Kauai is the oldest and northern most of the 8 main Hawaiian islands, Kaua’i is known for its vibrant rain forests, jagged awe-inspiring cliffs, pristine white sand beaches and its famous red dirt. Often referred to as the “Garden Isle,” Kaua’i leaves no shortage of epic experiences that’ll have you wishing you could stay forever. Here are 5 ways to really enjoy the natural beauty of Kauai.
1. Visit Kokee and Waimea Canyon State Parks
The parks of Kokee and Waimea Canyon are located 11 miles from the tiny sugar plantation town of Kekaha along Kokee Road. This winding narrow road slices into the valley and rises deep into the very heart of the Garden Island. The entrance to the canyon is well marked and once there visitors can enjoy views of the canyon from several vantage points. The deep gorge is a colorful display of reds, oranges and greens, along with a beautiful waterfall or two. Further along Kokee Road there is the iconic Kalalau Valley Lookout. Perched 4,000 feet above sea level it is certainly one of Hawaii’s most beautiful valley views.
2. Eat Brunch at the Makana Terrace at the St. Regis Princeville
There is nothing quite as relaxing and invigorating as breakfast at the Makana Terrace at the St. Regis in Princeville. The daily buffet breakfast is filled with delightful selection of pastries including warm sticky macadamia nut buns, apple banana bread and acai lemon yogurt muffins. There are is an omelet station as well as smoked ono and lox, jazzed up waffles and French toast. To make the experience absolutely perfect, be sure to request a table on the lanai to enjoy the fragrant breezes and the best unobstructed view of Hanalei Bay. Add a cup of fresh Kona coffee or try out the make-your-own Bloody Mary station to round out the morning!
3. Get an awesome view at Kilauea Lighthouse
Located on the northern most point in the State of Hawaii on the slopes of a dormant volcano, the Kilauea Lighthouse offers spectacular views of Kauai’s rugged northern coastline. The area is also a designated sanctuary for seabirds. The birds can be seen soaring overhead and nesting in the property, so be very careful where you step! Local tip: in the late Spring and Summer months there’s a great sunset viewing spot about 200 yards before the lighthouse. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see all the cars pulled over just before sunset.
4. Hike or Helicopter the Nā Pali Coast
Whether it is via kayak, catamaran, raft or helicopter, a visit to Kauai would never be complete without a visit to the Nā Pali Coast. One of the most beautiful coast lines in the world, Nā Pali is eleven miles of glorious green cliffs and beautiful blue ocean with sightings of dolphins, mountain goats, hidden waterfalls and caves. Helicopter tours offer fantastic and unforgettable views from the air, or you can hike the trail.
5. Try a Kauai Backcountry Adventure
A tour with Kauai Backcountry Adventures begins by boarding a four wheel vehicle cutting across former plantation fields toward the interior of the Garden Island. The destination is the old plantation ditches. Essential in transporting water to sugar cane fields, these ditches were dug by hand by immigrant workers in the mid 1800’s. Today, the ditches live as the most exciting lazy river experience on Kauai. Grab a tube and enjoy the ride through tunnels, flumes and tropical vegetation. The tour also includes a picnic lunch and swimming at a fresh water swimming hole. The experience is fun for all over 43 inches tall and is a unique combination of history, outdoor excitement and water fun.
If you’re tight on time, just hike the first ½ mile along the trail and you’ll be treated to sweeping views of the Na Pali Coast.