10 Most Captivating Places to Visit In Kauai Island

,

Affiliate Disclosure: This site uses affiliate links. Clicking these links may earn us a small commission, without any extra cost to you. We only recommend products we believe in, and your support helps us create valuable content.

Popular Places to Visit In Kauai island
Places to Visit In Kauai island

Kauai Island has some of the most beautiful beaches, sea cliffs, and waterfalls in the world. Because of its high rainfall, this Hawaiian island is often referred to as the “Garden Island.”

Kauai is home to some of the best trekking in the world, as well as stunningly unspoilt beaches, breathtaking lookouts, and hip beach towns like Poipu along its 15-mile Na Pali coast.

Here we have listed popular tourist attractions in Kauai and shared some of our experiences with these places to make your vacation unforgettable.

1. Na Pali Coast ,Kauai island

Popular Places to Visit In Kauai island
Na Pali Coast, Kauai island

Na Pali Coast is located on the northwest coast of Kauai island, covering 15 miles from Ke’e Beach in Haena State Park to Polihale State Park in Mana.

Sea caves, beautiful valleys, and gushing waterfalls make their way to the coasts from thousands of feet above, while pali (high cliffs) climb as high as 4,000 feet (1,200 m) above the Pacific Ocean.


The Kalalau Trail leads hikers to the N Pali Coast State Park. The trailhead is located at Ke’e Beach in Haena State Park, which is located on the north shore of Kauai. Two miles of the trail between Ke’e beach and Hanakapiai Valley are the most traveled.

If you’re still looking for more excitement, the Hanakapiai Falls are only two kilometers further inland. Experienced hikers with camping permits and equipment can complete the final nine kilometers of the Kalalau Trail.

Visitor’s guide to Haena State Park:

Visitors without a valid driver’s license or state ID from Hawaii are required to make reservations online in advance. Go to gohaena.com to acquire parking permits and passes.

All camping permits for the Kalalau Trail in Hawaii State Park include park admission. Free entry and parking are available to Hawaii residents with valid driver’s licenses or state ID cards on a first-come, first-served basis, up to park capacity.

There is no other kind of identification or proof of residency that will be accepted. Adult residents who don’t have a valid ID must buy a reservation online ahead of time. Identification is not necessary for those under the age of 18.

The park is open from 7:00 a.m. until 6:45 p.m., every day (including holidays). The parking lot opens at 6:30 in the morning.
Drive to Kokee State Park for access to lookouts across Kalalau Valley and a bird’s-eye view of Na Pali.

Sightseeing, snorkeling, and sailing trips aboard sailing catamarans, power catamarans, and rigid hull inflatables are the greatest ways to enjoy the Na Pali, while helicopter tours offer the best aerial perspective of the cliffs and sea caves.

Year-round, the majority of tours leave from Port Allen on the western coast. Hanalei Bay on the north shore of Kauai is home to a small number of tour operators during the summer months (April–September).

Book a doors-off helicopter tour, fixed-wing airplane tour, or Helicopter Tour to obtain the best possible view of one of the world’s most stunning coasts, the Na Pali Coast.

2. Fern Grotto

Popular Places to Visit In Kauai island
Fern Grotto, Kauai Island

Fern Grotto is a Kauai island natural wonder. The grotto attracts tourists with its rich vegetation, tranquil atmosphere, and rare plant life. Fern Grotto’s history, features, and conservation efforts are covered here.

Fern Grotto is in Kauai’s east Wailua River State Park. The 1,000-acre park has many plants and animals. The boat-only grotto lies two miles up the Wailua River. Visit the grotto by riverboat. Fern Grotto is best visited in April–September during the dry season.

Visitor’s guide to Fern Grotto:

The Fern Grotto can only be reached by boat or kayak and is situated about two miles upstream on Kauai’s Wailua River. The Wailua River is the only river in the state of Hawaii that is navigable.

The grotto is a cave where luxuriant ferns are growing on the cave walls as a result of moisture seeping from the irrigation of sugarcane growing on the cliff plateau.

This moisture seeping is the cause of the grotto. The sugar industry entered its final days, and shortly thereafter, the ferns in the area started to die off.

