, and behind you are...

Hanalei Pier

  • Marina/Pier/Dock

Built in 1892, the historic Hanalei Pier is a landmark seen from miles across the bay. It came to fame when it was featured in the award-winning...

Hanalei Valley Overlook

  • Viewpoint/Scenic Overlook

Dramatic mountains and a patchwork of neat taro farms bisected by the wide Hanalei River make this one of Hawaii's loveliest sights.

Hoopulapula Haraguchi Rice Mill

  • Farm/Ranch

Rice grew in the taro fields of Hanalei Valley for almost 80 years—beginning in the 1880s and ending in the early 1960s. Today, this...

Kahili Beach

  • Beach–Sight

You wouldn't know it today, but this beach on Kilauea Bay was once an interisland steamer landing and a rock quarry. Today, it's a fairly...

Kalalau

  • Beach–Sight

Located at the end of the trail with the same name, Kalalau is a remote beach in the spectacular Napali Coast State Wilderness Park.

Kalihiwai Beach

  • Beach–Sight

A winding road leads down a cliff face to picture-perfect Kalihiwai Beach, which fronts a bay of the same name. It's another one of those...

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