Why You Should Choose Kauai Over the Other Hawaiian Islands

So you’re planning a vacation to the Hawaiian islands, but still can’t decide on which island to go to? Whether your limits are due to time or budget, if there can only be one island to visit, then we think that island should be Kauai. Kauai is the oldest and northernmost island within the archipelago and, with the nickname of the Garden Isle, boasts a beauty that is all its own. Just check out the following quick list of reasons why you should choose Kauai over the rest of the other (still beautiful and amenity-full) Hawaiian islands:

The Go-to List of Why You Should Choose Kauai Over the Other Big Hawaiian Islands

The Majestic Na Pali Coast

Photo Credit by @zurinagresowski on Instagram

The Na Pali Coastline is a special segment of shoreline that stretches along the island’s northwestern edge. Here, millions of years of volcanic activity, erosion, and tectonic movements have sculpted these cliffs into sharp ridges that tower and drop spectacularly into the ocean. Tucked amidst Na Pali’s seventeen miles of coastline are small hidden beaches and isolated valleys and, after heavy rains, waterfalls crash over those towering cliffs and into the sea. In a word, this stretch of land is stunning and it is unique to Kauai.

Of course, part of the wonder of the Na Pali Coast is its remoteness. This, as with much of Kauai, is an area that has not seen development and so, exploring the area offers a great adventure. You can do so by land, air, or water. By land, the Kalalau Trail offers an eleven-mile hike across massive cliffs, through rainforested valleys, and ends at a remote white sand beach where those with a permit can camp. If you choose to explore by air, you can take a helicopter tour that will get you really close to those cliffs and waterfalls, offering a truly unique perspective. And if you choose to go by boating tour, then you will get to see the entire stretch of shoreline that is so coveted. You may even be able to land at one of the beaches for a private swim in good weather.

The Premier Hanalei Bay Beach

Mountain view from Hanalei Pavilion Beach Park

Lots of coastal communities like to claim they have the best beach, but Hanalei Bay Beach in Kauai has been named as one of the best beaches not just in the state, but also the country, and even the world thanks to its large size, beautiful scenery, and outstanding swimming, surfing, and snorkeling opportunities. This crescent-shaped beach really has it all, including a fantastic park that has all the amenities you’d want for a relaxing day at the beach, including restrooms, showers, a lifeguard station, and pavilions with grills. During the busiest seasons, they also have a food concession stand where you can get hot food. Or, walk just around the block to enjoy takeout at one of several food trucks that will pull up to cater to hungry beachgoers. 

The Expansive Waimea Canyon

Viewing area at the Waimea Canyon Lookout

Also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, Waimea Canyon is an incredible natural wonder that should be at the top of any nature lover’s list to go and experience. This canyon stretches fourteen miles long, spans one mile across at its widest point, and measures an impressive 3,600 feet tall. It may not be as big or old as the Grand Canyon, but there’s certainly nothing like it on the other Hawaiian islands — or on any of the Pacific islands.

Waimea Canyon was carved out by flooding and volcanic activity from Kauai’s central shield volcano of Mount Waialeale and by the steady flows of the Waimea River. There are three official lookout spots that offer fantastic vistas of the canyon and really enable you to understand its scale and beauty. There’s even one (Puu Ka Pele Lookout) that offers an incredible view of Waipoo Falls, an 800-foot waterfall that plunges down a sheer cliff wall. If you enjoy a closer viewing experience, there is a moderate hiking trail that leads down to Waipoo Falls. There are also several other fantastic hikes around the canyon and into the valley below.

Simpler Island Lifestyle

It’s no secret that Hawaii is a big tourist destination with nearly ten million people coming annually to visit its islands. However, not all of those visitors go to every island. If you love the idea of Hawaii but are not keen on being around a lot of other travelers, then you will want to choose Kauai over the other Hawaiian islands because of its simpler island lifestyle that has helped to make it one of the least visited Hawaiian islands.

Here, you aren’t going to a big city like Honolulu, or massive, sprawling resorts around every corner and tons of fancy restaurants to cater to them. What you will find are more laid-back communities and small-time entrepreneurs like solo surfing teachers and food trucks. What you will find is plenty of cultural and historic locations like the Kilauea lighthouse and the Kauai Museum that’s full of native Hawaiian art and artifacts. And while you can certainly enjoy some of the most common types of Hawaiian tourist activities like authentic luaus, you can also find unique spots like Hanapepe, a town renowned for its artists. 

Is Kauai the Best Choice for Me?

Kauai has a lot of amazing things going for it but, naturally, it won’t be the best island for everyone to visit. The question you’ll need to ask yourself as you plan your upcoming travel is what do you enjoy most? If you love nature, love hiking, love exploring small communities, and don’t like big crowds, then Kauai is absolutely the perfect Hawaiian island for you. 

Learn More About Kauai

People sitting under umbrellas at Waioli Beach

Of course, these are some of the most significant reasons why you might visit Kauai, but the list certainly does not end here. Make sure to visit our other pages to learn more about this gorgeous island and all it has to offer.