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 Islands Information

Kauai Sights and Activities
by Judy Hardaway

Kauai is the oldest and most northern of the Hawaiian Island chain. Its lush tropical beauty has earned it the nickname the “Garden Island.” From the air it looks like an emerald cone rising out of the ocean. This thirty-three by twenty-five mile island is covered with acres of lush rain forests, waterfalls, and breathtaking gardens. Here are only a few of the hundreds of sights and activities you will have to choose from while you are on the island. This is only a tiny taste of what Kauai has to offer. On the northern end of Kauai is Kilauea Lighthouse, which was built in 1913 and was in use until 1976. It is a picturesque landmark perched on a bluff. Well worth a visit. Visitors may not climb the lighthouse, but self-guided tours of the area are available. Adjacent to the lighthouse is the 200-acre Kilauea Point Wildlife Refuge on Moku’ae’ae Island. A must visit for bird lovers.

Would you like to see the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”? Or so nicknamed by Mark Twain. Then you must see the spectacular Waimea Canyon. It is the largest canyon in the Pacific at ten miles long, two miles wide and 35 hundred feet deep. The canyon is marked with layers, each layer marking an eruption and lava flow. There are several vantage points from which to enjoy the canyon, but the one you must not miss is the Waimea Canyon Lookout.

Po’ipu Beach Park is the perfect place for family fun. It is Kauai’s most popular beach for swimming, snorkeling, boogie boarding, picnicking and having just plain fun. It has restrooms, showers, shady areas and lifeguards. Po’ipu has it all.

If you want to see lush native flora and fauna as well as exotic plants, then you will not want to miss Smith’s Tropical Paradise located just 15 miles from the Radisson Kauai Beach Resort along the Waimea River. On this 30-acre complex, not only will you see beautiful manicured grounds, but you will also have the opportunity to see villages of the many cultures that represent Kauai. Tram tours are available as well as weekly luaus.

The spectacular Na Pali Coast is an awe-inspiring sight to see. Towers of rock climb from the sea and lush vegetation devours the landscape. There are only three ways to witness its beauty: from the air, by sea, or by walking a very strenuous trail known as the Kalalau Trail hike. This hike is only for the adventuresome and should only be attempted by the serious hiker. If hiking isn’t for you, you can still enjoy the thrill of its beauty with one of the ocean tours or helicopter tours. If you want to see breathtaking beauty that is like something from another world, you won’t be disappointed.


Judy Hardaway is a contributing writer for Kauai Vacation Secrets, a completely free, in-depth Kauai travel guide. The site provides many useful and practical tips such as where to save money on gas in Kauai, the best time of year to visit Kauai, what you need to know about theweather in Kauai and much more.