North Shore Attractions
Kilauea Point NWR was established in 1985 to preserve and enhance seabird nesting colonies and was expanded in 1988 to include Crater Hill and Mōkōlea Point. The refuge is home to the historic Kilauea Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1913 and has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is situated on Kauai`s northernmost point and was used as a navigational aid for commercial shipping between Asia and Hawaii for 62 years.
The refuge is home to some of the largest populations of nesting seabirds in the main Hawaiian Islands. Every year, thousands of seabirds use the refuge for nesting, foraging, and resting. You can view Laysan albatross, red-footed boobies, brown boobies, red-tailed and white-tailed tropicbirds, Pacific golden plovers, great frigate birds, and wedge-tailed shearwaters. The refuge is also home to nene, an endangered species of goose endemic to the Hawaiian islands. Nene was reintroduced to the refuge in the 1990s and is making a comeback. Nene is the official bird of the state of Hawaii.
Kilauea Point is a popular place to watch whales in the winter! Besides the beautiful views, visitors may have an opportunity to see spinner dolphins, Hawaiian monk seals, green sea turtles (honu), and humpback whales (kohala). Visitors can learn about various Native coastal plants that have been restored on the refuge such as naupaka, ilima, hala, aheahea, and akoko. The endangered plant restoration program is giving species such as the rare alula a chance to survive in the Kilauea Points environment.
Kilauea Point is the remnant of the former Kilauea volcanic vent that last erupted about 15,000 years ago. Today, only a small U-shaped portion remains, including a spectacular 568-foot ocean bluff. The Refuge is located 2 miles north of Kilauea town. Approximately half a million people visit the refuge each year to enjoy one of the greatest places on earth to observe seabirds and the endangered nene. Observation scopes and binoculars are available to see them up close and personal. Interpretation and education programs are available with volunteers and staff on-site to assist you in identifying wildlife, as well as an information center and bookstore.
Location: Kilauea (39.1 miles from Poipu)
Hanalei Pier is located at the mouth of the Hanalei River. This section of beach fronts Black Pot Beach Park, a popular camping area for local families. There is a small boat ramp where you can launch kayaks to paddle the Hanalei River.
Hanalei Pier has been used in numerous films including Bird of Paradise (1950) and The Wackiest Ship in the Army (1960). The beach on either side of the pier was the principal filming location for most of the beach scenes in the South Pacific (1957). The Hanalei Pier was originally built of wood in 1892 and used to unload goods that arrived in Hanalei Bay by ship. In 1921 the wooden deck was replaced with concrete and the pier was extended. A shed roof was first built at the end of Hanalei Pier in the 1940s.
Today Hanalei Pier is a popular gathering place for local fishermen. Tourists and locals gather to watch the surf and the sunset and the keiki “children” take great pleasure in using the pier as a launching pad into Hanalei Bay
Location: Hanalei (45.6 miles from Poipu)
This is one of the best family beaches on the island. At 125 ft. wide and with over two miles of sand along the crescent-shaped bay, the surroundings are abundant with views of the verdant mountains rising in the background.
Hanalei Bay Beach is bordered by the Hanalei River to the east, and the Waipa River to the west, and there are two large coral reefs at both ends of the bay.
For those seeking ocean fun and diversity, the beach has a little of everything. The right side of the bay features a reef that creates ideal surfing conditions for those looking to catch some waves. Near the pier the waves are much more gentle, making it an ideal location for those new to the ocean or rookie wave riders. Boogie boarding is reliable along the central portion of the bay, and even some intermediate surfing is possible here. The crowds don`t flock to this beach, so there`s plenty of room for everyone at Hanalei Bay.
Location: Hanalei (45.1 miles from Poipu)
The Princeville Botanical Gardens is a stunning garden situated on the north shore of the Hawaiian island of Kauai. With its unique blend of native and exotic plants, the garden is a must-visit destination for plant enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Located on 8 acres of land, the Princeville Botanical Gardens offers visitors an opportunity to experience the wonders of the tropics in a unique and tranquil setting. The garden is home to a diverse collection of plants from all over the world, including rare and exotic species that are difficult to find elsewhere. One of the highlights of the garden is the tropical fruit orchard, which contains more than 30 different varieties of fruit trees, including mangoes, lychees, bananas, and papayas. Visitors are welcome to taste the fruits of the orchard during their visit. The garden`s other notable features include the koi pond, the medicinal herb garden, the bamboo grove, and the beautiful waterfalls. The garden`s knowledgeable guides are always on hand to provide information about the plants and the history of the garden.
Tours of the Princeville Botanical Gardens are available by reservation only and include a leisurely walk around the garden with a knowledgeable guide. The garden is open from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
Location: Kilauea (41.9 miles from Poipu)
Phone: (808) 634-5505
Nestled on the northern shore of Kauai, is a botanical wonderland known as the Limahuli Garden and Preserve. This beautiful garden and preserve are situated in the heart of the beautiful Limahuli Valley and are a testament to the unique flora and fauna that thrive on the island of Kauai. The lush, subtropical environment of Limahuli Garden and Preserve covers 1,000 acres of land and is home to a diverse array of native Hawaiian plants and animals. The garden was established in 1976 by the National Tropical Botanical Garden to protect and preserve the natural beauty of Kauai`s north shore.
Visitors to Limahuli Garden and Preserve can wander along peaceful walking trails that wind through dense, towering forests and over babbling streams. Along the way, they`ll encounter an incredible diversity of plants and animals, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Some of the most impressive sights in Limahuli Garden and Preserve include towering, centuries-old trees that soar towards the sky, and colorful life forms such as the Hawaii Amakihi and Omao birds, both of which are found in the valley.
Other highlights include the breathtaking views of the ocean and the lush mountain terrain. One of the most significant aspects of Limahuli Garden and Preserve is its commitment to sustainability and conservation. The garden uses sustainable farming practices and offers educational programs to visitors about the importance of protecting Hawaii`s natural resources. The garden also works alongside local communities to preserve traditional Hawaiian practices and knowledge about the environment. Limahuli Garden and Preserve is an excellent destination for nature lovers and anyone looking to get a deeper appreciation for the natural beauty of Kauai and Hawaii as a whole. Whether you`re strolling through the gardens or taking a guided tour, the garden offers an unforgettable experience that`s sure to leave a lasting impression on visitors.
Location: Hanalei (51 miles from Poipu)