Kauai, Hawaii is the most remote of the inhabited Hawaiian Islands. Perhaps it is for this reason that the pace of life here varies from that of the other islands. Everything is a bit slowed down, and there are stunning vistas in nearly every direction you look. Though most visitors flock to the coast, head inland to see some of the island’s most treasured locales.
Kauai’s one major road skirts its exterior-starting at the ten o’clock position and traveling down the west coast, past some of the widest beaches in the state, around Waimea Canyon, and through the Tree Tunnel to the South Shore—and practically begs adventurists to delve into its interior. While summer swells kick up fun, rolling waves for beginner surfers, Kauai, Hawaii lures you away from the shore to the waterfalls and jungles that take some know-how to reach. Swing north up the eastern coast—past the stunning lighthouse at Kilauea and into the rustic village of Hanalei, and you eventually hit the end of the road at the Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali Coast. Here, you see fewer people, more rain, and glistening tropical jungles; it’s the perfect jumping off spot for inland adventures. This is the starting point for getting up close and personal with folded cliffs, winding rivers, and horseback trails that take you to cascading waterfalls.
In Hanalei, rent a stand-up paddle board on the beach and head in the opposite direction of the surf, up the Hanalei River. Pass by some waterfront homes and coconut groves, and make your into the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge. Here, you can see indigenous Hawaiian birds (the thoughtful-looking ae’o and the nene, the official state bird, are plentiful) while getting a good bit of exercise and staying cool on the water.
Outfitters Kauai is a one-stop shop that takes you and your friends on an array of jaunts, including a kayak up the Wailua River. This adventure takes you through historic cultural sites (the lore of the magical little menehune is fascinating), past locations that may seem familiar to dinophiles, and finally to a secluded swimming hole and waterfall for a refreshing one-of-a-kind dip.