A Photography Guide to the Most Beautiful Places in Kauai
Looking for the most beautiful places in Kauai? Well, you’re in luck because Kauai Hawaii is the prettiest place I have ever visited so I’m here to share the deets. From the second you walk off the plane you are immersed with tantalizing aromas, greenery like no other, and the most pristine beaches. This, my friends, is why they call it “The Garden Isle” and it is one of the best parts about this little slice of paradise. From the dramatic cliffs of the Na Pali coast, the Waimea Canyon’s gorgeous colors, and the most turquoise blue water I’ve ever seen, it’s easy to say that Kauai is my favorite Hawaiian island. That’s why I’ve created the “Most Beautiful Places in Kauai: a Photography Guide” to help make your trip the best it can be!
Queens Bath, North Shore Kauai
Queens Bath is a hidden treasure on the North Shore of Kauai. The legends say that royalty used to bathe in these tide pools and I can see it. There is a short hike to access the pools pictured above. I’ve written an entire Queens Bath Guide so make sure to check that out for more details. This spot can be dangerous to hike to during high tide and in the winter months. Finally, it’s best to experience Queens Bath in the summer when it’s low tide.
Waimea Canyon State Park
The Waimea Canyon located on the west side of Kauai is known as “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific”. It is a geological gem that spans 10 miles and goes 3,000 feet deep. The landscape is filled with orange, red, and green colors that will take your breath away. There are also many hiking trails that you can discover in this untouched paradise. I outline them all in my Ultimate Guide to Kauai Hawaii. If you prefer to just admire the beauty then you can from Waimea Canyon Lookout point. In order to enter Waimea Canyon State Park, there is a small $5 fee per person.
LOCALS ONLY TIP: Most of these locations involve hiking up / down steep, uneven, and sometimes muddy trails. When starting a hike, at the trailhead, take a look around, you might fight a walking stick which will really help you keep your balance as you make the hike up / down.
Wailua Falls, Kauai
Wailua Falls is a 173 ft waterfall is the main attraction for Kauai but what most don’t know is there is a trail to the bottom where you can capture the raw beauty of this waterfall up close and personal. If you have the athletic ability, the hike down will take you about 15 minutes but do know it is extremely advanced. I have scars to prove it. That aside, it was one of the most rewarding moments of my life to get down. Make sure to subscribe to my email list so you don’t miss the blog post dedicated to hiking Wailua Falls!
Polihale State Park
Polihale State Park is a remote beach on the western side of Kauai. It is actually the most western public access area and in order to access this beach, you need to drive on a long dirt road so make sure your vehicle is well equipped. Once you do reach the beach you will be rewarded with a remote stunning beach with a mountain backdrop and aqua blue water. Finally, this park is open every day from 5:30 am – 7:45 pm and there is no fee to enter.
Na Pali Coast
The dramatic mountainous cliffs of the Na Pali Coast are raw, untouched land that span for 17 miles. The emerald hues of the ridges that tower above the turquoise ocean make this one of the most beautiful coasts in the world. There are many ways to experience the Na Pali Coast but the most popular and safest ways are by air and sea. We chose the sea route and I could not recommend this boat tour more for all your sailing needs to experience the gem of Kauai! It is a 5-hour experience that includes a light lunch and snorkeling. If you opt to hike the Na Pali coast then you may do so by entering the Na Pali Coast state park located on the North Western side of the island. Finally, just so you know there are no filters on those photos that is how blue the water is!
Tunnels Beach, North Shore Kauai
Tunnels Beach is a locals beach on the North Shore popular for snorkeling, diving, surfing, and the crescent-shaped golden beach with views for days. This beach gets its name from the coral formations, lave tubes, tunnels, and arches all underwater. For that reason, this is one of the most popular dive spots in the world! Parking can be limited in the lot but some of the “road” turnouts from the main road have parking. Make sure to read the signs carefully friends!
Haena State Park
Haena State Park is located on the North Shore of Kauai. It’s often referred to as the “end of the road” since it marks the end point of Kuhio Highway. It includes Ke’e Beach, the Kalalau & Hanakapiai Beach/Falls trailhead, and two wet caves. Haena park has a daily visitor limit so you need to make a reservation in order to visit. Reservations open up 30 days prior to the date you are visiting. Finally, you could use the north shore shuttle if reservations are sold out for your date.
Hanalei Pier, North Shore Kauai Hawaii
The most charming picturesque town located on the North Shore of Kauai is called Hanalei. This small town is filled with shops, restaurants, and food trucks (open from 11 am-2 pm). The town surrounds the beautiful Hanalei Bay and there is a huge pier that is beautiful at sunset. Along with that, it’s a great place to hang out for the day and indulge in a few water sports. Consider this Kayak & Snorkel tour that comes highly rated!
Hanalei Valley Lookout is another stunning view on the North Shore of Kauai. It’s a prime place for photo opportunities during golden hour as the golden hues against the mountains and fields pair so nicely. There is a small parking lot that doesn’t require any fee. It’s on the way to Hanalei so it’s not to be missed!
Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge
Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge has the largest amount of nesting sea birds in the state. Because of this, it’s a great place for wildlife photography. Along with that, you can view humpback whales during whale watching season (October – May). The refuge is also home to the Daniel K. Inouye K?lauea Point lighthouse which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Finally, this is another spot where you need to make a reservation prior to visiting and they are only open Thursday – Saturday.
Red Dirt Falls
Mars or Hawaii? This small waterfall is on the way to the Waimea Canyon and can’t be missed! There are multiple places to park on the side of the road here, which makes it an easy spot to visit. If you’re looking to up your photo game, try jumping across the falls!
Secrets Beach Kauai Hawaii
Another locals-only beach is known for its seclusion, size, and beauty. Not only that but legend has it, that the cliffs that surround this beach have divine healing energy. You can catch yourself swimming with dolphins in these waters. A must-see if you’re in Kauai!
While all opinions and recommendations are always my own, my content on this blog post may contain affiliate links for products I use and love. This means I get a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking one of these links. As always, I am so thankful for your support!
What to Pack for Kauai to help your photos stand out
Hawaii has tons of lush backgrounds so I would opt for lighter colors to stand out against the greens and blues of this beautiful island:
- Bathing suits! If you overpack anything in your suitcase let it be this. Being that Tulum is full of beautiful beaches, ocean activities, and multiple cenotes you’ll always want to have bathing suits handy! I always find great suits at Aerie, Cupshe, + Revolve.
- A sturdy pair of flip-flops. These Olukai Sandals are my go-to and have lasted me years!
- Chic and comfortable slide sandals
- Flowy Dresses: These really come in handy when the temperatures are high in the spring/summer. My favorite white dress for photos is linked here, here + here.
- A wide brim sun hat: I love this one from Brixton I have it in multiple colors.
- Shorts: Abercrombie has the best shorts for all sizes and shapes. Check my favorite pairs that have lasted multiple seasons here. I also love my Levi cut-offs they’re so classic and never go out of style.
- Workout sets: I love getting mine from Lululemon because they last forever. If you’re on a budget, Amazon has some amazing Lululemon dupes that you can shop here.
Finally, I hope you enjoyed my “Most Beautiful Places in Kauai: a Photography Guide” and found some useful tips for your visit. If you’re planning a trip to Kauai you can’t miss my Ultimate Kauai Travel Guide! I’ve also got you covered on packing for Hawaii – head here for my Ultimate Hawaii Packing List!