What is Kauai Known For? 12 Things You Didn’t Know

Kauai, the oldest and northernmost island in the Hawaiian archipelago, is a paradise that visitors just can’t resist.

Home to stunning hiking trails, jaw-dropping waterfalls, mesmerizing beaches, and some of the most picturesque landscapes on Earth, Kauai has become famous worldwide as a tropical vacation destination.

However, Kauai has so much to offer beyond what meets the eye; here are 12 things you didn’t know about Kauai:

Quick Answer: What is Kauai Known For?

Known as the 2nd wettest place on Earth, Kauai's nickname, The Garden Isle, is derived from the abundance of lush rainforests, dramatic landscape and stunning beaches.

Due to its diverse landscape, Kauai is known for various outdoor activities such as hiking, snorkeling, and surfing.

The most famous landmarks in Kauai include Waimea Canyon, Na Pali Coast, Wailua Falls, and Poipu Beach Park.


1. Wettest Places on Earth

Kauai is home to one of the wettest places on Earth – Mount Waialeale. This peak receives an average of 450 inches of rain per year, making it a haven for plant and animal life alike.

Nature enthusiasts flock to the island in droves every year to witness this spectacular rainforest environment in its natural state.

Plus, locals say that after the rain comes a rainbow – so you can always expect a colorful surprise if you visit!

stunning beach in Kauai
stunning beach in Kauai

2. Stunning Beaches

When it comes to beaches, Kauai has them in spades! With its unique geography and natural beauty, this Hawaiian island is the perfect place to kick back, relax and enjoy some of the most gorgeous shores in the world.

Whether you’re looking for rugged cliffs, sunny white-sand shores or tranquil coves, don’t be afraid to don your swimsuit and explore one of nature’s greatest gifts.

It’s no wonder that so many people come here each year to soak up the sun and surf – after all, those beaches aren’t going anywhere anytime soon!

3. History

Kauai is known for its long, rich history. It’s even believed that the original Polynesian settlers arrived here in canoes more than 1,500 years ago!

From discovering historical sites at Waimea Canyon and the incredible Menehune Fishpond to learning about Hawaiian culture at Limahuli Gardens and Preserve, Kauai is packed with stories from historic voyages, immigrant settlers and kings of old.

Going off the beaten path, Makauwahi Cave is quite the hidden gem and makes for a memorable activity.

This large sinkhole is overflowing with fossilized remains and there’s plenty to marvel at in this geological goldmine – it may just be the most interesting excavation site in the Pacific!

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4. The Na Pali Coast

Kauai is one of the most beautiful islands in the world, and there’s no better place to experience its raw, breathtaking beauty than at the Na Pali Coast.

Here, grand cliffs, lush green valleys and sparkling blue-green waters paint a jaw-droppingly majestic picture – it’s definitely something you want to tick off your Kauai bucket list!

Although you can easily take a helicopter or boat ride along this stunning coastline, we think it’s much more fun to go on foot – who needs transportation when you can get the adrenaline rush of sweating it out for twelve hours?

The Na Pali Coast Trail stretches 22 miles along steep mountainsides and rocky shorelines, offering spectacular views and unique wildlife sightings. Besides, the scenery looks that much more magnificent when you see it up close!

Na Pali Coast Kauai
Na Pali Coast Kauai

5. Undisturbed Beauty

If a tropical getaway is what you’re after, Kauai will not disappoint. It’s the oldest island in the Hawaiian chain and, luckily for us adventurers, hasn’t been completely discovered and spoiled by urban sprawl.

The only sounds you’ll hear on Kauai is of crashing waves and singing birds!

Despite its small size, Kauai boasts unrivaled natural beauty and plenty of experiences only reached by venturing off the beaten track- whether that be a small boat or a helicopter ride.

So if it’s undisturbed beauty (and maybe, just maybe) an Indiana Jones-style journey you’re looking for, then pack your swimsuit and hiking boots, ’cause we’ve got ourselves a destination.

