Exploring Kauai North Shore

KauaiHawaii’s beautiful North Shore is famous for being one of the best places to surf. In fact, a TV show was made about a group of professional surfers called Boarding House: North Shore. 

Most travel guides describe the North Shore as anything north of Kapa`a on Kauai’s Coconut Coast. Between Kapa`a and Anahola are several beautiful beaches, as well as some pullouts along Highway 56 where you can see north to south along the coast. Anahola offers one of the best views of the Kalalea Mountain.

From Anahola to Kilauea, there’s not much to see. But upon entering Kilauea there are several places worth seeing, such as the Kilauea National Wildlife Refuge. This is the northernmost point in the main Hawaiian Islands.

The lighthouse is another must-see place. Plenty of birds, including the Laysan Albatross, make this refuge their nesting place. These birds can also be seen just slightly offshore on Moku`ae`ae Island. Just bring your binoculars and camera for your bird-watching.

From Kilauea you can proceed to Princeville or Hanalei Lookout for some of the most breathtaking views of Hawaii.

Going farther from Hanalei Lookout, the highway number changes from 56 to 560. The road narrows a bit as it curves down into Hanalei Valley. The road circles the river as it makes its way into the town of Hanalei. Hanalei is another place worth exploring. It also houses a number of the best restaurants in Kauai.

One of the beaches you’ll pass by on the highway from Hanalei is the Lumaha`i Beach. Lumaha`i Beach’s claim to fame: much of the cinema classic South Pacific was filmed here. It’s not very easy to get to the beach as the path is difficult to find, and the walk down is a bit slippery, but the view of the beach is really awesome.

Ke`e Beach is the end of the road. Here you can go hiking along the Kalalau Trail’s northern part along the Napali Coast. A word of advice: make sure you are in shape and have the necessary gears as the trail is quite steep and rocky.

It takes about an hour and 45 minutes to get from Ke`e Beach to Lihue, depending on the traffic. You will most likely encounter traffic during late afternoons on weekdays, particularly if you pass through Anahola and Kapa`a.

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