Kauai Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing

(Kauai, Hawaii - HI, USA)

Photo of Whale Watching boatsAlthough Kauai may be smaller and less popular than some of Hawaii's more popular islands, it has plenty of tourist attractions to fill any holiday with. These range from tropical beaches lined with coconut palms, to state parks, dolphin and whale-watching cruises, walking tours and even unforgettable helicopter flights.

Other tourist attractions around Kauai include various recreational activities, such as kayaking and also camping, while for the best hiking, the trails around the Waimea Canyon are hard to beat, offering spectacular views across the Na Pali coastline. Snorkelling and scuba diving are also major attractions in Kauai and many stretches of the ocean offer exceptional clarity, being rich in underwater life.

Picture of leaping Humpback Whale

Dolphin and Whale Watching Cruises

Address: Waialo Road, Port Allen, Eleele, Kauai, HI-96705, Hawaii HI, USA
Tel: +1 808 335 5553
A number of different dolphin cruises are available in Kauai, and these are generally based on the southern shore, around the resorts of Eleele and Poipu, and also along the Na Pali coastline. Dolphin cruises are always extremely popular with tourists and available throughout the year, while during the winter months, whale watching is also possible, since large groups of humpback whales arrive in the warm waters around the islands of Hawaii to over winter. The cruises to the Forbidden Isle of Niihau are well worth considering if you have the time, and these last around six or seven hours in total. Sunset cruises are also of note, and generally considered to be quite romantic.
Open hours: seasonal variations
Admission: charge, concessions

Helicopter tour image

Helicopter Tours

Address: 4231 Ahukini Road, Lihue, Kauai, HI-96766, Hawaii HI, USA
Tel: +1 808 245 3774 / +1 866 766 6284
The quickest and easiest way to sightsee on Kauai is to simply to a helicopter ride over the island, and whilst this is not particularly cheap, it will certainly be memorable, allowing you to view all of the main tourist attractions in under an hour. Those taking a helicopter tour should expect to see aerial views of sights along the Na Pali coast and the Waimea Canyon. In particular, look out for the Waialeale Crater and traces of ancient trails, while will be pointed out along the way during the commentary. Daily helicopter tours depart from Lihue Airport, and also the smaller airport at Princeville.
Open hours: daily - 08:00 to 21:00
Admission: charge, concessions available

Haena State Park view

Haena State Park

Address: End of Highway 56, Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii HI, HI-96714, USA
Tel: +1 808 274 3444
Lying on the northern coast and at the far end of the Highway 56, Haena State Park is easy to reach and well known for its natural sea caves, which are well worth searching out and steeped in local legend. These caves have served a number of different purposes over the years and were historically a meeting place for the various chiefs on the island. Close by, a hiking trail is available, while many tourists simply come here to soak up the sun on Kee Beach.
Open hours: daily - 24 hours
Admission: free

Kamalani Playground picture

Kamalani Playground

Address: Lydgate Lane, Kapaa, Kauai, Hawaii HI, HI-96746, USA
Tel: +1 800 464 2924
Something for the younger holiday makers, Kamalani Playground is conveniently close to the Aloha Beach Resort and is within the Coconut Coast area. Filled with all kinds of fun attractions, the Kamalani Playground really is exceptional and beautifully landscaped. Thousands of locals came together to create this wonderful space in the mid-nineties and is has remained well maintained ever since, with colourful art work, mazes, long slides and even a flavour of the orient, with the Japanese-style garden.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Walking trail image

Historic Waimea Walking Tour

Address: 9565 Kaumualii Highway, Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii HI, HI-96796, USA
Tel: +1 808 338 1332
Offering the very best way to learn about the island's interesting past, do consider joining one of the regular Historic Waimea Walking Tours, which take place each Monday and depart from the West Kauai Technology and Visitor's Center in Waimea. At you stroll along the route, the guide will explain how the island has developed over the past centuries, what it was actually like before man arrived and began colonising here, and the importance of Captain Cook's famous landing.
Open hours: Monday - seasonal variations
Admission: free

Lydgate State Park photo

Lydgate State Park

Address: Off Highway 56, Wailua, Kauai, HI-96746, Hawaii HI, USA
Tel: +1 800 464 2924
Located on the northern side of the airport and Kapaa, and off Route 56, Lydgate State Park is a popular spot on the Coconut Coast, and known for its superb snorkelling opportunities. Children will enjoy the many fun attractions within the playground area, as well as the calm waters, which are highly suitable for swimming, being protected from the strong current by large ocean boulders.
Open hours: daily - 24 hours
Admission: free

Kilauea Point Wildlife Refuge view

Kilauea Point Wildlife Refuge

Address: Kilauea Lighthouse Road, Kilauea, Kauai, HI-96754, Hawaii HI, USA
Tel: +1 808 828 1413
The Kilauea Point Wildlife Refuge lies just a matter of minutes to the north of Kilauea and one the northerly shoreline of Kauai. Tourists will find that this scenic spot is rich in native Hawaiian flora and fauna, with a wealth of sea birds being easy to spot, including albatrosses, which can regularly been seen flying around this important reserve. Binoculars are available for use, and if you are lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of a whale or two, passing beneath Lighthouse Point.
Open hours: daily - 10:00 to 16:00
Admission: free

View of Waimea Canyon vantage point

Outdoor Activities / Hiking Trails

Tourists will soon realise that the opportunities for recreational activities and outdoor attractions on Kauai are almost endless and the island is brimming with scenic trails, suitable for hiking and also at times, mountain biking. Guided hiking trails are extremely noteworthy and with experienced guides, allow you to learn a little as you walk and sightsee. For something a little more adventurous, why not try your hand at joining a kayak tour for the day and exploring the coastline of this emerald isle.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free, charge for some activities and mountain bike hire

Surfing photograph

Snorkelling, Scuba Diving and Surfing

Those wishing to try their hand and snorkelling or scuba diving will soon discover that the reefs off Anini Beach and Kee Beach are known for their exceptional conditions and brightly coloured fish, while both Lawai Beach and Tunnels Beach are also very suitable for an afternoon's exploration of underwater marine attractions. Surfing, windsurfing and body boarding are also popular with holidaying tourists and is you are a beginning, then the Kauai Surf School on Poipu Beach is the place to head, close to the Sheraton Hotel, where you can receive tuition from experienced surfing instructors in small groups, and also hire surfing equipment if required.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free, charge for surfing lessons and equipment hire