Explore Kauai-Hawaii's Garden Island

Douglas Pilarski

Half of Kauai's 111 Miles of Coastline are Sandy Beaches

KauaiPhoto byPascal deBrun via Unsplash

Kauai is the northernmost island in the Hawaiian chain. It is also the oldest of the islands. Sharp mountain spires, jagged cliffs, and lush green valleys mark Kauai. The elements have worn the rugged landscape over time. Kauai, Hawaii's fourth largest island, is sometimes called the Garden Island.

Getting to Kauai requires an airplane or sea-going vessel. Kauai was formed over centuries. The views while flying in are beyond your imagination. You'll wonder at twisting rivers, tropical rainforests, and spectacular waterfalls.

KauaiPhoto byPinterest

A perfect place for adventure, the island is home to various outdoor activities. Take time to explore the island or sit back and relax. Enjoying this unique setting is easy. Island time lets you be as busy as you want to be.

Kauai's regions, while giving you the feeling of isolation, offer shops, activities, and eats that are all pretty close.

If you have hiking, exploring, and outdoor sports. Kauai is your place. Getting away from your daily routine is essential. You'll find rest on the island.

KauaiPhoto byDustin Belt via Unsplash
No luxury vacation spot is complete without golf courses. The conveniences of a tropical vacation mesh perfectly with stunning views, waterfalls, bays, and canyons.

Kauai's dramatic North Shore is full of heavenly beaches, taro fields against rugged cliffs, and spectacular sea cliffs.

Begin your north shore experience on the island's northernmost point. The historic Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse is a wildlife sanctuary. The perfect spot for watching whales.

Colorful shops, galleries, and restaurants dot Hanalei Town. You will notice the long stretches of green taro growing in the fields. Kauai's best beaches include Lumahai Beach and Kee Beach, which are ideal for sunbathing. A visit to Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens is recommended.

HikingPhoto byDerew Farwell via Unsplash

Napali Coast is a 17-mile stretch of coastline. It is considered Kauai's most stunning feature. The views are magnificent. The cliffs in the area soar 3,000 ft in the air. You can't get there by car, so plan to hike or try an air or boat tour to enjoy this natural scenery.

Known for world-class hospitality and some of Kauai's premier golf courses, the upscale resort area of Princeville calls the North Shore home.

Kauai's East Side is referred to as the Royal Coconut Coast. Groves of coconut palms grow in its resort areas. The most populated district on the island, about 16,000 of the island's 71,000 residents reside in the Wailua/Kapaa area. You'll find historical places, fabulous beaches, and memorable attractions among the clusters of coconut trees.

In Wailua, you'll find various sightseeing opportunities and outdoor activities. Kayak the Wailua River in Wailua River State Park, take a boat ride to the Fern Grotto or take photos at Opaekaa Falls.

Remember to try and spot the Sleeping Giant in Nounou Mountain or hike up this scenic ridge. Sacred places like Poliahu Heiau can also be found on the East Side. And be sure to visit Kapaa Town to discover fine Hawaiian craft pieces, aloha-print shirts, jewelry, and art.

Come to Coconut Coast for the golden beaches. Take time to unwind at Lydgate Beach Park in Wailua. Two lava rock-enclosed ocean pools are perfect places for families and first-time snorkelers. Fun in the sun awaits you on the Coconut Coast.

Lihue may be the most traveled town on Kauai since it is home to the Lihue Airport and Nawiliwili Harbor, the island's major commercial shipping center and cruise ship port.

KauaiPhoto byJelle de GieronUnsplash

Lihue has a variety of natural wonders to explore. Kalapaki Beach is tops if you are looking for a round of golf. Ninini Beach is home to a lighthouse that has been operating continuously since 1897. Stop at Wailua Falls lookout for a fantastic waterfall view.

Lihue is your gateway to adventure on Kauai. Historical spots to explore include the Alekoko Fishpond, the historic Kauai Museum, and Grove Farm Homestead Museum. Kilohana is the home of the island's most iconic luau.

Expect perfect beaches around the Poipu area. Check out Spouting Horn on the south shore. Spouts of water from this blow hole shoot up to 20 feet into the air.

WaterfallPhoto byJimmy ConoveronUnsplash

Visit Makahuena Point and stroll the boutique-lined streets. Pacific Rim cuisine awaits you at ocean-side restaurants. Explore Old Koloa Town, Kalaheo, Lawai, and Omao.

The west side is an hour's drive from Lihue. Kauai's West Side feels like it's a world away. The island's laid-back atmosphere and rich culture are found in its small towns, making it timeless.

