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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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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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...

Kauai Coffee Visitor Center and Museum

  • Museum/Gallery

Two restored camp houses, dating from the days when sugar was the main agricultural crop on the Islands, have been converted into a museum,...

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...

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...

Kokee Natural History Museum

  • Museum/Gallery

When you arrive at Kokee State Park, Kokee Natural History Museum is a great place to start your visit. The friendly staff is knowledgeable...

Waioli Mission House

  • Museum/Gallery

This 1837 home was built by missionaries William and Mary Alexander. Its tidy New England architecture and formal koa-wood furnishings...

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