It wasn’t until restoration efforts brought moisture back to the area that the ferns began to recover. The cave was also ravaged by Hurricane Iniki and a heavy flood in 2006, both of which occurred in 2006.

A trip on one of the Wailua River Cruises is highly recommended as the most expedient way to reach Fern Grotto. During the course of your twenty-minute journey up the river, you will be treated to Hawaiian music and entertainment while gaining knowledge about the history of the Wailua River Valley.

The duration of the whole tour is approximately an hour and a half. Make sure to bring your camera with you because there are a lot of great photo chances in this tropical valley that you won’t want to miss out on.

3. Hanalei Valley Lookout

Popular Places to Visit In Kauai island
Hanalei Valley Lookout, Kauai Island


On Kauai’s north shore, Hanalei Valley Lookout attracts tourists. Visitors come to this viewing point to see the valley surrounded by green mountains. The overlook offers a unique opportunity to learn about the local culture, especially taro cultivation.

Location/Directions:

Hanalei Valley Lookout is along Kuhio Highway, past Hanalei. The overlook is 4 miles east of Princeville on Kuhio Highway. Visitors have a tiny parking lot and restrooms.

Over 1,000 years of Hawaiian habitation remain in Hanalei Valley. Kamehameha I, who united the Hawaiian islands, lived in the valley.

Hawaiians have eaten starchy taro for ages. For years, Hanalei Valley people have grown taro using traditional ways. The lookout overlooks taro plants in the valley’s Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge.

Hanalei Valley Lookout: Attractions

The Hanalei Valley Lookout overlooks the taro patches, Hanalei River, and mountains. Visitors can see the panorama from a pavilion or a lower observation area. Signs explain the area’s history and culture.

Photographers love the Hanalei Valley Lookout. The valley and mountains provide wonderful vistas. Morning shots are great since the valley is often misty and the light is mellow. Bring a tripod to capture the scene’s beauty.

The Hanalei Valley Lookout has many attractions. Hanalei, a few miles away, has shopping, restaurants, and activities.

Hike the Kalalau Trail, take a helicopter trip, or relax on one of the many gorgeous beaches nearby. The Hanalei Valley Lookout is available year-round, but the dry season (April–September) is finest.

The valley’s best views are during sunny, clear days. If you don’t mind rain, the valley is greenest and lushest in winter.

Check the weather and dress accordingly before visiting the Hanalei Valley Lookout. The lookout can be windy and cold, so bring a light jacket or jumper.

The bottom viewing area requires comfortable shoes. Bring your camera! The Hanalei Valley Lookout is safe for visitors, but be cautious of your surroundings and tread carefully. Be careful on high, slippery terrain.

Stay on pathways and observation areas to protect the valley’s unique ecosystem.

There are many Hanalei Valley Lookout hotels. Hanalei has hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals. Rent a cottage or villa in a nearby community for more privacy.

Casual and upmarket restaurants abound near the Hanalei Valley Lookout. Try poke bowls, plate lunches, and shaved ice to experience Hawaii. Try local papaya, mango, and pineapple.

The Hanalei Valley Lookout has many souvenir shops. Hanalei’s stores sell handmade jewellery and local art and crafts.

Take home taro chips or other Hawaiian treats. The Hanalei Valley Lookout is free and open daily from 6am to 6pm.

4. Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge

Popular Places to Visit In Kauai island
Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, kauai island

Visitors can see the towering lighthouse at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, which was established in 1985 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The ocean cliffs and tall grassy slopes of a dormant volcano provide a protective breeding ground for many seabirds in Kauai island,Hawaii.

It is also one of the few locations where visitors can observe the (red-footed booby), Ml (Laysan albatross), and ‘Ua ‘u kani (wedge-tailed shearwater) among other Kaua‘i wildlife in their natural habitat.

The coastal front also provides a safe haven for visitors to see the endangered ‘Ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua (Hawaiian monk seal), Honu (green sea turtle), and Kohol (humpback whale).

From Lhu’e, visitors can drive north on the Khi Highway for approximately 23 miles to the town of Klauea. Then, they can turn right on Kolo Road, followed by a left on Klauea Road, and drive 2 miles to the refuge entrance.