Funky small towns offer natural wonders and historic sites. You will be rewarded with views of Kauai the locals see.

The breathtaking Waimea Canyon is called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Hiking trails and scenic overlooks offer sweeping views of rugged crags and plunging valleys dipping more than 3,600 feet into the earth. There's nothing else in Hawaii quite like it.

BeachPhoto byDaniel SalciusonUnsplash

The South Beaches are popular with visitors and locals alike. You'll find fabulous surfing, fishing, snorkeling, and bodyboarding opportunities here.

Thrill to beaches with crystal-clear waters and occasional Hawaiian monk seal appearances.

Depending on the season, you'll spot humpback whales off in the distance. The south beaches are perfect for bodyboarding, surfing, and snorkeling.

Kauai has 111 miles of coastline, with roughly half being sandy beaches. White sand against soaring mountain peaks makes for unforgettable scenery.

Hanalei Pavilion is perfect for long walks by the water, sandcastle building, and relaxing on the sand. The beach is located just before Black Pot Beach on Weke Road. Make sure to bring a beach umbrella for shade.

Located a half-mile north of Hanalei Pavilion, the pier was originally built in 1892. Now it marks one of the most popular beaches on Kauai. The protected bay makes this an excellent place for the whole family to swim, surf, and bodyboard.

Pine Trees Beach is dedicated to surfing and bodyboarding. Trees provide plenty of shade, and two permanent volleyball courts are near the lifeguard station.

Anini Beach Park is famous for windsurfing and snorkeling. The water is shallow, so it's perfect for playing in the water. Look out for the strong current near the boat ramp. The jungle meets the ocean at this gorgeous strip of sand on Maniniholo Bay. The strong waves make this beach less ideal for swimming and surfing, but it's undoubtedly a beautiful place to spend the day.

The Napali Coast stretches 17 miles along the coast and has extraordinary natural beauty. Emerald-hued cliffs with razor-sharp ridges and cliffs tower above the Pacific Ocean. Beautiful beaches are punctuated by waterfalls that fall into the valley.

The island's rugged terrain has mostly stayed the same over the centuries. It looks similar to when settlements flourished in the valleys. Settlers existed on the food they could grow and, of course, on the oceans' bounty. Of the many ways to explore the Napali Coast, the safest access and best views are found by sea or air.

Surf's UpPhoto bytatonomusiconUnsplash

Helicopter Rides and Tours are undoubtedly the most memorable and exciting experiences regardless of where you are in the US. You get the sensation of reaching out and touching whatever you're flying over. There is nothing like it. A helicopter tour is the only way to fly.

Experiencing Kauai by horseback is a laid-back way to reconnect with nature and yourself—the perfect way to learn about and experience the pristine, lush beauty of the Garden Isle.

You can get Kauai Shrimp fresh all the time. It's so sweet that it reminds you of Maine Lobster. The shrimp is best when served whole. The head juices make for a richer flavor that brings out the sweetness in the tail meat. Just snap off the head, slurp the insides, and peel the rest of the tail.

Poke is a Hawaii staple. Locals always order their poke with rice. Hot rice helps balance the cold fish's flavors and makes it a fabulous meal. Count on your poke dish to be fresh!

Hanalei is where most of the taro in the state is grown. Hanalei Poi is thick and perfectly balances almost every spicy and salty dish. Add sugar and condensed milk to enjoy this dish for dessert.

Taro chips are Kauai's version of potato chips. They are made just like potato chips and are thin, crispy, and taste amazing when fresh.

Plate lunches, like beaches and palm trees, are part of Hawaii life—the perfect way to start the weekend Kauai style. Grab your sliced peppered steak and head to the beach. Remember, Friday is for the steak plate. BBQ at the beach is for the weekends

Kauai is loaded with places to dine. Don't worry; you can fulfill any craving, so enjoy your food tour of Kauai.

Poipu offers a one-of-a-kind vacation with the most beautiful landscapes, providing the most relaxing and romantic time with your family and friends. Plan your Kauai getaway today.

Kauai is waiting for you.


Douglas Pilarski is an award-winning Writer & Journalist based on the west coast. He writes about luxury goods, exotic cars, horology, tech, food, lifestyle, millionaire travel, and the workplace. He is a regular contributor to Newsbreak.com and Medium.com.

You’re welcome to share your thoughts or tell me your story. Email me here. dp1@sawyertms.com

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Douglas Pilarski is an award-winning writer & journalist based on the west coast. He writes about luxury goods, exotic cars, horology, tech, food, lifestyle, equestrian and rodeo, and millionaire travel. He is a regular contributor to Newsbreak.com and Medium.com.

Beaverton, OR

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