The picturesque Garden Isle is, inarguably, one of God’s best artistic creations. Like the Napali coast on the north and Waimea Canyon on the west, there are ample scenic points to savor and capture on the island.
While the exotic mountain ranges and lush rainforests offer enthralling experiences, the simple joy of relaxing on a scenic beach feels equally satisfying on this magical island.
Considering all the amazing experiences offered in this paradise, wouldn’t it be great if you could cherish those moments for years to come?
In this blog post, we will be sharing the 6 most photographed locations on the island, so that you have the best photos in your collection to cherish your experiences and also share them with people who haven’t had the chance to visit Kauai.
1. Kilauea Lighthouse
As of today, Daniel K Inouye lighthouse, popularly known as the Kilauea lighthouse, is more than 100 years old and still stands solid on a rocky peninsula, several hundred feet above sea level.
This historic monument, located on the northernmost tip of the island, is home to several species of exotic birds, and is recognized as a wildlife refuge. If you have an eye for wildlife photography, this is a great spot as the photogenic birds and nature will graciously pose before your camera.
Wildlife photography aside, Kilauea lighthouse’s location makes it a perfect vantage point for capturing Kauai’s beautiful sunset and also spot Hawaiian Humpback Whales during the Whale Watching Season.
You can either pose below the lighthouse to share the frame with one of Kauai’s proud monuments, or take the shot from an elevated region before entering the refuge as it glorifies the lighthouse standing on the edge of the cliffs, kissing the blue ocean.
2. Napali Coast
Napali coast, located in the northwestern part of the island, is considered Kauai’s best natural wonder. It would not be wrong to call it the face of Kauai tourism as a Napali excursion is the most sought after activity on Kauai.
When you’re heading towards the Napali, it is recommended that you take your phone or camera completely charged as it is bound to be overused. The region is filled with a plethora of colorful and photogenic spots like the razor sharp mountains, intriguing sea caves, beautiful reef formation and marine life.
There are different options to access the Napali coast, such as hiking the Kalalau trail, seeing it from the Kalalau lookout on Kokee road and by taking a boat or helicopter tour. Choose the one that suits your needs as photo opportunities vary with each choice.
If you are not an avid hiker and want to avoid the 11-mile Kalalau Trail, we recommend that you take our boat tour as our knowledgeable crew and catamarans are fully equipped to help you explore the Napali coast in intimate detail, giving scope for plenty of insta-worthy photos to cherish for a lifetime.
Ke’e beach: This beach is located on the north-western shore of Kauai where the road ends and the Napali coast starts. Ke’e beach is famous for the hard hitting north shore waves that form a brilliant backdrop for a memorable photo.
The best part, however, is the view of the Napali coast, especially during sunset, which becomes clear after a quarter mile walk along the beach. The beautiful reef and ocean lagoons call for a beautiful shot when the waters are calm.
Mahaulepu Beach and Heritage Trail: This uncrowded beach along the south eastern shore of the island is best known for the Mahaulepu Heritage trail. The coast is lined by limestone rocks and sand dunes and is one of the few places on the island where you can spot Hawaiian Monk Seals and Humpback Whales during the season. There are some beautiful vantage points along the trail that will lead to amazing photographs.
Hanalei Beach: Hanalei Pier, fronting Back Pot beach, has graced many Hollywood movies and is a top spot for capturing the sunset in Hanalei area. After getting a nice shot, you can keep your camera at a safe place and take a jump from the pier, plunging into the ocean, for a refreshing dip in the azure Pacific waters.
4. Wailua Falls
Remember the twin tiered waterfall featured in the opening credits of popular television series “Fantasy Island”? Yes, the 140ft tall waterfall belongs to Kauai and is located in the Wailua Region in East Kauai. The bird’s eye view of the falls has graced many postcards and, thus, has successfully lured tourists all over the world to come to Kauai and see it for real.
Wailua Falls is located on the southern end of Wailua River and can be accessed by heading north of Lihue along Maloo Road in Hanamaulu. Easy accessibility and well maintained viewing area makes Wailua Falls one of the most photographed locations in Kauai.
Some photographers with a keen eye for nature, do not mind taking the risk of hiking down the unmaintained path that leads to the base of the falls. Wailua river is another great photo opportunity in the region and is located just across the road from Wailua falls lookout.
5. Waimea Canyon
Mark Twain called this “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific” and he did so for a good reason. The gigantic canyon area steals attention with its brilliant color palette and valleys formed by millions of years of erosion by rain and river water.
The canyon can be photographed by either one of the lookout points along Waimea Canyon Drive. However, the best way to access it is via Waipoo Falls Trail as it reveals the canyon more intimately, uncovering its depths with every step.
After passing through a couple of amazing lookout points, the trail ends on the top of Waipoo Falls, which is another visually appealing point that will blow your senses away.
6. Spouting Horn
This natural blowhole on the south shore near Poipu, witnesses heavy tourist traffic and is a highly photographed location on the island.
Spouting horn mainly comprises of a lava tube located amidst a rocky coastline. The fierce ocean waves flow through the channel, and ooze out with high pressure, thereby creating a natural fountain that shoots up to 40ft in height.
If timing is on your side, you can have a picture-perfect moment when the water begins to shoot up. If you can also capture the rainbow formation that happens when sunlight strikes the water mist, it would be icing on the cake!
Summary and Infographic
Some hidden locations on the island can only be captured from a boat, helicopter or a drone, both of which require prior preparation. But you can rest assured that the effort will be highly rewarding.
While the above discussed locations are something to look forward to on your next visit to Kauai, they are not all you have on the island. Kauai is a bright, intriguing and photogenic island that will surprise you with amazing, frame-worthy locations along your way.
We are sure you’ll have a great time visiting these places. Do share your favourite Kauai photo locations with us.