Explore Kauai's West Side

Explore Kauai's West Side

  • Melanie Rule
  • 01/19/24

When someone thinks of Kauai the first image that comes to mind is the ocean, followed closely by sunshine. The Garden Island boasts warm temperatures all year, but specific weather patterns vary depending on the location. The West Side of Kauai offers abundant sunshine, a dryer climate and the longest continuous white sand beach in Hawaii.  There are wide-open areas, farmlands, and of course Hawaiian red dirt.  Take a sightseeing drive through a charming art town, stop for the beauty of Kauai’s canyon, and put the windows down while riding the spectacular coastline. The West Side is the perfect destination to see historic attractions, shop local businesses and watch the most breathtaking sunsets.


Hanapepe, also known as “Kauaʻi’s biggest little town,” is a can’t miss stop when exploring the West Side. This picturesque town is known for its small-town charm, rich history, and artistic vibes, Hanapepe offers a unique experience for visitors seeking tranquility and a glimpse into the island's culture. The town that inspired Lilo & Stitch’s home in the acclaimed Disney film, has preserved its heritage, evident in its historic buildings and architecture. Take a stroll down Hanapepe Road, lined with charming plantation-style storefronts, and you'll feel the nostalgia of days gone by. Don't miss the Hanapepe Swinging Bridge, an iconic landmark that offers a glimpse into the past and provides an excellent photo opportunity. If you're an art enthusiast or simply appreciate creativity, Hanapepe's Art Night is a must-attend event. Occurring on Friday evenings, the event is filled with food, music, art and handcrafted products by local makers.

Salt Pond Beach

While in Hanapepe, stop by one of the west shore’s best family beaches, Salt Pond. This beach is perfect for swimmers of every skill level, as the waters are calm and inviting. The protected bay also makes this area paradise for all snorkeling enthusiasts.   

Salt pond is not only beautiful but holds tremendous cultural significance.  For many generations, Hawaiians have been harvesting natural sea salt during the summer months at this location – and still do to this very day. It’s the only place on Kauai where you can find natural salt ponds. To get the salt, seawater is first evaporated in pans and then the remaining product is bagged. Originally the salt was used for cooking and medicinal purposes, and today it can be found at several local shops in the area.

The Island of Niihau

One unique aspect the West Side of Kauai enjoys that the other areas of the island don’t, are views of the Forbidden Island of Niihau. Niihau is also home to diverse marine life and offers exceptional diving and snorkeling opportunities. The best way to explore both the waters surround Niihau as well as the Napali Coast, is to book a charter with one of the local tour companies. These excursions promise an unforgettable adventure that will leave you with lifelong memories.


Waimea Canyon

Waimea Canyon is a display of nature's extraordinary beauty. Often referred to as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific," this awe-inspiring geological marvel offers visitors a mesmerizing landscape of vibrant colors, steep cliffs, and cascading waterfalls. The Canyon offers a variety of hiking trails that cater to different skill levels. The popular Canyon Trail allows hikers to venture deep into the heart of the canyon, offering stunning panoramic views along the way. For a more challenging experience, the Cliff Trail provides a thrilling trek along the canyon's edge, You could spend an entire week on the mountain and still not cover all of its trails, which brings visitors back again and again.  On the drive up the mountain, there are several opportunities to pull over and take in the panoramic views. These lookout points let you experience firsthand the sheer vastness of the canyon.  There is not another experience like it on any of the other islands.  


Nestled on the westernmost point of the beautiful island of Kauai, Polihale State Park boasts one of the most stunning landscapes on Kauai. In order to explore this hidden gem you first must venture down a 5-mile bumpy remote road but the end result is worth every moment in the car. The expansive sandy beach, beautiful cliffs, and crashing waves offers a serene setting to escape life’s hustle and bustle. To fully experience nature, consider staying the night at one of the few permitted campsites at Polihale. Apply for your permit here and start planning your day and night. Sleep under the stars and wake up to the sounds of the ocean. What a perfect adventure!  Of course, no visit to Polihale is complete without witnessing its mesmerizing sunsets.  The sky becomes a canvas for nature to paint amazing colors as the sun descends the horizon.  It is truly a magical event to witness. 

If the West Side of Kauai feels like home to you, there are usually a few properties offered for sale at any given time, including quaint plantation-style homes, larger vacation homes often located across from the ocean, and some vacant land. Consider bringing your own vision to life on this large, flat lot available for purchase.  Located just steps from the white sandy beaches of Kekaha, this property includes both house and guest house rights. This property offers mature fruit trees, and beautiful unobstructed ocean views. Build your dream home here and you'll spend every afternoon walking the white sand beaches of West Kauai and every evening viewing the sunset as it sinks into the blue Pacific. If you're ready to establish roots on Kauai's west side, or just want to learn more about the market, please Contact Susan Higgins. 



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