There’s no doubt about it: Kauaʻi is a gorgeous island, and just about anywhere you go is a good sightseeing spot! But there are some truly outstanding areas that you wouldn’t want to miss. Hop in your rental car and check out these five beautiful locations! Expose yourself to the Kauai sightseeing attractions!
When you’re headed north on Kauaʻi’s eastern side, and you come around the bend and see Hanalei Bay for the first time, don’t crash the car! Seriously, you were warned. It’s just THAT stunning and gorgeous. Admire and photograph the views of the bay and Hanalei Valley. Spend some time jumping off Hanalei Pier like the local kids, reveling in the bliss of that beautiful blue water. Enjoy a few hours browsing the quaint shops and art galleries in Hanalei town, then top it off with dinner and drinks at Tahiti Nui or Bar Acuda.
Kapaʻa is a classic Hawaiian beach town, with lots of tourist shops and great little food trucks parked everywhere. The in-town beach isn’t amazing, but the best thing to do is rent bicycles from one of the numerous rental shops, and take advantage of Kapaʻa’s beautiful bike path. Ride a few miles north, right along the water, and you’ll come to a much nicer, uncrowded beach. You might even see a monk seal napping along the bike path; there are several who frequent this area. After your ride, don’t miss Wailua Shave Ice, a red truck that parks near the beach in town. It’s the real deal, with fresh flavors made from local fruits in season. Try the triple coconut!
Just south of Kapaʻa town is the Wailua River, one of Hawaiʻi’s few navigable rivers, and a truly gorgeous location. Rafting, kayaking, and tours are available on the river, though if you’re not a water person, drive up the road that follows the river inland for some amazing sights. Not only are there beautiful waterfalls (of course), but this area is home to the Wailua River Temple Complex, a series of ancient heiau dedicated to various gods and worship practices. Wailua was the seat of power on Kauaʻi in the old days, and is still considered by many to be a sacred area. The temples stretch from the mouth of the river to a good distance inland, and include important sites such as the royal birthing stones, where aliʻi women came to have their babies. Please respect these traditional sites by not climbing on the rocks, moving any rocks, or leaving any non-biodegradable offerings.
Waimea Valley is often called “the Grand Canyon of Hawaiʻi,” and you’ll see why when you reach the overlook. It’s a stunning view, and there is truly no other like it in the islands. But even before you get up to the overlook, there’s lots to see and do around Waimea town, which was the very first landing site of Europeans in Hawaiʻi (Captain Cook came here first). Take a peek at the Russian Fort, a historical oddity built during a brief Russian attempt to annex Kauaʻi. Walk to the end of Waimea Pier, an otherwise-unremarkable fishing pier from which you can see one of the best views of Niʻihau. Enjoy some great poke from Ishihara store before you drive up to the overlook!
Na Pali Coast
Okay, so you can’t drive there. You’ll just have to see it some other way! The Na Pali (cliffs) coast is the insanely gorgeous view you’ve probably seen pictures of before: steep green cliffs that plunge directly into the blue sea. Since there are no roads, your options include helicopter tours (a great way to see other inaccessible areas as well), boat tours, kayaking expeditions, and the 11-mile arduous hike into the Kalalau Valley. Whichever way you choose to see it, you definitely will not be disappointed! Explore the area and find out about the Kauai top attractions!
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