Traveling to Kauai? What to see and do | Debbi Marquette Photography

January 17, 2022

Traveling to Kauai? What to see and do in Kauai!

Are you traveling Kauai?   So now what?  If you have seen Hawaii landscape photography you know it will be beautiful but what should you see???  Planning your Hawaii vacation will make it easier to enjoy yourself.  Keep reading for what to see and do in Kauai.

My husband and I travel a lot.   But there are few places that have captured my heart as much as Hawaii.   We have been to numerous islands in the Caribbean, and expected Hawaii to be similar.  But there is something special about Hawaii.  In many ways, the Caribbean and Hawaii are similar, but Hawaii resonated with me due to the consistent climate and adventure.  If you like the outdoors and adventure, then Hawaii is a great choice.   From ocean front, beaches both white sand and black sand, to hiking trails, to varying landscapes from mountains to , Hawaii is as diverse as they come.  

Hawaii is part of the United States, but the influence of the first people that came to the islands is evident — from the food to the hula, leis, and culture.  

Kauai is a small island.  You can drive from one end to the other in a few hours.  But it is diverse in landscape.  It has mountains, lush green forests, dramatic sea cliffs, waterfalls, canyons, hiking trails and of course beaches.   Kauai also has everything you would want in a Hawaii vacation.  

Here are some of my favorite things on Kauai.  

Kīlauea Point Lighthouse

The Kilauea Point Lighthouse was constructed in 1913 and is a historic landmark.   Perched on rocky peninsula, on a cliff 200 feet above the ocean, the lighthouse stands 52 feet tall.  It was originally built to guide ships coming from the Orient. 

This heart stopping spot is also home to the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge.  Visitors can see a huge variety of seabirds in the skies around the refuge and on the land nearby.  No Hawaii vacation is complete without seeing Hawaii lighthouses.  So if you are traveling to Kauai, be sure to check out this gem.  

Sprouting Horn Blowhole

This blowhole is worth a quick stop if you haven’t seen a blowhole.  Water sprouts out from the rocks in the ocean with an eerie sound.    

Waimea Canyon

Nicknamed the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, Waimea Canyon is a large canyon on the island of Kauai.   It is about fourteen miles long, a mile wide and 3600 feet deep. 

While there are three main “official” lookouts, there are a few other pull offs that only a few cars can stop at that also get extraordinary views.  

The main lookout on the rim of the canyon has a large parking lot.  You also get fantastic views from many angles.   If you have a camera that take panoramic pictures, use it here.  If you are traveling to Kauai, this is a must see location.  

Kalalau Lookout

The Kalalau Lookout looks down at the Kalalau Valley.   You can hike to the valley from the Kalalau Trail.  This is a pretty famous valley.  The valley and the coast served as the backdrop to many movies:  the original “King Kong,” “Mighty Joe Young,” “Jurassic Park,” and “Six Days Seven Nights.”

At 4000 feet, this is also the highest elevation most people reach on Kauai by road.  

Napali Coast

The Napali Coast in Kauai Hawaii is considered one of the most beautiful places on earth.   It has everything that is the epitome of Hawaii – emerald hued cliffs, mountain peaks, dramatic sea caves and valleys.   It is a true Hawaiian paradise.  

The Pali (cliffs) are rugged mountains ending abruptly at the sea.  Waterfalls flow down these cliffs continuing to carve them into vertical peaks. 

There are three main ways to see the Napali Cliffs – by boat, by air and hiking by foot.  We elected to see them by boat and were not disappointed. 

Tree Tunnel

The Tree Tunnel is a beautiful canopy of Eucalyptus trees line Maliuhi Road.It creates a natural gateway to Kauai’s south shore.   


Enjoy the lush green, turquoise water, and beautiful mountain backdrops of the island. 


Unfortunately, the North shore was still closed when we were there.  The North shore received substantial flooding in 2018 and the roads there were closed for over a year.  The North shore is definitely on my list of places to see on my next visit.  

For my husband and I, Kauai was one of those destinations that you didn’t want to leave.  The canyons, landscape, towns, coast, beaches were all spectacular.   We felt instantly at home there.  If you are planning on traveling to Kauai, I hope this gives you some ideas on places to see.  Any of the islands offer a lot to do, but Kauai can make for a perfect Hawaii vacation.  I hope reading what to see and do in Kauai will help you plan your vacation. Other Hawaii travel photography and tips can be found in my blogs.

Debbi Marquette Photography is located in Upstate New York at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains.  Debbi is  an award winning and published  travel, landscape and bald eagle photographer specializing in artistic, authentic, and memorable landscape and wildlife photography.   She travels frequently, lives near the mountains and constantly has a camera in her hand to capture photographs so others can see the beauty of our world.

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