Only 20 minutes from Honolulu by air, is the tropical paradise of Kauai, Hawaii. It's an outdoor paradise, and its famous for fishing, golfing, and beautiful nature. It's the northern-most island in the Hawaii island chain and the oldest.
It is the fourth largest of the main islands in the Hawaiian archipelago and the 21st largest island in the United States. Known also as the "Garden Isle", Kauai lies 105 miles across the Kauai Channel, northwest of Oahu. Of volcanic origin, the highest peak on this mountainous island is Kawaikini at 5,243 feet. The second highest peak is Mount Wai’ale’ale near the center of the island, 5,148 feet above sea level. The islands beauty has got it featured in over 70 Hollywood movies to date.
What to do in Kauai
Kauai is a paradise for golfing, hiking, fishing, riding, wind surfing, and scuba diving holidays. It's an outdoors sort of place rather than a cultural destination.
Hiking is fantastic here and these are 3 of the most popular trails:
- The Kukui Trail
- The Kuilau Ridge Trail
- The Kalalau Trail
More hiking information can be had from the Sierra Club.
What to see in Kauai
There are brilliant views from most areas of the island, so a photographer will have a field day. Many of the most scenic areas are now made into state parks. Some of the popular state parks are Wailua River State Park, Hā'ena State Park, Waimea Canyon State Park, and Nā Pali Coast State Park.
Waimea Canyon, on Kauai's west side, is a 3,500-foot deep canyon that provides stunning panoramic views of crested buttes, rugged crags, and deep valley gorges. The grand inland vistas go on for miles, which is why Waimea is nicknamed "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific."
The 52-foot Kilauea Lighthouse was constructed in 1913, and its beam once reached 90 miles out to sea. The lens is the largest of its type ever made. The lighthouse has not been in service since 1976. At Kilauea Point, you are at the northernmost point in the Hawaiian Islands. Open daily from 10am to 4pm (except during holidays).
Here's a great list of sights on Kauai.
When to visit Kauai
Anytime of year is a good time to visit Kauai. The average temperature here is between 75°-85° F. Summer, between April and November, is warmer and drier while winter, between December and March, is a bit cooler. Trade winds keep things comfortable year-round.
How to get to Kauai
Lihue Airport (LIH) on Kauai is the island’s main airport. There are several other airports that only service smaller, private planes. Many airlines now offer direct service to Kauai. There is also the option of flying into Honolulu International Airport (HNL) first, which is the main airport for the islands, and then heading to Kauai.
If you’re planning to explore the island, it’s best to rent a car. This will allow you the flexibility to tour Waimea one morning and spend the evening in Hanalei. Shuttles and tours are also available, though stops will be limited.
Some of the lush interior of the island is only accessible by air, so you may find yourself sightseeing by helicopter. Don’t miss the chance to travel by foot on Kauai’s magnificent hiking trails or vast, trackless beaches.
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