6. Waimea Canyon

If you think the Grand Canyon in Arizona is grand, just wait until you see Waimea Canyon.

Often called the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”, Waimea Canyon provides a view that could almost make you feel like an eagle soaring above Hawaii’s lush garden isle of Kauai.

A great vantage point to observe the beauty and romance of nature, Waimea Canyon has been enchanted by visitors from around the world for generations.

If you’re looking for spectacular scenery so magnificent it will leave your jaw on the floor, Waimea Canyon won’t disappoint!

7. Different Microclimates

Kauai boasts 7 unique microclimates, ranging from lush tropical rainforest and misty mountains to a drier environment on the West coast.

It can be raining on the North Shore while other regions bathe in bright sunshine, or volcanic forces combine with ocean winds to create a humid, yet breezy environment — each local community experiences a different climate.

Kauai’s impressive array of microclimates keeps even the most seasoned traveler on their toes!

Waterfall in Kauai
Waterfall in Kauai

8. Waterfalls

Kauai is known as The Garden Isle, but its waterfalls truly give it a place of distinction. Visitors often marvel at their powerful beauty, cascading down to form deep, emerald pools and pulsing rapids that fill the air with a misty spray.

Although Hawaii’s fourth-largest island covers only 553 square miles, Kauai boasts hundreds of waterfalls located in rainforest canopies, deep ravines and in the beds of rivers.

The Wailua Falls are perhaps the most iconic due to their recurring appearances on shows like “Fantasy Island.”

Those seeking an even more awe-inspiring sight can take a helicopter tour around these majestic tumbles of white water.

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9. Beautiful Sunsets

Kauai is home to some of the most unforgettable sunsets in Hawaii, with a vibrant red and orange sunset that often reflects on the glassy blue ocean.

Of course, pure bliss isn’t complete without the heavenly background music of waves lapping against the shore.

If there’s one thing that’s for sure about Kauai, it’s that the magical sunsets are always ready to put on an unforgettable show.

10. Hiking Trails

If you’re an adventurer looking for your next daring endeavor, Kauai offers some of the most thrilling hiking routes you’ll ever have the chance to explore.

With lush forests to wander through and tropical scenery that will take your breath away, it’s sure to provide plenty of once-in-a-lifetime memories.

The Kalalau Trail is one of the best hikes on Kauai, passing through eleven miles of spectacular mountain ranges and coastal views before reaching Kalalau Beach. Some even say that it’s one of the most dangerous hikes in the USA!

Whatever route you decide to take, you can rest assured that the challenging terrain and unforgettable sights will make for a delightful experience that you won’t soon forget. Your only regret? Leaving!

Kalalau Trail Nā Pali Coast State Park Kauai Hawaii
Kalalau Trail Nā Pali Coast State Park Kauai Hawaii

11. Incredible Wildlife

Kauai is a wildlife lover’s paradise; a diverse island that’s home to some of the most unique in the world.

Endangered Hawaiian monk seals live on Kauai’s beaches and can often be seen in the clear waters.

You’ll also spot sea turtles, playful dolphins, colorful tropical fish and gorgeous manta rays along the shores.

Kauai is also one of the best Hawaiian islands to go whale watching; humpback whales breach and frolic in the natural beauty of this incredible island.

The island offers so many opportunities for exploration and discovery of these wondrous beasts – take a stroll through the lush foliage, immerse yourself in the sea and you’re sure to find something wonderful.

12. Kilauea Lighthouse

Kilauea Lighthouse is so breathtakingly beautiful – it’s no wonder it’s one of the most photographed landmarks on Kauai.

It was built in 1913 and still stands tall at its prime post, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and serving as a beacon of hope to all who visit – even photographers!

The historic lighthouse has remarkable views of the nearby cliffs and sandy beaches, making it easy to capture its beauty on camera.