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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Best For

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Family 13

Gay and Lesbian 1

Kauai Sights

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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...

Hanapepe Swinging Bridge

  • Bridge/Tunnel

This bridge may not be the biggest adventure on Kauai, but it's enough to make your heart hop. It's considered a historic suspension...

Hanapepe Valley and Canyon Lookout

  • Viewpoint/Scenic Overlook

This dramatic divide and fertile river valley once housed a thriving Hawaiian community of taro farmers, with some of the ancient fields...

Hanapepe Walking Tour

  • Tour–Sight

This 1½-mile self-guided walking tour takes you to 14 different plaques with historic photos and stories mounted on buildings throughout...

Kalalau Lookout

  • Viewpoint/Scenic Overlook

At the end of the road, high above Waimea Canyon, Kalalau Lookout marks the start of a 1-mile (one-way) hike to Puu o Kila Lookout. On...

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,...

Kekaha Beach Park

  • Beach–Sight

This is one of the premier spots on Kauai for sunset walks and the start of the state's longest beach. We don't recommend much water...

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...

Kokee State Park

  • Park (National/State/Provincial)

This 4,345-acre wilderness park is 3,600 feet above sea level, an elevation that affords you breathtaking views in all directions and...

Kukuiolono Park

  • Park/Playground

Translated as "Light of the God Lono," Kukuiolono has serene Japanese gardens, a display of significant Hawaiian stones, and spectacular...

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