Your third day on beautiful Kauai, let's make it special.
General: DIY / How-To
|Guide Series: Kauai Vacation Itinerary
Many people find that Day 3 is when they really start settling in and getting into their Kauai groove. Your body is (hopefully) fully adjusted to Hawaii Time now. Maybe you're even enjoying the slower pace of life that we call Island Time (see Hawaii Living: Island Time). You're eager to get out and do stuff but let's take it slow so you don't get burnt out too quickly. This is a vacation and we don't want to wear you out so you'll need a vacation after your vacation!
On your Kauai Itinerary - Day 2 we saw Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Park, the most popular attractions that are relatively easy to reach on Kauai. Today we want to see something even more incredible and that's the Napali Coast. Kauai's Napali Coast is the west side of the island that isn't reachable by car (as there are no roads).
So how do we get there? There are three ways you can access the Na Pali Coast. You can reach it by air (helicopter), boat, or an incredibly long and difficult hike on the Kalalau Trail. For the vast majority of people, the full hike is simply not an option but we'll get to that more on Kauai Itinerary - Day 4.
For today, let's get you on a boat tour to go see the Na Pali Coast. Many of these tours will depart from the south side of the island at the Port Allen Small Boat Harbor or Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor. Others may depart from the north side of the island near Hanalei Beach Park (Black Pot Beach).
Empty, hidden, secluded beaches your thing?
Tours come in many varieties so some will be all about sightseeing from the boat, some may include snorkeling along the way, and others may land you on the difficult to reach Kalalau Beach for a picnic and/or darting in and out of sea caves in the area. No matter what you choose, this is sure to be a highlight of your entire trip to Kauai.
Depending on the time of your boat tour, you'll either have time before or after to explore. Since many of the boat tours launch from the south side of the island, we'll assume you are in that area. If you're on the north side of the island instead, you may want to look at Kauai Itinerary - Day 4 and pull some of those ideas out as driving from one side to the other is a major time waster we want to avoid today.
So, on the south side right near Port Allen Small Boat Harbor is an oddity of a beach known simply as Glass Beach. This is not a beach you'll go sunbathe at and you certainly won't swim or snorkel here. In fact, the area is pretty gross as it's right behind some petroleum storage tanks. But what is here is tons and tons of sea glass, beach glass, or whatever you want to call it. Small and medium bits of glass that have been tumbled and smoothed in the ocean for years washes up on this beach better than anywhere else in Hawaii.
If you have kids, they'll love beachcombing for little beach glass gems. It's not for everyone but if you're in the area it's a neat place to visit. Now, it will always have glass but certain times are better than others. It's a fun detour.
Another possible detour would be Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park but I only suggest that in one of two cases. First, if you're boat launched from Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor then you're so close you can stop and check it out. The other case would be for extreme history buffs. So what is it? It's a state park now as well as a National Historic Landmark but was once an actual Russian fort. Yes, the Russians had a fort in Hawaii that was built back in 1817 by the Russian-American Company as the result of an alliance with High Chief Kaumuali'i. Is it interesting to see? No, not really. But it's history and if that's your thing go check it out if you're out that way.
Now let's head to the beach, and depending on what time it is and if you already ate on your boat tour we'll be able to get some food along the way. We're going to head over to Salt Pond Beach Park which will have many food options within a couple of miles as you can see here. This is a great beach park that's pretty popular (especially on weekends) but big enough to handle the crowds most times. It's a very family friendly beach with clear, calm, and well protected waters.
After you've had your fill of the beach, let's go explore the small town of Hanapepe a bit. If you are able to time today's itinerary around a Friday and the evening is approaching you'll want to check out Hanapepe Friday Art Night. If not, it's still an interesting little town to check out with various shops and galleries to look at. Of course, it's not a trip to Hanapepe if you don't walk across the Hanapepe Swinging Bridge. Kids will love making their parents freak out as they jump around trying to make it swing.
That was a pretty good day and hopefully you have tons of photographs and memories of Kauai's amazing Napali Coast.
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