North Kauai Region Sights, Tours, & Information
Things to Do & Visitor Tips for North Kauai
As on all the Hawaiian Islands, this region is typically known as the famous "North Shore." The North Shore has a mild average temperature in the mid to low 70's, but much of it receives a lot more rain - up to 120 inches a year in some places. This makes it green, lush, and very tropical. As we mentioned earlier though, don't let the rain spoil your plans. It might be raining in one spot and sunny a mile or two up the road - plus, most of the rain falls at night. Rain gear isn't a bad idea, but don't let the showers rain on your parade.
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2023 Kauai Visitor Guides
If you're visiting Kauai soon, be sure to download your copy of one of our updated 2023 Kauai Visitor Guides. We've updated both travel guides with a lot of new great information for potential visitors (and those who've been a time or two as well).
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One of the most popular resort areas is also located on the north shore of Kaua'i, Princeville. Princeville is a large and popular resort area overlooking the cliffs of Hanalei and Hanalei Bay with everything you could ever need to make the perfect vacation. Just hold onto your wallet, things can be pricey here. Houses in this area go for too much money and way too much money. Compared to the west coast of Kaua'i, this is Beverly Hills.
Other towns you'll find include Kilauea, Ha'ena, and Hanalei with its beautiful bay and beaches.
North Kauai Top 5 Things to Do
Best Things to See in North Kauai
#5 Rated in North Kauai
Ke`e Beach is located at the end of Highway 560 and is one of the island's most popular North Shore beaches.
If you want a beach with a view, you're going to be hard-pressed to find a better view than the NaPali Coast as seen from the far right end of Ke`e Beach- it's simply jaw-dropping. Situated between NaPali and Limahuli stream, the lagoon-like beach is also popular for snorkeling. The water here is very clear and reef fish are abundant. The chickens are part of the local scene, and it makes us wonder, where else will you find chickens on a beach?
For more information on where to park, please be aware of the new rules for the whole Haena Beach State Park area (including Ke'e Beach access).
#4 Rated in North Kauai
Kilauea Lighthouse is the northernmost point of the main Hawaiian Islands. The lighthouse was built in 1913 with the largest hand-blown clamshell lens in the world. It was later replaced with a beacon in the 1970's.
The lighthouse is open to look around in on the ground level. Today the lighthouse remains one of Kaua'i's most popular attractions.
Native vegetation and an informative visitor center attracts thousands of tourists to this site to bird watch, view the sweeping cliff and ocean vistas, and revel in Kaua'i's past.
Makua 'Tunnels' Beach
#3 Rated in North Kauai
Tunnels beach offers some of the best snorkeling anywhere in Hawaii during the calm summer months. The backdrop is similar to that of Hanalei Beach; the mountains rising up behind the beach are gorgeous.
Tunnels beach has one major downside- parking. But you can usually find parking at Haena Beach Park and then walk (to the right) to access Tunnels Beach. Surfers also will enjoy the outermost portions of the reef where waves are larger.
Limahuli Garden & Preserve
#2 Rated in North Kauai
Along the North Shore of Kauai, past mile marker 9 on Highway 560, mauka (towards the mountain) is one of the fascinating gardens on the island, Limahuli Garden & Preserve.
The 1,000-acre garden is now part of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens after being donated to the society in 1976. The garden, nestled in the mountains, is unique and a real treasure to visit.
One of the most amazing areas of the garden is the taro gardens and terrace system, the origins of which date back a century or more to the earliest Hawaiians.
Hanalei Beach Park & Bay
#1 Rated in North Kauai
On an average day, this is by far the best beach on the island. It's family-friendly and the sand is pristine. At 125 ft. wide and with over two miles of sand along the crescent-shaped bay, the surroundings are superb with views of the verdant mountains rising in the background.
Hanalei Bay Beach is bordered by the Hanalei River to the east, the Waipa River to the west, and there are two large coral reefs at both ends of the bay.
For those seeking ocean fun and diversity, the beach has a little of everything. The right side of the bay features a reef that creates ideal surfing conditions for those looking to catch some waves. Near the pier the waves are much more gentle, making it an ideal location for those new to the ocean or rookie wave riders. Boogie boarding is reliable along the central portion of the bay, and even some intermediate surfing is possible here. The crowds don't flock to this beach, so there's plenty of room for everyone at Hanalei Bay.
All North Kauai Attractions
Categorized by Type
North Kauai Beaches
- Hanalei Beach Park - #1 Best Beach on Kauai
- Puu Poa Beach
- Makua 'Tunnels' Beach - #2 Best Beach on Kauai
- Lumahai Beach
- Kee Beach - #3 Best Beach on Kauai
- Pali Ke Kua (Hideaways) Beach
- Anini Beach - #5 Best Beach on Kauai
- Kalihiwai Beach
- Haena Beach Park - #9 Best Beach on Kauai
North Kauai Sights
- Hanalei Valley Overlook
- Limahuli Garden & Preserve - #5 Best in Sights on Kauai
- Queens Bath
- Kalihiwai Falls
- Kilauea Lighthouse - #6 Best in Sights on Kauai
- Waikapalae Wet Cave
- Waikanaloa Wet Cave
- Mokuaeae Island
- Manini-holo Dry Cave
- Christ Memorial Episcopal Church
- Haena State Park