Discovering Kauai – An Island Overview

Rainbow from Helicopter Tour of Kauai

A Bird's Eye View of Kauai From A Helicopter

Take a virtual helicopter tour of Kauai and you’ll soon be in love with the island’s beauty! From the air, you will be amazed by the natural wonders you will see. Imagine, if you will, that you are now on a helicopter touring Kauai. On the southwest, you will find the grand canyon of the pacific, Waimea Canyon, with its rich hues of pinks, purples, oranges, and greens that you will never forget. Along the northwest coast, you will find the famous, unspoiled Na Pali Coast with miles of cliffs, white sand beaches, and thick rainforest. Next you fly to the very center of Mount Waialeale crater, which is the rainiest place on earth and produces perpetual waterfalls that drop thousands of feet. You are seeing the very beginning of Kauai as this is the volcano that created this paradise. Your flight is full of countless rainbows and waterfalls. Your thrilling tour must come to an end and you depart the helicopter with memories for a lifetime and your camera full of postcard quality photos. Now it’s time to explore Kauai from the ground.

You will most likely arrive in Kauai at the main commercial airport in Kauai in Lihue on the East Shore. The East Shore is also referred to as the Coconut Coast and you will know why when you come across the thousands of lovely coconut trees planted in Wailua. The East Shore offers wonderful Kauai hotels and resorts, a variety of island shops, excellent swimming and snorkeling, scenic and famous waterfalls, and even kayaking along the Wailua River. Some consider Kauai’s East Shore to be the perfect base location for exploring the island.

Kee Beach

Kee Beach

Traveling on to Kauai’s North Shore, you will find some of the most picturesque beaches in the world that provide excellent spots for sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, and surfing. These beaches are set against lush tropical plants and majestic mountains with waterfalls. At “the end of the road”, which is literally as far as you can go on the northwest, you will find scenic Kee Beach and the start of the 11-mile Kalalua Trail that follows along the Na Pali Coast. The Kalalua Trail offers some challenging hiking, but the views are worth the sweat. (Just a word of advice, the first two miles are considered to be the best and bring you to Hanakapiai Beach which is a beautiful beach nestled between cliffs.) Other ways to see the Napali Coast is by catamaran or if you are really adventurous by kayak. There are several excellent hotel and restaurant options on the North Shore. Many people choose Kauai hotels on the North Shore due to its lush, jungle-like beauty. If you are looking for a luxury Kauai hotel, then you should consider the Princeville Resort where you will find world class service, outstanding views of the Bali Hai that are second to none, famous Kauai Princeville golf courses, and a full service spa for pampering.

Kauai has two distinct climates, the lush tropical North Shore and the sunny, drier South Shore. The drive into Kauai’s South Shore takes you through a gorgeous canopy of eucalyptus trees that lead into the historic town of Koloa and then onto Poipu Beach where you will find many outstanding luxury hotels, restaurants, golf courses and spas. Watching the sunset on Poipu is gorgeous, relaxing, and very romantic.

Moving onto the Southwest Shore, the signature features  are the Waimea Canyon, Kokee State Park, and the Napali Coast Line and both fall into the category of “must see”. Viewing the Napali Coast Line is best done by kayak, boat tour, or helicopter. The scenery along the coast is so untouched and pristine with striking cliffs, colors, and waterfalls. The Waimea Canyon is called the grand canyon of the Pacific and is rich with colors and sights that completely breathtaking.

Many readers have told us that Kauai is their favorite Hawaiian Island and we can see why. They love it for its tremendous variety of adventures and unspoiled beauty. Whether you are planning a family vacation or celebrating your honeymoon or anniversary, Kauai will leave you with a lifetime of memories and the desire to return to the “garden isle” for more discoveries.

To learn more about Kauai, order your free Kauai Vacation Planning Guide from the Kauai Visitors Bureau.

Go back to the main page of the Kauai Vacation Guide.

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