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

[+]

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

[+]

Koloa 2

Poipu 11

The Napali Coast 2

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Category

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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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Best For

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Family 13

Gay and Lesbian 1

Kauai Sights

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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...

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...

Baby Beach

  • Beach–Sight

There aren't many safe swimming beaches on Kauai's East Side; however, this one usually ranks highly with parents because there's a narrow,...

Beach House Beach

  • Beach–Sight

Don't pack the beach umbrella, beach mats, and cooler for this one. Just your snorkel gear, when the seas are calm. The beach, named...

Brennecke Beach

  • Beach–Sight

This beach is synonymous on Kauai with board surfing and bodysurfing, thanks to its shallow sandbar and reliable shore break. Because...

Donkey Beach

  • Beach–Sight

This beach gets its unusual name from the former Lihue Plantation Company, which once kept a herd of mules and donkeys in the pasture...

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

Hanakapiai Beach is a small jewel you’ll discover after the first 2 miles of Napali Trail and crossing the stream. It’s a beauty,...

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...

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