The Garden Island
Kauai is the oldest of the main hawaiian islands and like all islands, was once a volcano. Now dormant, it has left behind a beautiful landmas with amazing cliffs and beautiful foliage that thrives in the mineral rich soil.
The island has a main highway that reaches about 3/4 of the coastline but 90% of the island is unreachable by road. The Napali Coastline for example can only be viewed by hiking or by the sea.
What to Do!
Hanalei Bay– The Pride and Joy of Kauai, this bay on the North Shore has a magnificent view of waterfalls from the mountains and 6 different surf breaks of varying expertise depending on swell. The best surf shop on the island is a short walk from the bay! Rent your boards or take lessons from local royalty at Hawaiian Surfing Adventures
Po’ipu– A multi-purpose beach on the south side, this sandy inlet is great for snorkeling, swimming, and surfing; all at once! With 2 bays separated by sandbars, the inner bay offers protection for swimmers and the outer is great for beginner surfers.
Hanamaulu– A secret beach just north of Lihue Airport is the best place to get your feet wet in Kauai. While the water line may be a bit rough, the protected bay is not. Whether learning to surf, out for a paddle or just want some water to play in, you will likely have this hidden gem all to yourself.
Polehale– The longest beach in Hawaii requires a permit for overnight camping but is so worth it. Located on the West Side of Kauai at the end of the highway, it is a bit of a drive. To see the sunset in all its glory behind Ni’ihau is a glimpse into heaven. The turquoise water during the say offers a spectacular view to the reefs below when surf is low.
Hanalei– The 16 miles of comes from the eastern slopes of mount Wai’ale’ale, ending at the ocean in Hanalei Bay. The river serves to irrigate the crops in Hanalei and goes into the National Wildlife Preserve of Hanalei. A relaxing and sun-filled paddle for the whole family to enjoy.
Kalihiwai– Paddling under bridges and overhanging foliage is like being in a dream. All land along the river, while beautiful, is private. The paddle ends with a search for Kalihiwai Waterfalls which can only be accessed by a guided tour. The river drains to Kalihiwai bay, a popular surf spot for locals.
Kilauea– The river, ending at Kealia (Rock Quarry Beach), boasts a beautiful paddle with a view of the lavish homes. About an hour and a half paddle up and back is the perfect chance for an escape up the river while the family plays at the rivermouth.
Wailua– The largest and longest river on Kauai is 20 miles long, running from Mount Waialeale. Surrounded by lush foliage, this river provides passage to Kamokila Hawaiian Village, the Fern Grotto, and the Secret Falls. For private exploration, you can start at Wailua Beach Park. For tours, go to Kayak Kauai!
Hanakapiai Falls– This 410 foot waterfall is nestled in the Hanakapiai valley on the Napali coast. It is 2 miles up the Kalalau Trail along the north coast and then 2 miles inland on the Hanakapiai Falls Trail. This hike is a moderate to difficult one but is well worth the effort. Bring plenty of water and an empty camera!
Wailua Falls– The twin falls is a double tiered waterfall that results in a beautiful misty pool and waterfall rainbows. While the falls have trails leading to the bottom, the county advises against it. The overlook provides the best and safest view of the falls.
Uluwehi Falls (Secret Falls)– a 45 minute paddle up Wailua River and a 20 minute trek will take you to the falls. After passing the Kamokila Hawaiian Village on the right of the river, the northern fork will lead to the shallowing of the river where you will portage and continue on foot. Following the trail along the river you the falls is located on a side creek to the left. The pool nestled in the rainforest offers a peaceful afternoon swim.
Ho’opii Falls– Kauai’s secret gem is located near Kapa’a. A two mile trail on an unmarked path will take you to a dual waterfall with an undisturbed beauty. The trail is of moderate difficulty. Locals take the trails barefoot for traction on the potentially slippery trail.
Nounou East (Sleeping Giant trail)– A 1000 ft journey to the top overlooks the east side of the island and provides a beautiful view of Waialeale. Roughly 2.5 miles taking 2-3 hours so start early to beat the tropical heat.
Kalalau (Napali) Trail– Hiking the entire trail takes 2-4 days and is a 22 mile round trip. Going past the Hanakapiai Falls trail head requires a permit and a separate permit is required for parking overnight in Haena State Park . When utilizing this trail please be respectful of the land. No fires are permitted.
Waimea Canyon Trail– The Grand Canyon of the Pacific is 1 mile wide and more than 3,500 feet deep. The trail along the ridge is about 1/3-1/2 mile long. While the valley is often covered in mist from the rainfall, the view when it clears is beyond imagination.
Nualolo Trail– The Kokee Park trail heads start at the end of hwy 550, past Waimea Canyon State Park. If you are looking for sweeping views of the Napali Coast from land, this is the hike for you. It can be a strenuous day hike for the inexperienced or the adventure with a view for the mountaineer. Combining 3 trails makes a day loop not for the faint of heart. The true adventurers will have a blast.
Napali Coast – Explore the Napali Coast in all its magnificence form the ocean! Snorkel by the forbidden Island of Ni’ihau, enjoy the hidden beaches and towering cliffs, and the refreshing sea spray with a professional crew. See dolphins and whales swim around you in this once in a lifetime experience.