Hawai‘i is well-known for its beautiful environment, and Kaua‘i might be the most splendid place of all. There more to see than you could possibly enjoy in one trip to the area. To help you find some of the highlights, we’ve created this list of the top five Kaua‘i Sightseeing hotspots—enjoy!
Coined by Mark Twain as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” Waimea Canyon is a must-see for your list of Kaua’i sights to check out. Formed over millions of years by the Waimea River, Waimea Canyon, which is two miles wide, ten miles long, and 3,600 feet deep, exhibits striking multi-colored layers of volcanic geology that begs to be photographed. Within the canyon resides myriad species of flora and fauna, including some of Hawai‘i’s rarest endemic birds. Waimea Canyon can be viewed from the road that traces its western rim or you can spend the day hiking the canyon’s flanks and depths.
Nā Pali Coast
No trip to Kaua‘i is complete without a visit to the breathtaking Nā Pali Coast. Spanning more than twelve miles of Kaua‘i’s north shore, the sheer, fluted cliffs of Nā Pali rise from the sea to a towering 4,000 feet. The Nā Pali Coast is home to the famous Kalalau Trail, a grueling 11-mile multi-day hike across the seaward flanks of Nā Pali to remote Kalalau Beach. The most popular ways to view the Nā Pali Coast are by helicopter or boat; you can also visit Ke‘e State Beach Park at the end of Highway 560 for an excellent view of the Nā Pali Coast, one of the top Kaua’i sights.
Also known as Lāwaʻikai, Allerton Garden is one of the five Hawaiian Island gardens that comprise the National Tropical Botanical Garden. Created in 1938 by the father and son team of Robert and John Allerton, Allerton Garden is also the site of Queen Emma of Hawai‘i’s summer home. This majestic 80-acre garden boasts garden rooms, fountains, pools, miniature waterfalls, statuary and botanical surprises at every turn. Allerton Gardens, one of the top sights to see in Kaua’i, is famed for being one of the film sites for Jurrasic Park. You’ll recognize the giant roots of the Ficus microcarpa grove from the scene where Alan and Ellie come across the nest of velociraptor eggs.
The historic Kilohana Plantation in Līhue was established in 1935 by Gaylord Parke Wilcox; Wilcox erected a 16,000-square-foot Tudor-style mansion in the center of the plantation that served as the family household for generations. The home is now a museum and open to the public, making it one of the top sights to see in Kaua’i. On the Kilohana Plantation grounds you will also find Gaylordʻs Restaurant, the Mahikō Lounge, the historic Kauaʻi Plantation Railway, Kōloa Rum Company, Lūʻau Kalamaku, and the Shops at Kilohana, which boast galleries, shops, boutiques, and a day spa.
Limahuli Garden and Preserve
Nestled in the Lawaʻi Valley on Kauaʻi’s north shore is the lush tropical jewel of Limahuli Garden and Preserve. Spanning 1,000 acres and three ecological zones, Limahuli Garden was voted “Best Natural Botanical Garden” by the American Horticultural Society in 1997. The garden showcases endemic Hawaiian species, “canoe plants” introduced by early Polynesian voyagers, and culturally important plants introduced during the planation era.