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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Area

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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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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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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,...

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...

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...

Kilohana Plantation

  • Museum/Gallery

This estate dates back to 1850, shortly after the "Great Mahele"—the division of land by the Hawaiian people. Plantation manager Albert...

Kukuiula Small Boat Harbor

  • Beach–Sight

This is a great beach to sit and people-watch as diving and fishing boats, kayakers, and canoe paddlers head out to sea. Shore and throw-net...

Lydgate State Park

  • Beach–Sight

This is by far the best family beach park on Kauai. The waters off the beach are protected by a hand-built breakwater, creating two boulder...

Opaekaa Falls

  • Viewpoint/Scenic Overlook

The mighty Wailua River produces many dramatic waterfalls, and Opaekaa (pronounced oh-pie-kah-ah) is one of the best. It plunges hundreds...

Poipu Beach Park

  • Beach–Sight

The most popular beach on the South Shore is Poipu Beach Park. During calm seas, the snorkeling and swimming are good, and when the surf's...

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