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—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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The East Side 23

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Kapaa and Wailua 18

Lihue 5

The North Shore 23

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Hanalei, Haena, and West 13

Princeville and Kilauea 10

The West Side 15

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Hanapepe 6

Waimea and Waimea Canyon 9

The South Shore 13

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Koloa 2

Poipu 11

The Napali Coast 2

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Archaeological Site/ Ruins 3

Bath/ Hot Spring 1

Beach–Sight 34

Body Of Water/ Waterfall 2

Bridge/ Tunnel 1

Building/ Architectural Site 1

Cave 2

Farm/ Ranch 4

Garden/ Arboretum 5

Geological Site 3

Historic District/ Site 1

Industrial Site/ Mill/ Factory 1

Information Center 1

Marina/ Pier/ Dock 1

Museum/ Gallery 6

Nautical Site/ Lighthouse 1

Park (National/ State/ Provincial) 1

Park/ Playground 2

Religious Building/ Site/ Shrine 2

Store/ Shop/ Mall 1

Tour–Sight 1

Town/ Village 1

Trail/ Path 2

Viewpoint/ Scenic Overlook 9

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Family 13

Gay and Lesbian 1

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...

Fort Elizabeth

  • Archaeological Site/Ruins

The ruins of this stone fort, built in 1816 by an agent of the imperial Russian government named Anton Scheffer, are reminders of the...

Poliahu Heiau

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

Storyboards near this ancient heiau (sacred site) recount the significance of the many sacred structures found along the Wailua River.

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