How to see Kauai in 3 Days –
For such a small island, Kauai is packed with a crazy amount of wild chickens (like New York Central Park pigeon crazy) jaw dropping scenery and lots of places to explore. Out of the two islands I went to (Maui and Kauai) I would say Kauai has a more laid back, authentic local island feel, which I really loved.
When exploring the island, I would recommend cutting the island in half. Why you ask? Because there are no roads that fully go around the island so it’s best to just split that baby in half.
We started off with the west side of the island. Our first stop was Waimea Canyon, also known as the “Grand Canyon” of Hawaii.
Side note: Did I say you should definitely rent a car when visiting? Everything is pretty spread out, tours can be expensive and you’re stuck doing things on someone else’s time schedule.
Driving up to Waimea Canyon has great views of the valleys. You will see plenty of spots to pull over and get a quick picture and admire the scenery. Once we made it to the lookout we stayed awhile enjoying our surroundings. While there, we met a couple that told us if we drive further up, we could look down on the Napali Coast at Kalalau Lookout (Wai’ale’ale).
Unfortunately, they neglected to add that by noon, it’s usually not visible due to the clouds. I did hear this is an amazing view when weather permits, just check the weather before you go and make sure you go early….like 9am early. I would recommend driving up here first and then making your way back down to the canyon. Even without being able to look down on the coast, it was still a pretty cool place to visit. You are at an elevation of 5,148 FT and its known to be one of the wettest spots on earth… who knew!
After this, we made our way down and hung out at salt pond park. It’s a nice beach with a lifeguard on duty. You will see most hotels urge you to swim where there are lifeguards due to their high currents and surf breaks. This beach had bathrooms, picnic areas and of course, chickens.
We are not ones to sit at a place for too long so after an hour or so, we made our way to the spouting horn . This was an easy place to just drive up and admire. We even saw a turtle swimming along the coast. On the way back to our hotel, we went through the tree tunnel which was on our map as a point of interest. It was a cool drive through if it’s on your way.
This is the day we decided to hike the Napali Coast. Alex is not a boat person and I’m not a helicopter person so we decided to take it on by land. We hiked the first 2 miles to the beach, but couldn’t swim due to the very strong currents of the north coast. Many people were eating lunch on the rocks- which I might add was a smart call.
This was considered an “easy” hike, but I found it a little difficult. There was a lot of climbing up and down rocky paths and I am a rookie, but the views were stunning. This took us about 3 hours. This path is heavily hiked so you will not be alone, but start early. I would recommend making sure you have a good breakfast and bring snacks and lots of water or something with electrolytes to stay hydrated. After all you are in the jungle!
Next we wanted to cool down at the beach but found many of the North beaches were on a swell, therefore we couldn’t swim. Sometimes your day doesn’t always go as planned, but we were happy to have found Lydgate State Park Beach Park. What’s really cool about this beach is that it’s protected by a rock cove which protects you from the wave break. It also has great snorkeling by the rocks!
After some fun snorkeling and relaxing at the beach, we stopped at Opaekaa Falls. You can see the waterfall, but it’s pretty far away. On the other side of the highway you can get a glimpse of the Wailua River. We spent about 10 minutes here. If you are pressed for time, you can skip it.
Since we still had daylight left, we decided to visit Wailua Falls too. You can drive right up to this waterfall and get a really nice view. In the past, there were trails that brought you to the top of the falls, but have been closed off with fences due to safety concerns. When we went, we saw that many of the people were hopping the fence and hanging out on top of the falls despite the big “No Trespassing” sign. We didn’t do it, but you can make your own decision. I loved this waterfall and is definitely worth the stop.
We decided we were going to do a tour to “Secret Falls”. These falls were by no means a secret, as it was packed with people but we really enjoyed it. Although we usually prefer to do everything on our own, sometimes it’s nice to have a native give you some background. We did our tour through ali’i kayaks and had such an amazing experience. Our tour guide Phil was so knowledgeable and gave us a lot of information about Kauai’s history, lands, plants and wildlife.
You can only get to these falls by some means of water transportation and a short hike to Secret Falls. It was really beautiful and took the full day, but worth it! Check back for my post on Tips Before you go to Secret Falls!
If we had more time, I would have loved to check out the Sleeping Giant hike and the Kauai Coffee visitor center being I am a huge coffee person. I guess we will just have to save that for next time =)
This was really jam packed schedule, but we made it work. The next day we flew out to Maui for some more aloha fun!
Have you been to any of these spots? If so, I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!
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