Walk along the beaches to see if a Monk Seal has come up to rest. Please respect these animals because they are endangered. They will be roped off by wonderful dedicated volunteers on the island. The seals come up to sleep on the beach after they have eaten because they slow down so much that a shark could attack them. They sleep on the beach and then go back in. One of my favorite animals on the island
I highly recommend going for a helicopter tour of the island. A lot of Kauai is inaccessible to cars so we chose to take a helicopter tour. The island is really beautiful.
We rode with the door off which was great because our pictures and view were unobstructed.
However I would not ride with our tour company again. The pilot was very racist, and he ruined our flight. We rode with Inter-Island Helicopters.
There are several companies and locations to try surfing on Kauai. We asked around a little and decided that the north shore, at Hanalei, would be the best place to try. The beach at Poipu on the other end of the island isn't as big and the surf area for beginners didn't look as good.
Our recommendation was for an operation set up right by the beach at Hanalei, where the river meets the beach. They were extremely friendly and accomodating. While our teenager went surfing we used a kayak and went up the river. The Hanalei surf at this location seemed good for beginners, with long, fairly even waves. They surf close to the pier, so if you want to watch, you can go out and get a better view. I think this is great if you are sending your kids out.
Makewehi Lithified Cliffs
Ninini Point Lighthouse
Pu'u o Kila Lookout
Kauai Coffee Company
King Kong Profile
One of the beautiful experiences of Hawaii is the music. Island music is quite varied, with contemporary music that integrates traditional sounds and themes with music from the mainland and around the world. But on Kauai you have a great opportunity to hear weekly concerts of traditional slack key guitar by Doug & Sandy McMaster, who won the 2009 The Hawaii Music Awards "People's Choice Awards" in the Slack Key Category. They have two concerts each week, on Wednesday evening and Sunday afternoon. Each is slightly different, but both are purely the instrumental musical artform created by Hawaiian paniolo (cowboys) in the early 1800's.
The concerts take place in a relaxed atmosphere in Hanalei on the north shore of Kauai, with the backdrop of the green mountains and taro fields, and the sand of Hanalei Bay just a short distance away. It is worth a destination wherever you are staying on the island.
WINNER 2009 Hawaii Music Awards "The People's Choice"!
Moloa'a Bay is a beautiful, gentle surf bay on the NW corner of Kauai. The bay is absolutely beautiful and is far from crowded. This is a locals beach! We visited this bay around 3:30-4:00 PM on a weekday afternoon, and there were only 4 other people there besides us. The surf is really gentle and offers great swimming--especially on the far right hand side of the bay. My 2 1/2 year old had no problems holding his own in the water.
For a picture perfect view, there is no better place to stop than near Kilauea Lighthouse. This is the northernmost point of the main Hawaiian Islands, and the lighthouse here for years had the largest clamshell lens in existence (it was replaced in the 1970s with a beacon). From the point where this photo was taken you will notice a lot of birds darting around the sky near you. This area is a bird sanctuary, and there is a placard that illustrates and describes the birds you will likely see.
To actually reach the lighthouse there is a nominal fee. There is a parking lot, however, at this point, for visitors who just want to take in the view and do some birdwatching.
Far from being one of Kauai's prettiest beaches, Glass Beach is unique and popular with a lot of people. What makes it special is that mixed in with the sand is a lot of small pieces of water worn broken glass of different colors. These colorful pieces are here because the local dump was located nearby for many years, and as the broken bottles and auto glass fell into the ocean over the years, they were worn down, smoothed out and washed up on the beach. So if you don't mind the backdrop of the industrial area behind it, you can go here for a different kind of beachcombing.
In my other tips you'll see an interesting shoreline walk from the beach to the east, and an old cemetery to explore too.
For an off the beaten path experience on Kauai, check out the interesting rock formations along the shore just east of the town of Hanapepe. The area is easy to reach, and while the approach isn't very pretty - it goes through the industrial area - the walking is pretty cool. You can park at the lot in front of Glass Beach and walk up the trail, past the cemetery, and find in front of you the weirdly eroded lava shoreline. The rugged shore looked to dangerous for us to go down to, but the trail from above gave a lot of good views of the crashing waves and rocky formations that included holes and a lava bridges. All along the black rock, rushing waves and water spray made this an interesting walk. We didn't encounter another person along the way.
