Breathtaking natural attractions in Kauai

It's no secret that Hawaii is full of ecotourism allure – from waterfalls to mountains to miles and miles of beaches. The islands of Maui and Oahu tend to get a lot of the attention. However, there are a lot of big-name natural attractions located on the sleepier island of Kauai. Because of its lush, green and truly spectacular vistas along the coast as well as further inland, Kauai has often served as the backdrop for several major Hollywood films.

Kauai rentals are the perfect vacation option for the traveler who wants to truly experience a Hawaiian getaway, but wants to keep his or her distance from major crowds. Perfect for honeymooners and couples, Kauai is quite the romantic locale thanks to its beautiful backdrop.

However, the landscape is ideal for nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts and explorers due to the various protected parks and refuges in the area. Because many of these areas are protected, much of Kauai's natural surroundings remain remarkably intact and untouched. Here are a few great parks, protected lands and refuges to consider checking out during your stay in Kauai condo rentals:

The Wailua Falls are a breathtaking sight Kauai. The Wailua Falls are a breathtaking sight on Kauai.

Wailua Falls

This is perhaps the most famous natural attraction on Kauai, and for good reason. The waterfalls were the famous opening scene for "Fantasy Island," however, travelers have been enjoying the 140-foot waterfall for centuries. The falls are also quite easy to get to, even if you aren't much of a hiker. In fact, Wailua Falls can be seen from the road, so all you'll need is a car rental to get to experience one of the most amazing sights in all of Hawaii.

Because of the magnitude of the falls, rainbows are common, which makes for some pretty spectacular photos – don't forget your camera.

Waimea Canyon State Park

According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, many people call the Waimea Canyon the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific," and rightfully so. All it takes is one look at this place to realize why Waimea Canyon has earned this worthy moniker. The canyon stretches for 14 miles, and is around one mile wide and 3,600 feet deep. The gorge is colorful, rugged and has several lookout points for visitors. You can even bring the kids along to this geological site, as there are trails for beginners and experts alike.

No matter who you are traveling with, you'll want to see the Waimea Canyon for yourself, as it is the largest canyon in the Pacific and has been carved due to various geological formations – including volcanic eruptions. If you're already making a visit to Koke'e State Park, the Waimea Canyon is protected and connected to the green space, so it's well worth making a whole day of this visit.

The Na Pali Coast

The Na Pali Coast is a must-see if you are staying in a Kauai beach rental on the North Shore of the island, especially if you thrive on ocean views. All of the wonders of Hawaii seem to be located here, including the trademark green mountains, cascading waterfalls and awe-inspiring views of the Pacific.

Five various valleys make up the Kalalau Trail, which begins at Kee Beach and concludes at Kalalau Beach, considered some of the best stretches of sand on the entire island. This is also the only pathway that grants travelers land access to the coastline.

Kauai offers some of the most dramatic regions of Hawaii. Kauai offers some of the most dramatic ecological features of Hawaii.

Travelers should know that if they want to explore the Kalalau Trail, it is one of the more challenging hikes on the island. In fact, many avid adventurers will attest to the sliding soil and at times rough pathways here – be sure to take precautions, especially during rainier seasons in the winter months. Even if you don't enjoy exploring on foot, the Na Pali Coast offers boat and air tours as well as kayaking adventures that can allow you to explore this scenic attraction in many different ways.

Nounou Mountain, Hawaii's Sleeping Giant

Speaking of hiking trails, it doesn't get much better than lacing up your boots and enjoying the views of Nounou Mountain on the east coast of the island. The mountain gets this nickname because if you look at the range from a distance, it has the appearance of a man sleeping on his back. According to local lore, the giant ate a lot of fish, laid down for a nap near the east coast and has continued dozing to this very day.

However, don't let the sleepy title fool you – there's plenty of action to be had on Nounou Mountain, especially when it comes to hiking trails. The mountain is also easily accessible from Wailua's Halelilo Road.

Be sure to enjoy all of these natural attractions during your stay in Kauai house rentals. After all of the exploring you're bound to do here, you'll need a place to relax and unwind.