Driving around Kauai requires careful planning and a rental car. Although the island has plenty of tourist attractions, it feels less commercial than other Hawaii islands because of its extensive geography. Although most of the places are within easy walking distance, driving can help you get to remote beaches, waterfalls, and other scenic spots. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
If you are a keen hiker, the Kapa’a Shoreline Trail offers flat terrain and beautiful views of the rugged coastline. Hikers of all levels can enjoy this 7.2-mile out-and-back trail. It takes about an hour to complete the full hike. The Kapa’a Shoreline Trail is an ideal option for beginners. You will have a spectacular view of the island’s rugged coastline, and will feel refreshed by the cool sea breeze.
Hiking enthusiasts will enjoy the Alakai Ridge Trail, which ascends the scenic ridge that separates the Waioli and Hanalei valleys. It is best to hike this trail during the summer months when it receives less rainfall. The hike includes a side trip to the famous heiau, which is a temple, and a visit to the nearby loi, terraces where taro is grown. The trail passes through native koa trees and invasive Strawberry Guava trees. Hiking up the trail will reward you with incredible 180-degree views of the valleys and coastline.
Hiking in the tropical rain forest is one of the most popular outdoor activities on Kauai. The Hanakapiai Trail starts at Shipwreck Beach, where you can explore fascinating limestone formations. This hike ends at the emerald waters of Hankapiai Waterfall. The hike is difficult and steep but worth every step. Afterwards, you can cool off in the warm waters of one of Kauai’s tumbling waterfalls.
The trail to Kealia Beach is a beautiful hike that’s short enough for families to take together. It is not too far from Kapa’a beach park, and the water is much clearer here. You’ll also pass the Pineapple Dump, which was a ruin of a concrete structure jutting out into the ocean. The trail is an excellent turnaround point, especially if you’re cycling around Kauai.
If you’d like to get outdoors on Kauai, consider hiking along the beautiful Wai Koa Loop Trail, which runs for about four miles along the North Shore. This path passes through private property, so you must sign a waiver before you start. You can also purchase water at the park. The trail passes through Kilauea Woods and Mahogany Plantation, which are great places to pack a picnic. If you’re looking for a challenging hike on Kauai, however, the Kukui Loop Trail is also an excellent choice.
While hiking Kauai, be sure to take time for some sightseeing. There are several stunning waterfalls and viewpoints to enjoy. Nounou Mountain is one of the most scenic. Legend tells that a giant once feasted here and then rested. As the path winds up the mountain, the ridgeline resembles the outline of the giant’s sleeping form. The trail begins with a large plantation of trees and includes switchbacks.