The fourth largest and northernmost of Hawaii’s islands, Kauaʻi is known for its lush rainforests and rugged coastline, earning it the nickname “The Garden Island.”
Follow the eastern coastline to Wailua. Located along the shores of the state’s only navigable river, the town is a hub for outdoor activities. Take a boat tour along the tributary to explore Fern Grotto, then on the drive back to town, pull over to admire Wailua Falls, a towering triple waterfall.
Hawaii’s northernmost point, Kīlauea, is known for its dramatic, rugged setting. Take in the views at Kīlauea Point. Once a volcanic vent, this National Wildlife Refuge is an ideal place to glimpse some of the state’s rarest bird species, which nest around Kīlauea Point Lighthouse.
The sleepy oceanfront village of Hanalei is just 8 miles (13 kilometers) west of Kīlauea. Surf and snorkel in Hanalei Bay or hike the Kalalau Trail for unparalleled views of the coastline. Watch the sun set over Hanalei Pier, immortalized in the classic film South Pacific.
Head southwest to explore the rugged cliffs and breathtaking scenery along the Na Pali Coast. This 15-mile (24-kilometer) stretch of coastal wilderness is accessible only on foot, boat or helicopter, but is an unforgettable experience.
Waimea is located on the western coast of Kauaʻi. This relaxed beach town is just 13 miles (20 kilometers) from Waimea Canyon, often called “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific.”
Poipu and Kōloa are two of the island’s southernmost towns. Often considered to be a single municipality, these old-fashioned villages feel like they belong in a bygone era. Stay at one of the oceanfront resorts and wake up to views of the Pacific each morning.
Kauaʻi’s Lihue Airport offers direct routes to the USA and Canada, and is connected to most major destinations throughout Hawaii. With only two main highways, one of which partly circles the island, Kauaʻi is easy to navigate. Car rental is highly recommended. The island operates a bus service, however only carry-on luggage is permitted and stops are limited.