Several years ago, I saw a picture of Kauai’s Na Pali Coast and knew I had to add visiting to my bucket list. The Na Pali Coast is a 12 mile stretch of undeveloped shoreline on the northwest side of Kauai famous for the towering cliffs that drop thousands of feet into the ocean. The only land access is via the 11 mile Kalalau trail. Unfortunately, as of March 2019, the trail is still closed due to severe flooding in April 2018. Luckily, views of the coast are still possible from Kokee State Park and via boat or helicopter tours.

I have some family currently living in Hawaii on Oahu and had been planning to make a trip out to visit them. When netlogx announced the Bucket List initiative, we decided to add a few days to our trip to make a stop on Kauai for some extra exploring!

We landed on Kauai Wednesday March 13th, picked up our rental car and made our way to our condo. Since we were pretty tired from our flight, we decided to grab Mai Tais and spend the afternoon relaxing and planning the next few days of our adventure.

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View of Kalalau Valley from Pu’u o Kila Lookout

On March 14th, we woke up early and headed to Kokee State Park. Our first stop was Pu’u o Kila overlook for a breathtaking view of the Kalalau valley.

After checking out the overlook, we headed to the Awa’awapuhi trailhead to start our hike. Since we had gotten a fairly early start to the day, we saw very few people on our 3 mile hike out to the lookout. Kokee State Park receives about 70 inches of rain a year, mostly in the winter, so the hike was very muddy! After initially trying to navigate carefully, we eventually decided to embrace the mud and just enjoy the experience. When we arrived at the lookout, we were rewarded by the incredible view of the Nualolo and Awa’awapuhi valleys.


Panorama at the end of the Awa’awapuhi trail

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Panorama at the end of the Awa’awapuhi trail



Embracing the mud on the Awa’awapuhi trailEnter a caption



Crossing seeing the Na Pali coast off my bucket list

After enjoying the view, we made our way 3 miles back uphill (ouch!) to our car and headed towards Waimea Canyon. Since we were tired from our earlier hike, we didn’t do any hiking here but we did check out the lookout and enjoyed the beautiful view.


Waimea Canyon – often described as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific

On March 15th, we decided to take it easy in the morning and headed to Poipu for some beach time. Poipu was gorgeous and we enjoyed relaxing in the sunshine after the busy day previously.


Poipu Beach Park

In the afternoon, we headed over to Port Allen to check in for our sunset Na Pali boat tour. Seeing the Na Pali Coast from the water was incredible.


Na Pali Coast from the water

The captain pointed out the area we had visited the day before and seeing the lookout now shrouded in clouds was awe inspiring. We also got to see several sea caves along the coast and the captain backed the boat into the openings of a few to give us a better appreciation for the scale of the area.

On our way back from the Na Pali coast, we found several very active humpback whales and stopped to watch them breach and spout. Seeing the whales in person is an experience I will never forget.


Just before we headed in to the dock, we stopped to enjoy the sunset which was a perfect end to the day.

Early the next morning, we got up, said goodbye to Kauai and headed to Oahu to meet up with family. Although a short stop on the Garden Isle, it was an incredible experience and I am so grateful I had the opportunity to visit such a beautiful place.