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Driving Tour of the North Shore of Kauai

 This information is compiled to assist guests who rent our Condo at the Cliffs Resort.  If you've arrived at this page as a result of a web search on Kauai Driving, we hope you benefit from the information.  And if you need lodging, thank you for considering us.

For the independent guest with their own car, there are numerous sites to see along the North Shore of Kauai.  The following sections point out some of the more prominent sites.   These pages are organized in two sections: 
From Princeville East and South to Kapaa
From Princeville West to Kee Beach
These pages only cover a third of the Island of Kauai.  There are many more sites to see.  Too voluminous to report here.  Visit some of the other websites we have found to find tours of different regions.

Others would like to have a tour arranged and conducted for them.  Most certainly one can learn much more about the Island with a guided tour.  Click Here for a list of guided tour companies.

Fern Grotto -- most over rated.  The Fern Grotto is a big old cave overgrown with lush ferns.  Located on the Wailua River it can only be reached by boat.  Waialeale Boat Tours [822-4908] and Smiths Motor Boat Service [821-6880] leave from the Wailua Marina and provide narrated tours of this beautiful remote area.  Alternatively, you can rent a kayak and paddle 1 to 2 hours to Fern Grotto; be prepared for a tricky landing however.

Holoholoku Heiau -- was built by the ancient Hawaiians on what they believed was sacred ground.  The little temple is so small that it cannot be entered standing up.  Nearby are tow big flat stones that were used by queens when giving birth to the king's children.

Opaekaa Falls -- They are so named because of the once plentiful shrimp found in the pool at the bottom  The falls are easy to see from the parking overlook.  Turn west at Kuamoo Road in Wailua.  .  It is possible but difficult to get to the bottom of the falls, see our waterfalls web page.

Ancient Hawaii Stones -- also along Kuamoo Road include Poliahu Heiau & Bell Stone and the Holoholoku Haiau & birthing stones.

Sleeping Giant -- part of the Nounou Mountain is a large hill that resembles a slumbering human body.  There are a few separate trails that take nearly two hours to reach the top and provide excellent views of the coastline and surrounding wilderness.  Wear socks and sneakers [not sandals] and bring drinking water.

Kapaa -- is a former 19th century plantation town.  Now home to many shopping centers and activity rental outlets.  visit Lydgate Beach park or Wailua Beach or Kapaa Beach which are all well developed and easily accessable.

Anahola --  is a scenic seaside village built along Anahola Bay.  It's quiet swimming beach is a popular place for swimming and surfing.  Visit Anahola Beach Park for swimming.

Guava Kai Plantation --  Known as the “Guava Capital of the World,” Guava Kai Plantation offers visitors a chance to learn about the growing and processing of guava into delicious candy, jams and juice. The plantation offers free samples, as well as guava goodies for sale in their gift shop.

Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge -- is the northernmost region in the chain of Hawaiian Islands.  It's rugged cliffs and rough waters are a sanctuary for a variety of native and endangered birds including the Laysan albatross and fed-footed boobies.

Kilauea Lighthouse -- Built in 1913, the lighthouse is a designated national historic landmark. It once had the world's largest clamshell lens, capable of sending a beacon 90 miles across the sea. The Wildlife Refuge encompasses Kilauea Point and Mololea Point with its Crater Hill sea cliffs which drop 568 feet straight down to the surf.

St. Sylvester's Church -- This octagonal stone structure is a church-in-the-round. The great frescoes above the altar of the stations of the cross are by Jean Charlot, one of Hawaii's most gifted artists

Na Aina Kai  --  These Tropical Gardens near Princeville cover 240 acres and include a grand maze and 5 different educational tours.  See Orchid Gardens, Carnivorous Plants, Tranquil Ponds, and Forest Streams that head to the sea.

Secret Beach -- hard to find for anyone except those looking to get an all-over tan.  Go down..... The beach is dotted with lava rocks and backed by majestic cliffs.

