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The Ultimate Road Trip Guide to Kauai

Updated: Apr 27

Kauai, also called the "Garden Isle", is Hawaii's fourth largest island. This island is just breathtaking with beautiful landscapes, and pristine beaches, just a short 40-minute flight from Oahu, and one of the best places to visit during your Hawaii vacation. During my visit to Kauai, I was blown away by the natural beauty of the island. In this post, I'm going to share with you my 2-day road trip guide through Kauai.

Photo: Pictures of my view of Kauai from the airplane

Day 1: Westside of Kauai

We landed at the Lihue Airport in Kauai around 10 am and purchased a rental car. We started our journey on Highway 50. We planned to explore the west side of the island, visit Waimea Canyon, and hike at least one trail. 

One of our first stops along the route was the Hanapepe Valley Lookout.

Next, we stopped in Hanapepe Town. Hanapepe Town is known as "Kauai's biggest little town" and was once one of Kauai's largest towns.  The downtown is really cute and has charm. There were maybe 6 shops that you could go in and a few local eateries.

We drove up Highway 50 until we reached Highway 550 and continued our journey.

Must see stops along highway 550:

Photo: Red Dirt Waterfall

After leaving the Hohonu Awawa Lookout, we drove to Waimea Canyon State Park. Waimea Canyon is known as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific" and is 14 miles long and 1 mile wide. This Canyon is spectacular!

Photo: Waimea Canyon

Tip: There is a lookout point, but it's $10 for parking and another $10 ($5/person) to see it. We paid the fee but I would recommend driving a little past the lookout point and there is another view of the canyon that is just as spectacular and it's free!

Next, we headed to the Waimea Canyon Trail to get some hiking in.

We decided to complete the Canyon Trail to Waipo'o falls. This popular 3-mile out-and-back hike was rated as moderate. I feel like there were a few challenging uphill sections on this hike, but the views were so worth it.

Tip: According to All Trails this trail is 3 miles, but, there are a few trails that connect with this one, so you can easily go over 3 miles if you are not careful. Find out more about the trail here

After hiking we headed to Kekaha Beach to catch the sunset.

Day 2: Eastside of Kauai

We started our morning in Lihue and headed to Kapa'a, HI for breakfast.

Kapa'a is a charming beach town with local coffee shops, restaurants, and souvenir shops.

Next up , we stopped at Kealia Beach

We continued our trip up Hwy 56 and stopped at a few beautiful beaches and picturesque lookout points along the way.

We drove all the way until we reached our last stop, Ke'e Beach.

Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to do any hiking on this side of the island or visit the south shore so we will try to do that the next time we go. If you are thinking about visiting the Hawaiian Islands soon, check out  for more travel tips, travel guides, and the best time to visit the island.


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Ernest TriceSr
Ernest TriceSr
Jun 14, 2022

Very nice. Great pictures that add to the narrative. Look forward to your next post.

Stephanie Daniels
Stephanie Daniels
Nov 23, 2022
Replying to

Thank you for your comment! I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures! Have a great day!

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