Southside Attractions

Hawaii State Public Libraries

There are six libraries on the Island of Kauai: Hanapepe, Kapaa, Koloa, Lihue, Princeville, and Waimea, and 50 branches in the State of Hawaii. What is unique about the Hawaii system is that you can borrow a library book at any library in Hawaii and return it to any other. Non-residents can get a library card for 3 months for $10 or 5 years for $25. For information please click here.

The Hawaii State Public Library System offers free Wi-Fi access to cardholders in all of its branches.

The Hawaii State Public Library has a mobile app. The app can be used to browse the HSPLS catalog, scan a barcode from a book, DVD, or CD to check availability, view a list of checked-out items and renew items, view a list of reserved items and place and cancel holds, and check account information such as items borrowed due dates and fines.

It is a fantastic system.

Kauai Rodeos

The Koloa Plantation Days Rodeo is hosted by CJM Stables and is part of the celebration of the good old days of the plantation era. As mentioned on their site, the rodeo includes Hawaiian classic events such as poo wai u which is an event simulating wild cattle of the old paniolo days, double mugging, along with team roping, women`s barrel racing, and wahine steer riding.

The Waimea Round Up Rodeo is the largest traditional rodeo in all of the Hawaiian Islands and helps celebrate the history and community of Waimea. The rodeo takes place at the Friendship Do Ranch, right between that stretch from Waimea to Kekaha. You can expect very much of the same type of events but the fun extends into two days.

Pau a Laka Garden – Moir Gardens at Kiahuna Plantation

Kiahuna Plantation Resort, in Poipu, is built on the grounds of what used to be the plantation manager`s estate for Hawaii`s first sugar plantation, Koloa Plantation. The historic manor house, dating back to the early 1930s, now houses one of the resort`s front office.

The plantation manor was originally a wedding gift to Alexandra “Sandie” Knudsen and Hector Moir who moved into the manor house shortly after their wedding in 1930. Hector was employed by Koloa Sugar Company, and in 1933 became Manager of the company, the oldest sugar plantation in the Territory of Hawaii.

The manor house was the hub of plantation society on Kauai`s south shore. The house comfortably held 150 guests and the Moirs hosted numerous elegant social gatherings where the men wore coats and ties and the ladies dressed in evening gowns.

Sandie Moir started the now-famous gardens as a hobby. The gardens were named Pa`u a Laka after the ancient Hawaiian name for the area. It means “skirt of Laka,” the Hawaiian goddess of hula. Throughout the years, she added rare and exotic cacti, succulents, trees such as coconut, wiliwili, and kou, and a section for orchids and bromeliads. The garden was lovingly landscaped with lily ponds, cascading pools, and lava rock.

By 1948, the garden had drawn international attention and was classified as “one of the ten best cactus and succulent gardens in the world,” By the mid-1960 thousands of people a year were visiting the “Pa`u a Laka Garden.”

In 1968, the Moirs retired from their “garden operations,” moving to Phoenix Arizona, and leasing the manor house and land to a mainland corporation. Eventually, Kiahuna Plantation Resort was built on the land surrounding the manor house and garden.


Kaneiolouma is a historic site located in Poipu. It is believed to be the last remaining ancient Hawaiian village that has not been fully excavated or developed. This sacred land holds great significance for the Hawaiian people and is considered to be a cultural treasure. Kaneiolouma was once a prosperous agricultural and fishing village that was home to hundreds of Hawaiians. It is believed to date back to the 1400s and was occupied until the late 1800s. The village consisted of several large heiau (temples), houses, and fishponds.

Despite the importance of Kaneiolouma to Hawaiian history and culture, the site has faced significant threats over the years. The land was initially damaged by cattle grazing and agricultural practices in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

More recently, development pressures have also posed a threat to the site. In response to these threats, a group of concerned citizens formed the Kaneiolouma Heritage Trust in 1995. The trust was formed to protect and restore the site and to share the history and culture of Kaneiolouma with the community. Thanks to the efforts of the Kaneiolouma Heritage Trust, the site has been partially restored and is now open to the public for guided tours.

Visitors can learn about the history and significance of Kaneiolouma while exploring the existing heiau and fishponds. The tours are led by knowledgeable guides who are well-versed in the history and culture of the site. In addition to the guided tours, the Kaneiolouma Heritage Trust also hosts cultural events and educational programs. These events are designed to share the history and significance of Kaneiolouma with visitors and to help preserve and protect the site for future generations. A visit to Kaneiolouma is a must-see. It offers a unique glimpse into the history and culture of the Hawaiian people and is a testament to the importance of preserving our cultural heritage.

National Tropical Botanical Gardens

The National Tropical Botanical Gardens (NTBG) is a non-profit organization that focuses on the conservation of tropical plants and ecosystems. The organization maintains five gardens throughout Hawaii, and one of the most popular is located in the Poipu region of Kauai. The gardens in Poipu span over 200 acres, and are home to over 1,500 species of endangered and rare tropical plants. The gardens feature a variety of habitats, including swamps, forests, and waterways, and visitors can explore these various ecosystems on guided tours. Speaking of tours, the NTBG offers a variety of tours in the Poipu garden, each with a specific focus. For example, the Behind the Scenes tour takes visitors off the beaten path, allowing them to explore areas not typically open to the public.

The Sunset Tour offers a different perspective, with visitors exploring the gardens during the cool, peaceful hours of the evening. In addition to tours, the NTBG offers a range of events and activities for visitors to enjoy. One unique offering is the weekly yoga class, held on Wednesdays in the gardens. The class offers a dose of mindfulness and tranquility amidst the natural beauty of the gardens. Another popular aspect of the gardens is the Aloha Market, held every Thursday from 10 to 2 with a free hula performance.

