Kauai offers countless beautiful sights to behold for anyone touring by car. Driving around the coast of Kauai is a great way to explore some of the various landscapes and attractions that makes Kauai unique. Here are some key places to stop on your excursion around the island of Kauai.
Ke’e Beach: Starting at the northernmost part of Kauai that is reachable by car, Ke’e Beach is an ideal place to lounge in the sun or go snorkeling to admire the vibrant reef fish. Beachside stands are often set up along the road where guests can buy fresh coconuts, juices and other snacks to enjoy. This beach is quiet on early mornings and evenings, but be warned that it can get busier in the heat of the day. The parking lot here fills up fast.
Opaeka’a Falls and the Wailua River Lookout: On the Kuamo’o Road just outside of Kapa’a, travelers in Kauai can find Opaeka’a Falls surrounded by thick green foliage. With close parking access, this waterfall is easy to get to, and just across the street, there is the Wailua River Lookout and the Poli’ahu Heiau. Not only should drivers pause here to enjoy the waterfall and river views, but the historical significance of this religious site makes it a prime place to stop along your road trip.
Waimea Canyon: Driving west from Hanapepe along Highway 50 toward Waimea, you can turn down Waimea Canyon Road to find plenty of lookouts over the glorious “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” If you stopped at the Kalalau Lookout near Waimea Canyon, you’ll get a panoramic view of the red rock canyon from around 4,000 feet high. Visitors can continue driving down this road for another hour or so to arrive at the biggest coffee producer in Hawaii: Kauai Coffee Estate. The walking tours on the farm provide a great to stretch your legs and plenty of coffee sampling as you meander.
Hanalei Lookout: Princeville is one of the more popular areas in Kauai, so when you are driving along the central highway, plan to make a stop at the Hanalei Lookout. This is a gorgeous postcard-like view of the taro field landscapes in the valley of Hanalei. With the mountains in the background and taro fields in the foreground, this valley has a quaint patchwork quilt kind of quality that is well worth admiring.
Wailua Falls: The waterfalls of Hawaii are some of the most remarkable and inspiring landscapes the islands have to offer. In Kauai, Wailua Falls is located just up the Ma’alo Road, and is an easily-accessible place to reach for weary travelers who want to break up their drive with a brisk and rewarding walk. Keep your camera handy, since this place is a great photo-op.
Kilauea Lighthouse: Visitors vacationing in Kauai will want to stop in the town of Kilauea where the Kilauea Lighthouse stands sentinel on the sea cliffs. Not only are the trails around the lighthouse like a glimpse into the past, as the lighthouse was built in 1913, but there is a wildlife reserve on the nearby grounds where colonies of sea birds nest along the coastline.
Polihale State Park: On the western side of Kauai, vacationers can stop at the coastline of the Polihale State Park, which extends for miles along the water. If you bring a picnic and set up camp to watch the sun go down, you will get to enjoy a truly ethereal experience as the golden light streams over the waters on the westernmost side of the island.
Spouting Horn Beach Park: Near the resort area of Poipu, along Kauai’s southernmost shores, is the Spouting Horn Beach Park. As the waves crash against the rocks, water spews through a blow hole creating a regular geyser, accompanied by a furious hissing sound. This park also usually has shopping stands where jewelry and Hawaii-made memorabilia are available for purchase. If you are passing the park in the evening, it is a great place to watch the sunset or spot migrating whales in the winter and spring seasons.