Kauai didn't earn its nickname, the Garden Isle, purely by chance.
The natural, lush beauty of the island is evident in everything
from its tropical mountain forests to its unspoiled coastline. Here
are a few of the natural attractions in Kauai.
Kokee State Park
The park's 4,345 acres of upland wilderness make it an irresistible
destination for hikers, campers and other fans of the great
outdoors. Kokee boasts vast expanses of wooded areas and many good
hiking trails. Kalalau Lookout, perched on cliffs overlooking the
ocean, features gorges that carve through the cliffs to meet the
ocean 4,000 feet below.
Alakai Wilderness Preserve
Next to Kokee State Park, the preserve encompasses the Alakai
Swamp. The swamp is a 10-mile-long and two-mile-wide enclave with
pristine nature trails and a recently completed boardwalk built
over the boggy terrain, affording views of rare plant and animal
Waimea Canyon State Park
The park offers endless delights for the adventuresome nature
lover. Visitors can follow the Waimea Canyon Drive as it meanders
12 miles into Kauai's interior, and enjoy spectacular views as the
scenery drops 3,000 feet below. The park's 1,866 acres comprise a
painter's palette of red and orange against a backdrop of emerald
National Tropical Botanical Garden
This is the nation's only tropical garden chartered by the U.S.
Congress. Tours are conducted at three garden sites on Kauai: the
Lawai Garden, which is the site of the NTBG's headquarters; the
adjacent Allerton Garden, and the Limahuli Garden on Kauai's North
The 186-acre Lawai Garden offers views of rare species of
indigenous Hawaiian plants as well as magnificent collections of
tropical flora from around the world.
The 100-acre Allerton Garden, once a private estate, consists of
tropical flora and trees, spread out along landscaped trails, amid
fountains and statuary.
The 17-acre Limahuli is nestled among towering mountains and a
990-acre nature preserve, filled with rare and endangered tropical
plants. The area also abounds in ancient Hawaiian archaeological
sites, including 700-year-old stone terraces.
Olu Pua Botanical Gardens
The 12-and-a-half-acre gardens, once the site of the Kauai
Plantation Co. manager's estate, were later transformed into a
botanical garden. The garden has extensive collections of diverse
plantings, including examples of tropical vegetation from all parts
of the world.
Na Pali Coast State Park
One of nature's miracles, the Na Pali State Park on Kauai's North
Shore encompasses Kalalau Valley, which can be reached by an
11-mile path that starts at Kee Beach and winds up and down steep
cliffs. The area features views of rugged, unspoiled coastline that
can be enjoyed by boat or helicopter. The local State Parks office
issues camping permits.
This lava rock outcropping got its name because of the shooting
geyser that appears at high tide. It is located near Poipu Beach,
one of Kauai's most popular resort areas. The spouting is caused by
surf spilling into a lava tube and up through a hole in the coastal
rock. The geyser sometimes reaches a height of 60 feet.
Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge
A popular spot for families to visit, the refuge, located on
Kilauea Point, is a nesting site for such exotically named
creatures as the red-footed booby, the wedge-tailed shearwater, the
Laysan albatross and other species of Hawaiian seabirds. Next to
the Kilauea Lighthouse is a visitors center with educational
displays on the history and nature of the region.