If you’ve chosen Kauai for your Hawaiian vacation, it’s a safe bet that you have some interest in venturing off the beaten path. With 90 percent of the island inaccessible by road, and a building code forbidding any structure higher than a coconut palm, this remote beauty offers a one-of-a-kind, get-away-from-it-all experience.
On Kauai’s west side, follow a rugged, unpaved five-mile road to Polihale State Park, the longest beach in the state of Hawaii. With miles and miles of white sand, dunes up to 100 feet tall, views of the Na Pali sea cliffs, and stunning sunsets, this secluded setting provides a perfect backdrop for swimming, fishing, and long walks. Picnic pavilions, water fountains, restrooms, and showers also make it an appealing camping location.
Among its other claims to fame: Kauai boasts the only navigable rivers in the state of Hawaii. Take a stand-up paddleboard trip down the Hanalei River on the slopes of Mount Waialeale for views of taro fields, waterfalls, the historic Hanalei Bridge, and the native birds of a national wildlife refuge. Those seeking instruction and a group experience may opt for guided tours, while those who prefer a serene private paddle have the option of individual board or kayak rentals.
Also on the north side of the island, the Kalalau Trail allows for an extraordinary hiking adventure along the Na Pali cliffs. Camping is necessary to see the entire 11-mile route ending at Kalalau Beach. But hike just two miles in to find isolated Hanakapi’ai Beach, enjoying breathtaking views of the Pacific, 3,000-foot cliffs, and deep valleys along the way.
Along with gorgeous beaches, peaceful rivers, and spectacular sea cliffs, Kauai offers perfect weather year-round, abundant snorkeling opportunities, plentiful waterfalls, and 10-mile long Waimea Canyon (nicknamed “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”). It’s no wonder this out-of-the-way paradise is often voted one of the world’s best islands!