The island of Kauai has so much to offer that it can be overwhelmingly difficult to decide which direction to go. With no shortage of attractions, natural beauty, and restaurants at every turn, filling a day with exploration and adventure will come naturally. However, when time is a limited commodity, efficiency is key. Here is a list of five fantastic adventures, in sequence, for you to take for an epic and memorable Wednesday on Kauai. Leave in the morning to fit in everything on this whirlwind tour!
#1 Kilauea Lighthouse Wildlife Refuge
Begin your day taking the highway East until you are along the North Shore of the island in the town of Kilauea. Ask for directions at the gas station or follow GPS directions to the Kilauea Lighthouse Wildlife Refuge, a national Wildlife Refuge for native Hawaiian bird species, and other endangered animals. Here you can witness the rare ‘A, Moli, and ‘Ua ‘u Kani in a naturally protected natural environment. The sea cliffs also provide safe haven for Hawaiian Monk Seals, Green Sea Turtles, and Humpback Whales. The scenic lighthouse offers a lookout where the luckiest of visitors will be able to witness all these rare species, as well as the occasional pod of dolphins. Don’t forget to take a picture!
#2 Hanalei Valley Lookout
Next, continue to follow the highway along the north shore until you reach the Hanalei Valley Lookout just on the edge of Princeville. This valley is one of the most scenic areas in the world, with a backdrop of ancient volcano mountains, and cascading rivers flowing down through the taro fields. This valley has been cultivating the cultural centerpiece of the Hawaiians’ food, taro root, for centuries, and sings with vibrancy and life. It is a sight not to be missed. After you snag your photo, continue on to Hanalei and stop for lunch at any of the decadent restaurants in town. You can’t go wrong.
#3 Haena State Park
Continue to follow the highway along the north shore all the way to the end of the road, where you will arrive at Haena State Park. This is both a great place for a picnic if you have one packed, but also a learning experience. There are several holy ancient Hawaiian shrines, or heiaus, and many thousands of years old sea caves to explore. You can also access Ke’e Beach, a absolutely stunning white sand beach protected by a reef that you can relax on, soak up the sun and waves, or dive right in with a snorkel and explore the reefs and abundance of sea life. You can spend your day here, but, if adventure beckons you, continue to the next leg of the journey and see how far you are willing to go…
#4 Kalalau Trail
Beginning at Ke’e Beach, the Kalalau trail offers the explorers in us a chance to dive into the raw north shore of Kauai and take it as far as we are willing. In its entirety, a rugged and challenging 11 mile hike up and down five major valleys along the Na Pali Coastline will lead you through the heart of Hawaii’s majesty, past streams and waterfalls and ending deep in the renowned and mystical Kalalau Valley. This entire trek requires preparation for an overnight excursion, however an abridged two mile hike will get you to Hanakapi’ai Beach, another scenic setting that is hard to pass up. Continuing up Hanakapi’ai Valley another two miles will bring you to the thunderous Hanakapi’ai Falls.
#5 Kilauea Fish Market
Whew! It’s been quite a day, choke full of some of the most jaw-droppingly stunning natural sights the planet has to offer…It’s time for dinner. Head back down the highway and stop in Kilauea for deliciously fresh local fish in a quaint and fresh plantation setting. Aside from the fresh fish in any number of forms, the menu boasts grass-fed beef items, salads, and plate lunch specials. Order up, and relax in the picnic-style outdoor seating, perfect for soaking in the spectacular sunset sky. Or take your food to go and have dinner on the beach at Hanalei Bay!