Kaua’i Tourist Attractions

Natural beauty is available everywhere on Kaua’i, and is particularly curated in some of the island’s private gardens, nature preserves and the historical Kilauea Lighthouse.  Available Kaua’i tourist attractions offer an in-depth look at the history and culture of the area.

The Kilauea Lighthouse

The Kilauea Lighthouse, formally known as the Daniel K. Inouye Kīlauea Point Lighthouse, is a towering 52-foot structure is located 2 miles north of Kilauea Town. It’s a prominent Kaua’i tourist attraction on the northern tip of the island.  On May 1, 1913, it was commissioned as the Kīlauea Point Light Station. A century later, after a well-deserved restoration, it was dedicated to U.S. Senator Inouye on May 1, 2013.

In the early 1900’s the U.S. government studied various sites for a lighthouse on Kaua‘i. After extensive research, Kīlauea Point was selected, at least in part because of the 180-foot elevation of the peninsula, which allowed for a shorter structure to be effective.

Today the lighthouse remains one of Kaua’i’s most popular attractions. The informative visitor center highlights the rich history of the site and offers identification information for the many birds that nest within view of the peninsula. Visitors also enjoy the native vegetation and, in season, the site of breaching whales.

Limahuli Garden and Preserve!

Limahuli Garden is located on the north shore of Kaua’i right before the road ends at Ke’e Beach, in Ha’ena. The Garden practices biocultural conservation- using ancestral resource management practices to oversee and preserve the current ecological system of the valley. It is one of only a handful of easily-accessible valleys with intact archaeological features alongside native forest.

Limahuli Garden is a 17-acre terraced garden that is part of the 985-acre Limahuli Preserve. A self-guided tour is available with a copy of the garden guide from the visitor center and follows the 3/4 mile Limahuli Garden Loop Trail. The trail meanders through native forest and focuses on the historical uses of the native plants you are viewing. It also includes information about what steps are being taken to preserve this unique ecosystem.

Please visit Limahuli Garden’s website for reservation details.

Allerton Garden

Allerton Garden is located on the South Shore, right on the Pacific Ocean. It’s early history is entwined with what is now the nearby McBryde Garden. The land was first cultivated as a garden by Hawaii’s Queen Emma after the death of her husband and young son. The early garden was later expanded by a sugar plantation magnate, who also preserved one of Queen Emma’s cottages on the property. Robert Allerton, a failed artist, but patron of landscape architecture, purchased the property in 1938 and soon after began enlarging the gardens with the help of a young architect.

The result is a breathtaking masterpiece of landscape architecture and art features that has become a central tourist attraction in Kaua’i.  Tours take you among a grove of golden bamboo, a cut flower garden, rainforest and tropical fruit trees.  The Garden has also been a Hollywood film location on more than one occasion.  Any tour will take you past the Moreton Bay fig trees that were featured in both Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean.  

Allerton Garden is located in the secluded Lawa’i Valley. Tour check-in is at the nearby Southshore Visitors Center.

Allerton Garden is open for guided tours. General admittance is not available. Reservations are required in advance. All tours include Garden transportation into and out of the valley.

An Allerton Garden at Sunset tour has been added which included admission to the Allerton family home. The tour also includes a sunset dinner with a stunning view of the Pacific provided by Living Foods Gourmet Market and Cafe .

McBryde Garden

McBryde Garden in Lawa’i Valley, near the Allerton Gardens. It features 50 acres of diverse plant collections, gathered by botanists from tropical regions around the world. It also includes the largest ex-situ (“off site”) collection of native Hawaiian flora and exotic plants found anywhere.

Visitors have the opportunity to see many rare, endangered Hawaiian plants along the trails and learn about how scientists in this living laboratory are learning more about uses for these plants and how to help them survive and thrive.

McBryde Garden is open daily. It is accessible by a 15-minute narrated tram ride from the Southshore Visitors Center. Reservations should be made in advance.

Na ‘Aina Kai Botanical Garden

Na ‘Aina Kai Botanical Garden is located on Kaua’i’s north shore near the town of Kilauea. Started as a front yard landscape project by founders Joyce and Ed Doty in 1982, Na ‘Aina Kai has become a non-profit foundation focused on conservation and sustainability.

The Garden has now grown to over 240 acres including 12 acres of diverse gardens which feature one of the largest collections of bronze sculptures in the United States. Water features and ponds add to the beauty of the gardens. It is constantly changing with new sculptures and projects being added periodically.

The property also includes orchards and a 110-acre hardwood plantation which is an investment in forestry to ensure long-term sustainability for the garden..

Na ‘Aina Kai offers only guided tours of their gardens. All tours are conducted by an expert docent and are suitable for those over 13 years of age. The Garden offers a wide variety of tours by foot or by tram ranging in length from 1-1/2 to 5 hours.

Reservations are recommended.

Smith’s Tropical Paradise

On the shore of the Wailua River and within the Wailua Marina State Park, you’ll find Smith’s Tropical Paradise which includes the several popular attractions, such as the related luau and river cruises.

 This 30-acre botanical and cultural garden includes over a mile of pathways featuring a wide variety of fruit trees, a bamboo forest, various flowering tropical plants and a Japanese-themed garden island. Peacocks and other birds can be seen amongst the lush scenery.  The garden is a popular spot for a relaxed stroll, an afternoon picnic, or a wedding, and it makes for some of the best Kaua’i sightseeing.

Entry to the garden is also included in the ticket price for the Smith Family Garden Luau.