Attractions in Kauai
Known as the Garden Isle, Kauai has plenty to offer, and there are spectacular Kauai attractions both along the coast with its idyllic beaches and in the island’s beautiful interior, home to magnificent Waimea Canyon. Things to see in Kauai are not limited to the dramatic scenery for which the island is renowned. There are attractions in Kauai for those interested in history, such as the charming Old Koloa Town on the south shore. This is the oldest town on the island and has preserved some of the oldest buildings in all of Hawaii. In the same area, you can tour the historic Kauai Coffee Company and its surrounding plantation. Begun as a cane plantation and sugar company in the eighteenth-century, it is now the largest coffee producer in the United States. At the lookout point over the Alekoko Fishponds, you can learn the legend of the Menehune, leprechaun-like little people who supposedly built the ponds overnight more than 1,000 years ago. Other Kauai tourist attractions relating to the island’s history include the elegant Hanalei Church and the Kauai Lighthouse on Kilauea Point, both on the north shore. The church dates to 1834, and the historic lighthouse was built in 1913.
Sometimes Kauai attractions are actually events, many of which revolve around ancient Hawaiian traditions such as the hula or luau. Many of the Kauai resorts and luxury hotels regularly put on an elaborate luau, and they often involve traditional music and dance. Dining is important to Hawaiians and visitors alike, and two major events that are also Kauai tourist attractions are the June Taste of Hawaii brunch in Wailua Bay and the Memorial Day Weekend Kauai Polynesian Festival held in Lihue and other venues throughout the island.
Undoubtedly, the biggest Kauai tourist attractions are the natural wonders of this exceedingly beautiful island. These are the attractions in Kauai that most visitors come to see and experience, and they are beloved and zealously protected by the residents. You can’t really go anywhere on the island without coming across pristine and idyllic Kauai beaches. There are many of them, and the majority are very accessible. As you take your rental car on the main highway that loops most of the way around the island, you will find numerous public beaches that require little more to visit than pulling off the road. Popular beaches on the south shore include Salt Pond Beach, still used by locals to manufacture salt and excellent for windsurfing, Poipu Beach, and Shipwreck Beach, which has great cliff hiking. You’ll find fifteen miles of almost unbroken beaches along the west coast and numerous beaches on the east coast near Lihue and Kalapaki. The most popular resort beaches are on the north shore, and they include Kee Beach, Hanalei Beach, and Secret Beach near Princeville.
The rugged Na Pali Coast and Kokee State Park take up about one-quarter of the entire island on the northwest coast and deep into the interior. These are the dramatic Kauai attractions that make the island famous. A great deal of this area is inaccessible except for hiking, helicopter tours, and ocean kayaking or coastal excursions on zodiac boat tours. Some extremely secluded beaches are here, including Honopu Beach, where Jessica Lange eluded the giant gorilla in the remake of King Kong, and the sea caves and beaches at the end of the Kalalau Valley, which opens into Hanea State Park on Wainiha Bay. The remote attractions in Kauai found in this part of the island also include breathtaking Waimea Canyon, called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific and one of the island’s pristine wildlife refuges.