Kauai is a truly awesome place
to get married, and the great thing is that before and after the ceremony, there’s a lot of places you can check out, ranging from the spectacular to the sublime. Here is our “Kauai Top 10” list based on our experience living here for many years. Kauai has such raw beauty, however, that it’s hard to narrow the list down to just ten places!
#1 of the Kauai Top 10: The Grand Canyon of the Pacific – Waimea Canyon
You wouldn’t know it if you spent all your time on the wetter North and East sides of the island, but Kauai boasts a jaw-dropping canyon on the West side: Waimea Canyon a.k.a. “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific”. The sands of time are literally etched into the ravines and edges of this awe-inspiring canyon. It’s hard to believe an island as small as Kauai can host such a canyon. Don’t miss it!
#2 of the Kauai Top 10: The Most Rugged and Awe-Inspiring Hike – The Kalalau Trail
For those who love hiking, the Kalalau Trail is quite incomparable. This 11-mile trail weaves in and out of giant cliffs high above the Pacific, with ocean views into the horizon as far as you can see. Words do not do justice to its majesty – you have to experience it! One great thing about it is that if you can still hike it even if you don’t go all the way, because the first 2 miles stops at Hanakapiai Beach, making an ideal day hike.
#3 of the Kauai Top 10: National Tropical Botanical Gardens – Allerton, McBryde and Limahuli Gardens
Kauai hosts three gorgeous botanical gardens, two on the South Shore (Allerton and McBryde Gardens), and one on the North Shore (Limahuli Garden). These exquisite gardens are immaculately cultivated and contain a wide array of tropical plants, both native Hawaiian and introduced species.
#4 of the Kauai Top 10: Enormous, Grand Cliffs – Napali Coast
In the Hawaiian language, na pali means “the cliffs”. These aren’t any old cliffs; see them up close and you’ll know why they are the cliffs. The Napali Coast is a 17-mile stretch of rugged coastline on Kauai’s northwest, and is usually seen by boat, although you can choose to see it by helicopter (see #8 below) or, if you are athletic, either hike (see #2 above) or rent a kayak and paddle out to them. They are untouched, majestic and incredibly high (around 4000 feet or 1200 meters), and certainly worthy of being included in a Kauai Top 10 list.
#5 of the Kauai Top 10: Best Park for the Kids – Lydgate Park, Wailua
Lydgate is a truly magical park for kids, with plenty of slides, swings and places to run and hide. It’s so large there are two distinct sections separated by about half a mile, both constructed out of a lot of wood and having the appearance of miniature castles. However, adults can have fun too, because Kauai’s East side multi-use bike path runs down to Lydgate Park and connects the two sections.
#6 of the Kauai Top 10: Stunning Undeveloped Coastline – Mahaulepu
Mahaulepu is Kauai’s last accessible undeveloped coastline, where the effects of 5-6 million years can be clearly seen (Kauai is the oldest major island in the Hawaiian chain of islands). Mahaulepu is comprised of ancient sand dunes, pounding surf, inlets, beaches and vegetation. Raw, rugged and remote, Mahaulepu is definitely memorable and not to be missed. You may even find a monk seal lounging out on the beach there!
#7 of the Kauai Top 10: Up-close Ocean Wildlife – Whales, Dolphins, Turtles and Seals
Kauai’s marine life is astounding – and the best thing about is that you can get pretty close to all of it in the wild! Whales arrive in the winter months (usually from October to April) and can be seen very close to shore, breaching and jumping about. Take a boat tour and see one from 50 feet! Pods of dolphins also swim pretty close to shore at certain beaches. Giant turtles and monk seals also swim close to shore, and monk seals often park themselves on the sand and lay about (e.g. at Mahaulepu [see #6 above]).
#8 of the Kauai Top 10: Island Wide Panaroma – Helicopter Rides
Taking a helicopter ride on Kauai is a great way to see the entire island, and view places you simply couldn’t see any other way. It’s hard to remain unimpressed by Kauai’s scenery, from massive mountains to splendid beaches to rolling hills to tropical forests. Another great option is Kauai By Air, to fly in a mini-plane (a trike).
#9 of the Kauai Top 10: The World’s Most Elevated Swamp – Alakai Swamp, Kokee State Park
The Alakai Swamp (accessible via the Alakai Swamp Trail and the Pihea Trail in Kokee, northwest Kauai) is the world’s most elevated swamp, fed by the abundant precipitation from Mt. Waialeale, the mountain a the center of Kauai. This trail is a hidden gem of Kauai’s Top 10, and contains boardwalks so hikers don’t have to trudge through too much mud to reach the end – a panoramic lookout at Hanalei Bay and Kauai’s North shore.
#10 of the Kauai Top 10: Backdrops for Hollywood – Kauai Movie Tour
Lastly, for those into movies, did you know that Kauai has hosted countless films and TV shows – over 100 at last count? Some of the most famous include Blue Hawaii, Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Raiders of the Lost Ark and South Pacific. Several companies offer Kauai movie tours which take visitors to many of the locations used in filming.
It’s hard to narrow the list down to a Kauai Top 10, since this island has so much to offer!
If you are visiting Kauai on vacation (but not getting married), consider having some professional photos taken of you and your family as a keepsake – please call Aloha Ever After at 877-711-3003 or visit our website for Kauai Photos.