All guests must drive down to the refuge parking area. Visitors should note that parking is limited.

Please ensure to call ahead if your group consists of more than 20 visitors. Visitors are restricted to vans transporting 15 people or fewer. Visitors are not allowed to bring buses without prior permission.

Parking:

The Refuge offers two parking spots for visitors with disabilities, but they must have a vehicle placard. The designated parking stalls are located at the entrance of a 200-yard/meter walkway that leads visitors to the Daniel K. Inouye Klauea Point Lighthouse, opportunities to view seabirds in their natural habitat, and sweeping vistas.

The walkway is paved and fully accessible for visitors using wheelchairs. A golf cart can be requested at the fee booth. Visitors are advised to contact the Refuge at (808) 828-1413 for any further assistance needed.

Visitors are required to pay an entrance fee.

Visitors who are 16 years old and above are required to pay an entry fee of $10 and minors can enter for free. Visitors with Federal Recreational Lands Passes are welcome here and passes can be purchase at the refuge.

Visitors can’t purchase a yearly kama’ina pass. The kamaina pass allows visitors to Klauea Point throughout the year for the holder and up to three guests.

Traveller can find restrooms, a drinking fountain, and a water refilling station on site. Visitors are not allowed to bring pets, food, and drink, as well as firearms.

5. Koloa Landing

Popular Places to Visit In Kauai island
Koloa Landing, Kauai island

Koloa Landing, also known as “whalers cove,” was formerly a bustling deep-water harbor and the third largest whaling port in the Kauai island, Hawaii. It was given this nickname because of its proximity to whalers.

This port went out of favor after it became widely known that the port at Waimea was frequently impacted by erratic onshore Kona wind conditions, which made it difficult to enter and anchoring.

This port, on the other hand, was not influenced by these conditions. Before the whaling industry discovered it, the fur and sandalwood trades made use of Koloa Landing. Later on, the whaling industry realized its potential.

In addition, the sugar industry made increasing use of the port up until the year 1912. Koloa Landing is already a well-known destination for shore divers due to the fact that it features an easy entry, deep water, and an abundance of marine life.

6. Kukuiolono Park

Popular Places to Visit In Kauai island
Kukuiolono Park, Kauai island

The Kukuiolono Park and Golf Course is a hidden gem that can be found in the town of Kalaheo, Hawaii. It is just a little bit off the beaten road.

The land that is now occupied by the park served in times past as the location of an ancient Hawaiian heiau and, more recently, as the estate of Walter McBryde, who passed away.

The park features expansive walking routes and gardens, many of which afford stunning vistas of the surrounding mountains and ocean.

The most reasonable greens fees on the island can be found at the tough 9-hole golf course, which is one of the reasons why the neighborhood golfers frequent it so frequently.

In the recently redone Japanese garden, guests may take a pleasant stroll along a winding route, cross a footbridge, and view a variety of fountains, statues, bonsai trees, and other types of plantings.

This is a wonderful place to take a family or group of friends. A recently constructed meditation pavilion and a one-of-a-kind, large collection of items made of Hawaiian lava rock can be found at the top of the garden path that leads there.

Joggers, walkers, and hikers will also find that this location offers a wealth of options to get their exercise. A paved walkway may be found leading out of the Japanese garden and up to a bluff that provides unparalleled views of the southern and western coasts of the island of Kauai. During the appropriate seasons, visitors may even be able to catch a glimpse of some whales here.

Hikers can take pleasure in a stroll along a trail that is surrounded by trees and passes through a forest of ironwood and eucalyptus after parking their vehicles in the lower parking lot.

When there is a breeze blowing through the ironwood trees, the path gives off the impression of having an especially tranquil atmosphere.

Every day of the week, from 7:00 in the morning until 6:00 in the evening, Kukuiolono Park is open. To reach there, start heading south on Papalina Road from the light in Kalaheo.

Once the road begins to drop downwards, make a right turn onto Puu Road, which is where you will find the entrance.

7. Maniniholo Cave

Popular Places to Visit In Kauai island
Maniniholo Cave, Kauai island

The entrances to the Maniniholo, Waikanaloa, and Waikapalae Wet Caves may be found just off the main road in Haena State Park, making them quite accessible.

