Kauai earned itself the nickname “Garden Isle” due to the lush tropical rainforest that blankets most of Hawaii’s fourth-largest island. This dramatic hinterland teems with waterfalls, mountains, and canyons while the coastline is fringed with golden beaches and plunging coastal cliffs. Here is what to expect from the stunning Hawaiian island of Kauai.
Beaches of Kauai
Located on the southern coast of the island, Poipu Beach is a wonderful spot for swimming, snorkeling, and wildlife watching. Basking monk seals and sea turtles are frequently sighted on this beach.
To the north, Hanalei Bay is a long crescent of sand bordered by mountains. Gentle conditions make this a prime spot for swimming and paddle boarding. Meanwhile, a short drive north of the bay brings you to the tidal pool formed by lava rocks known as the Queen’s Bath.
Kee Beach was used as a movie location in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. The presence of a reef results in calm waters and phenomenal snorkeling opportunities. On land, it is not unusual to spot the occasional chicken roaming the shoreline!
Kokeʻe State Park
Spread across 4,345 acres, the Kokeʻe State Park offers 45 miles of hiking trails. These take you deep into the vegetation past cascading waterfalls to such clifftop viewpoints as the Kalalau Lookout. Hiking routes cater to all abilities and interests, ranging from the pleasant Waimea Canyon lookout (0.2 miles) and the Pihea Trail (2.1 miles) to the more challenging Nualolo Trail (3.8 miles).
Native birds including ʻapapane, ‘iwi, and moa dwell within the forest, while wildflowers sprout out from the bases of eucalyptus, ginger, and Koa trees.
Waimea Canyon State Park
Waimea Canyon State Park overlooks the colorful gorge of Waimea Canyon – or the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”. A scenic tourist drive within the park limits enables you to explore the surroundings and take in the views while trails are available for advanced hikers.
Na 'Aina Kai Botanical Gardens & Sculpture Park
Situated east of Princeville in the north of the island, the Na 'Aina Kai Botanical Gardens & Sculpture Park is a 240-acre plot of trees, plants, flowers, meadows, and water features. The complex is peppered with around 200 bronze sculptures and is the ideal destination for families with young children.
This tranquil 20-mile-long waterway skirts through jungle landscapes past the ʻŌpaekaʻa Falls and Wailua Falls. Boat tours run on the Wailua River while kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding are popular ways of connecting with the scenery that includes the Fern Grotto.
Nā Pali Coast State Wilderness Park
Those hungry for a challenge can explore the Nā Pali Coast State Wilderness Park where coastal cliffs tower to a height of 4,000 feet above sea level. Hiking trails such as the 11-mile Kalalau Trail are demanding but the payoff of pristine, barely-touched beaches is a great incentive.
Alternatively, you can take in the scenery from the sky with a helicopter tour or from the coastline via boat. Blue Hawaiian provides helicopter excursions while Blue Ocean Adventure Tours operates cruises via zodiac or catamaran.
Contact me when you are ready to book your dream trip to Kauai.
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