The market features local vendors selling handmade crafts, food, and more. Visitors can find unique souvenirs and gifts, all while enjoying the beautiful surroundings of the gardens. Overall, the National Tropical Botanical Gardens in Poipu is a must-see for anyone visiting Kauai. From guided tours to special events, there is always something new to discover in these pristine tropical gardens.

Location: Poipu

Makauwahi Cave Reserve

The Makauwahi Cave Reserve is one of the island`s most unique and awe-inspiring natural wonders. This 17-acre reserve is home to the largest limestone cave in Hawaii and is also renowned for its diverse ecosystem of plants and animals, including a group of friendly and ancient creatures – the Hawaiian tortoises. The Makauwahi Cave Reserve is a remarkable geological feature that offers a glimpse into the island`s rich history. The cave was formed over 10,000 years ago through the natural process of erosion and sinkholes. Over the years, it has served as a shelter for numerous plant and animal species, creating a thriving ecosystem that is now protected by the reserve.

One of the most notable aspects of the Makauwahi Cave Reserve is the presence of Hawaiian tortoises. These gentle giants are a beloved attraction among visitors and locals alike. The tortoises are often seen strolling through the reserve`s lush gardens and around the edges of the cave`s opening. They are friendly and approachable, making them a popular photo opportunity for visitors. In addition to the tortoises, the Makauwahi Cave Reserve is home to a diverse range of plants and animals. The reserve`s gardens showcase a variety of native and exotic species, including breadfruit, canoe plants, and even a working taro patch. The plants provide habitat and food for a variety of animals, including endangered bird species such as the Hawaiian moa. Exploring the Makauwahi Cave Reserve is an unforgettable experience that offers a unique glimpse into the natural beauty and rich history of Kauai.

Visitors can take a guided tour of the cave with a knowledgeable guide who will provide insights into the cave`s formation and the diverse ecosystem that has flourished within it. Plus, visitors can also marvel at the prehistoric bones and artifacts found within the cave, which offer a window into the island`s ancient past. In conclusion, the Makauwahi Cave Reserve is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Kauai. Its stunning natural beauty, diverse ecosystem, and the presence of friendly Hawaiian tortoises make it a unique and unforgettable experience. Visitors to the reserve will leave with a newfound appreciation for the island`s rich cultural and natural heritage.

Location: Poipu near Mahaulepu

Koloa Heritage Trail

The Koloa Heritage Trail is an excellent way to explore the rich history and stunning beauty of Kauai. This trail features several must-see landmarks such as:

1. Spouting Horn Park: This park is home to one of the island`s most famous natural wonders, Spouting Horn. The waves rushing into a lava tube create a large spray of water that rises high into the air, providing a magnificent spectacle.

2. Prince Kuhio Birthplace and Park: This park is named after Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana`ole, who was born on this site in 1871. Prince Kuhio`s birthday, March 26, is a state holiday, and a celebration is held each year at the park. Keep an eye out for the remains of a heiau or temple, fish pond, house platform, game field, or taro terraces.

3. Hanakaape Bay and Koloa Landing: This picturesque bay was once an important landing place for sailors, traders, and fishermen. Today, visitors can enjoy the beautiful scenery, including a natural bridge and a small beach that is home to sea turtles, snorkelers, and divers.

4. Pau a Laka (Moir Gardens): This botanical garden was named after the founder, Alexandra Moir, who began collecting rare plants in the early 1930s. Pau a Laka has grown to include more than 30 acres of lush flora and fauna.

5. Kihahouna Heiau: This ancient Hawaiian temple was built more than 400 years ago and was used for religious ceremonies, including human sacrifices. Today, visitors can see the remaining lava stones and learn about Hawaiian spirituality.

6. Poipu Beach Park: One of the most popular beaches on Kauai, Poipu is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and watching sea turtles and monk seals.

7. Keoneloa Bay: Also known as Shipwreck Beach due to a wrecked vessel on the shoreline, visitors can enjoy stunning views of the ocean, surfers, and surrounding cliffs here.

8. Makwehi and Paa Dunes: Kauai`s sand dunes are a unique and beautiful feature of the island. Visitors can hike through the dunes and enjoy a beautiful view of the ocean from the top.

9. Puuwanwanwana Volcanic Cone: This stunning peak is one of the most distinctive landmarks on the island. Visitors can hike to the top to enjoy panoramic views of Poipu.

10. Hapa Road: This small road has a rich history, serving as a site for Hawaiian homes, Chinese sugarcane plantations, and Japanese farms. Today, visitors can see the remains of these diverse cultural influences.

11. Koloa Jodo Mission: This historic Buddhist temple was built in 1910 and is now a National Historic Landmark. Visitors can explore the beautiful architecture and learn about the Japanese immigrants who established this temple.

12. Sugar Monument: This monument honors the workers who labored in Kauai`s sugar cane plantations. It is a reminder of the critical role these workers played in shaping the island`s history and culture.

13. Yamamoto Store and Koloa Hotel: The Yamamoto Store and Koloa Hotel were established in the late 1800s and are two of the oldest buildings in Koloa. Visitors can learn about the town`s early development and see these iconic buildings.

14. Koloa Missionary Church: This church was established by American Protestant missionaries who traveled to Hawaii in the early 1800s. It is now a beautiful landmark and an excellent place to learn about Hawaiian Christianity.