Kaua‘i is an island of extremes. Rugged peaks, sharp valleys, thundering winter waves, and deep tropical forests shrouded in the mist from a thousand cascading waterfalls all instill a sense of awe in its visitors. Living in Princeville, we are often asked where the best views are. Our reply is simple: with so many Kauai sites and attractions to choose from, the best ones are the ones right in front of you.
Hanalei and Away
Just outside of Princeville, not even 5 minutes from your vacation home, is the Hanalei Lookout. This turnoff from the main road is easy to drive past, but is not to be missed. From it you can glimpse old Kaua‘i in the emerald patchwork of taro fields that unfurls before you, glittering in the sun as the Hanalei river snakes beneath the stoic mountains in the background. Past Hanalei is perhaps one of the most stunning views in the entire world: the jagged and dizzying Na Pali Coast. These massive, razor sharp ridges appear like the talons of a mythical beast, gripping the scenic northern coastline in their bejeweled clutches. Beginning at “The End of the Road” at Ha`ena State Park, the Kalalau Trail undulates across these ridges, spanning 5 valleys on its way to a hidden beach some 11 miles distant. For a quick peek, however, you can get amazing 180-degree views of the cliffs and the coast from the trailhead, or by hiking the first ridge or two. Intrepid explorers can make the 2-mile hike to the quaint and secluded beach of Hanakapi`ai relatively easily, but continuing any further is for advanced hikers (with permits) only.
For more sweeping vistas of the northern coast, head to Kilauea Lighthouse, one of the more popular Kauai sites and attractions on the island’s northernmost point. Perched on a plateau 500 feet above the rocky shore below, the views are incredible and you might even get to make friends with a Hawaiian Goose (the nene, an endangered local species). You can also visit the western-most bookstore in the United States in Hanapēpē (Hawai‘i’s “biggest little town”) or drive to the Waimea Canyon Lookout where you can marvel at the deep gash in Kaua‘i’s mountainous spine, hollowed out by the Waimea River nearly 3,000 feet below. This 10-mile canyon is ribboned in greens and reds and is sure to take your breath away.
There are too many Kauai free things to do to list here, but suffice it to say Kaua‘i does not disappoint when it comes to rugged scenery and natural beauty. Depending on your hiking abilities you can get unique views of the Na Pali Coast from the Awa`awapuhi and Kalalau Valley Lookout Trails, do your sightseeing by car with short walking excursions, or you can simply kick your feet up on the terrace at the St. Regis Hotel in Princeville, home to delightful cocktails almost as delicious as the magical sunsets that are included with no extra charge. So next time you visit, whether you find a private beach or just relax on your own lanai at Princeville Vacation Rentals, just be sure to enjoy the amazing view that’s right in front of you.