For a diversion into some rather obscure history of the Hawaiian Islands, you might want to make a stop at Fort Elizabeth, located right off the highway on the way to Waimea. The history is odd and interesting, about a German working for Russian company back in the early 1800s who pretty much decided to build a fort and meddle himself in international affairs. His big ego did him more harm than good, and he was run off the island and fled to Brazil. You can read about the details of this strange story, which I've only skimmed over, at the site. The ruins actually aren't all that impressive; they are largely overgrown with plants. But you can walk around it and see what the design was like - the classic star fort design of the times.
Without looking for them or even intending to explore them, we came across two old cemeteries on Kauai. If you are one of those people who like visiting old cemeteries for the historical and cultural perspective they provide for a place, then I'd recommend you see these.
The first one we saw is located just to the east of Glass Beach at Hanapepe. Largely overgrown with foliage, the grounds have a wonderful view of the ocean and south Kauai shore. The cemetery sprawls out to the east from above the beach, and includes a large Japanese area as well as what looked like a lot of Portuguese names.
The second one we saw is a Japanese cemetery located on the north side of the Wailua River, reached from a short path from a parking lot at the park for the heiaus located there. It's up some steps, and has a view of the valley below.
Kauai has some wonderful archaeological that are easy to visit and that give a glimpse into ancient culture of the islands. Several temples - called heiau - which are stone walled ruins, give testimony to the many generations that lived here before written history. The best collection of these sites is clustered near the mouth of the river near Wailua. It takes no effort to visit them, as most are located right off the main highway. This cluster includes sacred sites also includes a bellstone and some petroglyphs on some shoreline boulders.
The ruins of what is believed to have been a Place of Refuge for ancient Hawaiians is located in Lydgate Park. Another interesting site is Poli'ahu, a large war temple that is more than an acre in size. This and other sites in the area have interpretive signs that tell about the heiau and the archeology of the area's sites.
With so much of the island given to tourism and contemporary development, it feels good to spend a little time at these sites and reflect on the many generations that lived here before modern times. While the ancient people didn't leave written history or many artifacts, these ruins are a noble display of their times.
There is an unusual sight in Kapaa Beach Park: an old Japanese Lantern Statue that had been buried for decades before being restored and put back up last year. The statue was built back in 1915 by Kauai's Japanese community to commemorate the Russo-Japanese War of 1905 and to honor Emperor Taisho's ascension to the throne. Due to anti-Japanese sentiment during the World War Two years, however, the statue was buried in the ground. It was unearthed a few decades later, but not until 2008 did restoration plans and volunteer efforts finally get it back up in its place. Now you can easily see it from the highway as you go through town, or stop and take a closer look at it by parking and walking in the park.
It is very easy to stop by Koloa on your way to Poipu or Waimea Canyon. It is a charming little town with important Hawaiian history that is worth a visit. It was the first sugar plantation town in all Hawaii, and the small, free historical displays in the Koloa History Center give a good impression of life during the plantation years. Many of the town's storefronts have been restored to look like they did in the late 1800s. While now the shops sell tourist items, surf goods and food like in other island shopping areas, the feel here is unique. There are also some of Kauai's oldest churches in this town, an interesting old Salvation Army building, and a Lappert's Ice Cream store. Koloa is a good place to stop for lunch also, with a few options available and a small grocery store.
Kauai's south shore, the sunnier side, has several fine beaches. Most are easily reached and usually have small parking lots. In Poipu itself there is Poipu Beach Park, Brennecke Beach, Sheraton Beach, Shipwreck Beach and a few others nearby. A little further to the east, and off the beaten path, are Maha'uepu beaches, three that are reached along unpaved roads past the old sugar mill. These beaches are rougher and not as safe for swimming as the ones around Poipu, but that may be the appeal.
2373 Ho'ohu Rd, Poipu, Hawaii, 96756, United States
Good for: Business
7083 Alamihi Rd., Hanalei, Hawaii, 96714, United States
Good for: Business
It was a great place, good location. However, Kauai Coast Resort business practice is desired to be...more