Kauai’s gorgeous contrasts of land and sea often make it a top choice for first-time guests to Oahu who are seeking a secondary island visit. The visitors who already know of the Garden Isle’s scenery find that a vacation rental here serves as a sanctuary and base for adventurous excursions. Kauai gives its guests an opportunity to discover outdoor splendor, much of which is hidden. Green lands, captivating sunsets, rich red soil, native birds flying overhead and the cliffs atop bold mountain landscapes create the paths that hikers seek, with a rewarding finish in Kauai’s waterfalls.
A good start for gentle family hikes, Opaekaa Falls is a photo site and a place to wander a bit. You might walk around and see some chickens gathering along the side of the road on the red dirt. The 150’ overlook is a scene year-round and the falls replicate a sense of rolling shrimp (Hawaiian words: opae for shrimp and ka’a for rolling). Walk toward the lookout over the Wailea River Valley and you’ll find scenes from films, including Outbreak, Jurassic Park and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Explore the East Side of Kauai with a hike around Opaekaa Falls area, culminating in a pre-packed gourmet lunch at one of the picnic tables.
After a local lunch, as a bonus, check out Wailua Falls, also on East Kauai. Once the backdrop of every beginning episode of Fantasy Island, it’s no wonder, and this will reinforce your decision that a vacation rental on Kauai was worth it, if only for the waterfall hikes. Wailua Falls is a double vision, with parallel cascading streams bursting down 80’. Choose the more meandering (and safer) hike if you’re interested in seeing the surrounding landscapes, but always hike safely and keep in mind that it’s an unofficial trail.
A departure from the more accessible waterfalls, Hanakapiai Falls are approximately 1600’ in total height. The thrill seeker will find the spot four miles into the Kalalau Trail on Kauai’s North Shore. It’s quite the trek, both physically and scenery-wise so take supplies with you, including nourishment. Watch out for falling rocks and top off the experience with a dip in the pool. Kalihiwai Falls, also on Kauai’s North Shore, are popular for weddings and also for the daily diversions visitors seek. Whether by horseback or on foot, a hike here reveals a two-tiered waterfall, sprinkling with foaming waters. Consider an organized hike through a tour operator—the adjacent bridge and traffic in the area are two factors that make this place popular for local residents and visitors.
Mia Huna Estate in Kalihiwai on Kauai’s North Shore is a retreat for families, small group of friends or a couple seeking the ultimate in privacy and comfort. The sparkle from the sapphire blue waters will keep you mesmerized in the morning on the semi-covered balcony. Grind some good Kona coffee beans and curl up to watch the soothing scene. The home offers plenty of nearby activities, a hot tub, garden and mountain views and your own pleasant hike to Secret Beach in addition to the North Shore’s waterfall hikes. If you must work, then park yourself at the desk overlooking the Garden Isle’s lush valleys.
Guests of Sandcastles at Aliomanu Beach find themselves luxuriating on the patio with a mimosa by morning and cocktails by early evening. After a day of exploring Kauai’s gentler and more adventurous waterfall hikes, soak your muscles in the hot tub and then sink into comfy beds. Each day begins with sunny serenity and plenty of lawn of your own, a path to a hike of your own private beach, Aliomanu. The spacious home is ideal for a romantic escape from everything except accessibility to Kauai’s most scenic spots.
Planning a vacation to Kauai? Check out our selection of Kauai vacation rentals to fully experience the Garden Isle.