Once named America’s Best Beach by the Travel Channel, Poipu offers whale watching from December through May and year-round snorkeling with tropical reef fish. A place where large honu (Hawaiian green sea turtles) also swim freely, though the beach is most famous for sighting the endangered Hawaiian monk seals that sometimes sunbathe on the shore.
This iconic mountain ridge, also known as Nounou Mountain, is said to look like a sleeping giant. The hike to the summit, or “forehead” of the Sleeping Giant, takes approximately 2 to 2.5 hours. Pack a picnic and have lunch at the scenic lookout with sweeping views of eastern Kauai, Mt. Waialeale, Wailua River, and the Pacific Ocean.
Famous Hanalei Bay is a 2-mile half-moon bay where Hanalei River meets the ocean. An absolutely breathtaking scene of white sandy beach surrounded by majestic mountains and seacliffs. A beautiful ocean playground for swimming, surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, kayaking and fishing, this beach was rated ” Best Beach in the U.S. for 2009″ by Dr. Beach.
On the island’s west side, Waimea Canyon lookout offers magnificent views into the heart of Kauai. As one of Hawaii’s top geological wonders, the lookout point offers a place to admire the vistas of deep gorges and steep crags spanning 14 miles and 3,600 feet deep. There are several trails to traverse for beginners and advanced hikers.
Translated as “The cliffs”, Na Pali is a 15 mile stretch of rugged coastline on the northwest shore of Kauai. Much of the coast cannot be accessed because of its steep cliffs that drop straight down thousands of feet into the ocean below. One of the most popular ways to experience Na Pali is to take a sailing catamaran boat tour. If you’re lucky, you may spot dolphins swimming alongside the boat.