Kauai offers beautiful vistas no matter where you are on the island, but it’s the road not taken that can open you up to views, conversations and experiences seldom enjoyed by the casual traveler. There are hidden gems to be discovered on the North Shore, East Side, South Shore and Kauai’s West side on your Kauai day trip.
Wondering when is the best time to visit Kauai? The annual rainfall varies from each corner of Kauai. We go from over 70mm on the North Shore to 20mm on the westside, with one of the wettest places in the world on Mt. Waialeale clocking in at 460mm per year. The diversity is incredible and you’ll see for yourself during your Kauai vacation. Kauai is an all-year destination with a busy summer season from mid-December through March with the driest weather. So what are you waiting for? Book with the Kauai Tour Guy today and discover for yourself what this stunningly varied Hawaiian gem has to offer.
Day trips on Kauai can be as easy as heading to the highway and turning right or left and just driving until you can’t drive any further. But if you really want to learn about our beautiful Island, then come along with me as we explore Kauai together. To this day, I still learn something new each time I go out and I get to see people’s reaction to Kauai’s natural beauty; that’s my joy! Let me show and share Kauai with you and leave the driving to me! Visit the Emerald Isle of the Pacific (the name I use to call Kauai.)
Kauai North Shore
The North Shore is what people traditionally think of as Hawaii and where a lot of pictures that entice people to visit our beautiful islands come from. Imagine shady palm trees on Kauai’s beautiful beaches to lush green-covered mountains soaring up 5,000 ft. behind you. In Hanalei, the waterfalls seen from the highway are a true marvel. The taro fields used for the making of poi, a Hawaiian staple for centuries, are a dominant feature as you enter Hanalei Valley. I first fell in love with Kauai when I saw Hanalei Valley for the first time. I imagined that this was what Bali looked like! (a bucket list destination for me).
Kilauea Point National Park
After leaving Hanalei, the next must-see is the Kilauea Point National Park and the bird and wildlife refuge. Closed on Sundays and Mondays, this beautiful historic lighthouse will excite lighthouse enthusiasts and anyone else wanting to see rare Pacific birds and stunning views of the entire North Shore. Then, heading south from Kilauea, we’ll arrive at Anahola and the mountain used for the opening scenes of King Kong with Jessica Lange. Locally known as “Kong“, the mountain has been greeting the morning sunrise since its formation millions of years ago.
As your Kauai day trip progresses, you’ll transition from the wetter North Shore to an area with less annual rainfall (40mm) on the East Side. Kapaa is the hub of the East Side and is Kauai’s largest town. The Sleeping Giant is the dominant feature here as he reposes in sleep only to awaken to defend Kauai when threatened, according to legend.
Opaeka’a Falls, Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees, Wailua River State Park, and Lydgate Park are just a few of the things you’ll want to include on any sightseeing day trips on Kauai. Past the Wailua Golf Course into Lihue, the county seat of Kauai, lies the airport and commerce centers as well as some gorgeous views. With luck you can see into the slopes of the crater of Mount Waialeale, where the water falls 3000 feet!
Kauai’s South Shore
Heading west to the South Shore and Poipu, you need to take a diversion to see the Menehune Fishponds and stunning views of the Kipu Valley made famous by Stephen Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. Back to the highway on to the South Shore, you should go through the bucolic “Tunnel Of Trees” and then on to the resort area of Poipu. Spouting Horn is the attraction here on your sightseeing trip of Kauai as well as some nice resorts and hotels as well as deep blue water like nowhere else. Koloa is a small historic town with gigantic monkeypod trees, shading some of the first streets on Kauai. Stores line the streets looking much like they did back in the sugar plantation days of Kauai.
Kalaheo and the west side
On to the Westside we go through Kalaheo and pass the largest coffee plantation in the United States. Kauai Coffee Plantation offers walk through self guided tours of their coffee trees and explain the process of producing and brewing coffee for you and the world. The ocean opens up to us as we head down the hill to Port allen and Eleele. Port Allen is where all the boat rides leave to do the Na Pali Coast excursions. The Na Pali Coast is only accessible by boat, helicopter/air or very dangerous trails. We pass Port Allen and head into Hanapepe which remains much the way it did in plantation days and has been used as a backdrop in time period movies of historic Hawaii. Salt Pond Beach Park is a great place to check in for a swim or just stop to eat lunch as you explore Kauai on your day trip.
On to Waimea town, the gateway to Waimea Canyon State Park and Kokee State Park. Heading up to the canyon, you will notice as you stop along the way it is getting cooler. Entering a pine and koa (a local hardwood highly prized for its dark wood) forest, you enter the state park’s long, winding roads that dip in places like a roller coaster and afford some of the best sightseeing on Kauai. The Waimea Canyon does not disappoint as you stop at some of the turnouts. You will immediately get at first glimpse why it is known as “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific”. There are several designated lookouts – perfect for some photo opportunities. Some are better than others and that is another reason to have someone with you who knows where are the best sightseeing points. Sometimes people just stop because there are a bunch of cars but don’t be fooled, some afford a better view than others for one reason or another. After the canyon views, head to the Kalalau Lookout which is one of my favs and then to Pihea Lookout as the end of any sightseeing tour by car on Kauai. Turn around once you’ve taken in the gorgeous vistas of ocean meeting sky above the Na Pali Coast and head back down to Waimea and lunch, or shopping or beaches or coffee or……
On your trip to Kauai, take time to smell the ginger in Waimea Canyon, get a locally grown brewed coffee, or just find a beach! But first, you have to see what Kauai has to offer you.
Choose the Kauai Tour Guy to show you all that this beautiful island has to offer. He’s a local tour guide expert, a fountain of knowledge and really good fun! You won’t be disappointed. Contact us today.