Popularly referred to as Hawaii’s Island of Discovery and the ”Garden Island,” Kauai’s landscape is primarily covered in tropical rainforest, making it the perfect destination for lovers of nature, outdoor adventures, and Polynesian culture. At 5.8 million years old, Kauai is Hawaii’s oldest major island and features miles of scenic beaches and lush mountains, waterfalls, and rivers. Whether you’re visiting Kauai for the first time or making a return visit, here are three spots to add to your Kauai itinerary.
Go snorkeling off Na Pali Coast.
In addition to one of the oldest and most protected reef ecosystems in Hawaii, Kauai features some of the most beautiful sea cliffs and sea caves in the world—so don’t miss your chance to see them from the water. Snorkeling in Kauai is a fun, easy, and safe way to explore the diverse sea life found in Kauai’s coral reefs. Some of Kauai’s best snorkeling spots can be found on the remote Na Pali Coast, which is only accessible by boat.
With schools of vibrant tropical fish, Hawaiian green sea turtles, and algae growing on the coral reefs, snorkeling in the Na Pali Coast is a one-of-a-kind experience. During the winter months, you might even catch a glimpse of Hawaii’s winter visitors, the humpback whales. With steps leading into the water, all gear included, and a friendly crew, Capt. Andy’s Kauai snorkeling tours are ideal for the entire family.
Drive along Kauai’s North Shore.
No Kauai vacation would be complete without a scenic drive along the North Shore. Travel guides differ about where the shore begins—while some insist that anything north of Kapaa is a part of the North Shore, others maintain that it begins in Anahola and others say it begins in Kilauea.
If you’re renting a car, you can reach Kauai’s North Shore by heading north on Highway 56 from Lihue until you pass the Wailua River. A trip down the Wailua River is a picturesque two-hour adventure for first-time visitors, and many tourists embark on Kauai sea tours during their visit.
When heading to North Shore, take a left off Highway 56 onto Kuamo’o Road at the old Coco Palms Resort. Up the road, you can visit Opaekaa Falls and the breathtaking overlook of the Wailua River Valley. From the valley, double back on Highway 56 and head to Kauai’s North Shore.
Visit the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge.
As a sugar plantation town in the 1880s, Kilauea once housed the workers of the Kilauea Sugar Company. With plantation workers from China, Japan, and the Philippines, Kilauea remains a unique melting pot of cultures today.
The Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge is on a peninsula bluff and features dramatic panoramic ocean views. The Lighthouse, a historic landmark at the center of the Wildlife Refuge, sits on the northernmost spot in all of the Hawaiian Islands.
As part of the Wildlife Refuge, the Lighthouse features an abundance of native seabirds and species of exotic fish, including albatross, boobies, and nene geese. Binoculars are provided at the visitor center, so visits can try to spot spinner dolphins or humpback whales offshore. If you’re interested in learning more about native species and Kauai geology, consider taking a guided hike up nearby Crater Hill.Whether you’re planning to take a helicopter tour over Kauai or hike Waimea Canyon, pack your smartphone or DSLR to document Kauai’s lush rainforests and picturesque ocean views. Before embarking on your adventure, consider investing in a digital photo storage device to store your vacation photos. Innovative digital photo storage devices, like ibi, offer unlimited storage for pictures and videos, so you don’t have to worry about carrying an external hard drive or deleting family photos to free up storage space.