Kilihiwai -- is a very small town that is best known for it's bridge that once spanned the Kilihiwai River until it was destroyed by a tidal wave in 1957.  It has never been rebuilt and now only the island's highway crosses the river.

Kilihiwai river water falls -- mile marker 24 of the highway.  At one time you could park on the side of the road and view the falls ... even take a three quarter mile hike.  It is no longer permitted to stop.

Kilihiwai Beach -- is where the river flows into the ocean.  It's an ideal place for sunbathing, swimming, and picnicking.  Expect no more than a dozen other guests.

Anini Beach  -- is a wonderful 2 mile long beach with protective reef.   In addition to normal water sports, Anini Beach is home to the Kauai Polo Club


Princeville -- was a former 19-th century sugar plantation owned by Scotsman Robert Wyllie.  He later became the foreign minister to King Kamehameha IV and named his plantation and surrounding region after the king's son: Prince Albert.  during the 1960's this area was developed into the resort area you see today.

Queens Bath -- Right in Princeville proper is the start of a 1 mile hike to Queens Bath.  This natural lava pool captures seawater with the rise and fall of gentle waves.  Visitors can swim and play in the deep clear pool.


Hanalei Valley Overlook -- Barely a quarter mile after leaving Princeville there will be an overlook on the south [left] side of the road.  This overlook yields a splendid view of the Hanalei River Valley.

Hanalei -- meaning "crescent bay" in Hawaiian is an apt namesake for a town lining the half circle shaped coastline.  Hanalei is even more splendid with a backdrop of tall green mountains -- often adorned with dozens of remote waterfalls.  The bay is home to 3 public beaches. 

Waioli Huiia Church -- is a historic landmark of Hanalei and was first erectedin 1841 and re-constructed in 1912.  It's green color is easy to spot on the south side of the road.  With the backdrop of the Na Molokama mountains, and the ridge of Bali Hai across the bay, this is the stuff of which memories are made.   No matter what your faith, worth visiting on a Sunday to hear the choir singing uplifting hymns in Hawaiian.

Waioli Mission House --   Built in 1837 by the first western missionaries to come to this part of the island, it's a southern-style home that has seen many additions during the course of its 160-year history.    It offers guided tours if reserved in advance by calling 245-3202.

Lumahai Beach -- may be Hawaii's most famous and most photographed beach.  It was the site of the filming of South Pacific.  It is located beyond Hanalei and has a reputation for being both romantic and treacherous.  It's raw beauty and remoteness attracts lovers from around the world, but it's strong surf has claimed a number of victims.

Limahuli Garden -- is a lush valley located close to the end of the state highway.  Operated by the National Botanical tropical Garden, Limahuli is home to a wonderful array of flora and fauna.   Visitors can wander through the valley's foot trails viewing native plants and flowers as well as the craggy cliffs of the Na Pali coastline.

Haena State Park -- is the end of the highway.  A main attraction is a pair of wet caves.  The big dark caverns are fun to explore -- by swimming from chamber to chamber.  In one chamber there is an amazing blue light.

Maniniholo Dry Cave and Waikapalae Wet Cave -- On the north side of the island there are natural lava tubes that have been hollowed out over the ages to form caverns that flow from the sea inward towards the land. They are fun to explore and each one seems to have a very different personality.

Kee Beach -- is the last spot to park along the highway and the beginning of the Na Pali coast.  When the water is calm, the reef is one of Kauai's best for snorkeling. 

Kalalau Trail -- this famous trail leads to a remote beach a sometimes rocky and usually slippery 11 miles and 3000 up-down feet away.  Only a marathoner can make the hike out and back in a day.  Most visitors opt for a 2 mile trail to a small beach [sandy only in summer months].  Another 2 miles [8 miles total round trip] brings hikers to Hanakapiai falls.


Top visitor sites are listed here

A website with plenty of information on Kauai points of interest:

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