This little island is packed with dramatic scenery. We explored it for three days.
When we first landed, we rented a car in Lihue and traveled to Ho’opi’i Falls. Parking was a bit of a hassle so it’s best to go early, but either way, it’s very enjoyable once on the hike. It took a couple of hours there and back.
From there we made another short stop at Wailua Falls.
In the evening, we went to the Ninini Point Lighthouse to shoot some planes as they were landing at the Kauai airport.
The next day we went to the Nā Pali Coast at the Kalalau Trail Trailhead. In order to do this hike, you have to get a reservation beforehand on the Kauai State website, which also gets you a parking spot at the trailhead. It’s a hot and muddy hike so we decided to only go as far as the closest beach, Hanakāpī‘Ai Beach. You can, however, hike all 11 miles to Kalalau Beach, camp, and return the next day if you get a camping permit. We were happy to have our drone here to capture the dramatic coastline (which is only visible from far away).
We stopped at a beach on the way back towards Lihue to catch the sunset.
The next day was Waimea Canyon State Park. Having Hawaiian resident friends also helps with free parking. Every few miles up the road there’s a lookout, a waterfall, or some attraction worth seeing.
Our last evening in Kauai we took a Nā Pali Coast boat tour. They serve dinner and drinks but you’re going so fast and the ride is so choppy that it’s definitely not a relaxation tour. The goal is to get out there as fast as possible so you can have views of the dramatic coastline before being back to harbor by sunset.
Kauai is the quintessential Hawaiian island (Jurassic Park) that shouldn’t be missed!