The entrance to Maniniholo Dry Cave may be found diagonally across the street from Haena Beach Park. This cave with a huge aperture is dry, so it can be explored without getting wet, and it’s a great place to take kids.

Bring a flashlight with you when you go exploring in the cave.

To go to the Waikanaloa Cave and the Waikapale Cave, which are both located a short distance up the road from the lifeguard beach, you will need to go on a short climb. Swimming is not allowed inside of the caves.

The water that seeps into the cave ultimately emerges as an underground spring and flows into the ocean.

The amount of water in these caverns can change depending on the tide. When the sun is just to the north of Haena, the cave takes on a beautiful blue glow as a result of light reflecting off of the floor of the cave. This is the greatest time to explore the cave.

In the film “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” the Waikapalae cave was utilized as a filming location.
When you first enter Haena State Park, there is a little pond on the side of the road called Cold Pond.

This pond is filled with water that has been filtered from the surrounding mountains, and it is an excellent spot to relax and cool off after a stroll up the Kalalau Trail.

8. Opeakaa Falls

Popular Places to Visit In Kauai island
Opeakaa Falls, Kauai Island

There is a waterfall known as Opeakaa Falls in Wailua,Kauai island which is known as the land of the ali’i (kings). The 151-foot-tall Opeakaa Falls are located on the north branch of the Wailua River.

The falls have a width of 40 feet and may be easily witnessed from the Opeakaa Falls overlook, which is located off of Kuamoo Road.

On the opposite side of Kuamoo Road from the falls, there is a small viewpoint with ample parking and a sidewalk that offers a view of the Wailua River as well as a safe vantage point from which to observe the waterfalls.

The water from the falls can be seen at any time of the year. Opaeka’a is Hawaiian for “rolling shrimp,” and that is where the name comes from.

9. Spouting Horn

Popular Places to Visit In Kauai island
Spouting Horn, Kauai Island

Spouting Horn Beach Park is a wonderful lookout where visitors may enjoy seeing a blowhole spout a column of seawater into the air. When waves are propelled under the lava shelf and then up through a hole in the rocky coast, this waterspout will develop.

It all depends on the tide and the conditions of the ocean, but the water can shoot up to a height of fifty feet into the air. You might be able to see a rainbow in the mist from the ocean if the conditions are just right.

Exploring the rocks close to the opening of the blowhole, despite the fact that doing so may seem appealing, is fraught with peril and is the reason for the presence of the guardrail as well as the warning signs. In the neighboring rocks, there might also be a hole in the shape of a rectangle.

This blowhole used to be considerably larger in size, but the manager of the sugar plantation had it blown out with explosives since the salt spray was causing some damage to a piece of their sugar crop.

10. Waimea Canyon State Park

Popular Places to Visit In Kauai island
Waimea Canyon State-Park, Kauai island

With a length of 10 miles, a width of one mile, and a depth of more than 3,500 feet, Waimea Canyon State Park is the largest canyon in the Pacific and is sure to hold your attention.

As you hike the more than 45 miles of trails, you may learn about Kauai’s past from the crags and walls of the canyon. An amazing landmark with countless photo ops and breathtaking vistas.

Kokee State Park encompasses the 4,345 acres of land surrounding the Waimea Canyon. Some of the natural plants and animals you might see here are Norfolk pines and Koa hardwoods.

Cabins run by the state that are used for hiking with a permit are bookable in advance all year. The Kokee Natural History Museum, located near to the Kokee lodge, has hiking maps of Waimea Canyon.

Note: The list of places we have shared is only some of the popular attractions in Kauai. There are lots of other great spots in Kauai to visit.

Top Hotels and Places to Stay in Kauai

Here is a list of Hotels in Kauai island:

About the author

Hi there! I'm Steanlee Thaosen, and I love traveling and writing about it. I take people on virtual journeys to amazing places through my writings. I use exciting words and colorful descriptions to help you feel like you're really there. Come join me on my fun adventures through my awesome blog!

5 thoughts on “10 Most Captivating Places to Visit In Kauai Island”

Leave a Comment