Visit the Napali coast on the North Shore of Kauai

The Napali coast on the North Shore of Kauai is the most iconic region of the island that stands out as one of the most stunning and must visit places on the island to explore and enjoy. The Napali coast is just that an area that impresses the moment you get to see the first view of the entire coastline and must visit scenic vista points at so many gorgeous spots along the way.

The Napali coast

Where is the Napali coast located?

The Napali coast is located on the north shore of Kaual with over 17 miles of stunning cliffs 4,000 foot cliffs, verdant green mountains and lush forested areas. From Lihue you take Hwy 56 north 38.5 miles which takes about 1.20 hours to reach Ke’e beach at the starting point.

History of the Napali coast in Kauai

History of the Napali coast in Kauai

With over 17 miles of stunning coastline of the north shore of Kauai, the Napali coast is extraordinarily beautiful and also a very sacred place in Kauai’s history. The Napali meaning “The Cliffs” in Hawaiian includes the rugged terrain of cliffs, emerald forests, impressive waterfalls and hidden coves and beaches are all contained in this spectacular area. The coastline and interior areas remain unchanged when ancient Hawaiian villages were located in the many valleys and ocean areas and subsisting on the land and ocean for their food and livelihood.

You may find some heiau (temple) ruins and even a thousand-year-old temple to honor the sacred hula dance located in the area. Ancient Hawaiians built extensive rock walls in the valley floor that were used by ancient Hawaiians to grow their taro plants and other edible plants that were cultivated in the area and also built homes and canoe houses for sailing and fishing the local areas offshore.

How can you explore the Napali coast?

How can you explore the Napali coast?

There are several ways to explore the spectacular Napali coastline from just viewing on a helicopter from above or more adventure-oriented experiences like hiking the coastal trails, sailing the rough ocean areas or even doing a kayaking tour and seeing the majestic cliffs up close and from the bottom up. When the conditions are good mostly in the summer when the waves are calmer kayaking and even rafting tours to see some of the hidden sea caves and remote beaches is possible.

The most popular way of exploring the Napali coastline is from above by helicopter which takes off from Lihue airport and cruises around the Napali coastline and then through Waimea Canyon State park to view the majestic canyon, waterfalls and 4,000-foot cliffs on the rugged coastline.

If you want to be closer to the water and views up the stunning cliffs then sailing, rafting or even kayaking adventures are offered by various outdoor outfitters that can take you to the hidden spots and beautiful views you’ll see from a water view perspective.

Details to visiting Ha’ena State park and the Napali Coast

You can visit the area and do a variety of hikes but you do have to make a reservation now on the state park site here for booking and finding out more information on visiting or even camping in the region.

Start your hike of the Napali Coast at Ke’e beach look for the Kalalau Trail sign at the far end to Hanakoa Valley (6 miles from the trail head) or beyond for overnight camping the other gulch areas and beach openings.

As a day trip most visitors just hike to Hanakapi’ai Beach which is about two miles to the beach area. The first big vista point is .5miles in an opening framed with local hala trees (screwpine trees) giving you a complete coastline view of the rugged cliffs of the Napali.

You can also hike to Hanakapi’ai Falls from Hanakapi’ai Beach. After crossing a stream to reach the beach you make a left on a trail going inward for another 2 miles hiking through lush jungle interiors and crossing the stream another 4 times. which in itself is a very challenging hike to do.

 The ultimate challenge and camping destination on the Napali coast is hiking all the way to Kalalau beach and traverses over 5 valleys on an 11-mile hike on the Na Pali coast trail.

Check out this fun video tour of hiking the Kalalau trail along the Napali coastline

Adventure and outdoor experiences around the Napali coastline

Adventure and outdoor experiences around the Napali coastline

There are a lot of wonderful outdoor tours and adventure experiences that you can enjoy visiting the Napali coast and surrounding areas. These expert outfitters that take care of all the small details from driving, permits, food prep to finding all the fantastic spots to visit without the hassle. Check out all of these fantastic tours offered below.

Kauai Movie and TV Tour

This tour covers all the scenic locations shot for popular movies like Fantasy Island, Amazing Race, Blue Hawaii, Gilligan’s Island, Jurassic Park and a lot of other popular films. An all day tour featuring some of the most iconic places filmed around Kauai and the North Shore area.

Napali Snorkel and sail tour

Napali Snorkel and sail tour

This fantastic tour of the iconic Napali coastline on a fifty foot cataraman tour along the 3,500 foot cliffs and checking out sea caves, waterfalls and emerald valleys along with a fun snorkeling stop along the way. This includes a breakfast and buffet lunch on board.

Ultimate Helicopter tour of the scenic Napali coast and Waimea Canyon

Ultimate Helicopter tour of the scenic Napali coast and Waimea Canyon

This ultimate helicopter tour takes you on a 50-55 minute journey through the most spectacular landscapes from above with narration and music. Flying on eco star helicopters with air conditioning and bubble windows to maximize your viewing and capturing amazing photographs of your experience.

Napali sunset cruise

A water vantage point looking up at the stunning cliffs of the Napali coast and cruising back towards a gorgeous sunset and views from the catamaran experience. This comes with a delicious buffet dinner on board while experiencing at gorgeous Napali Coastline looking at the gorgeous cliffs and coastal areas of the North Shore of Kauai.

Check out this helicopter tour of the Napali Coast from above

Where to stay around the North Shore of Kauai

There are plenty of different accommodations from resorts, boutique hotels and condo complex units through private rentals offered for complete stays with kitchen usage and other amenities.

Luxury – a luxury stay in Princeville will really give you the best experience at the Princeville resort. You’ll enjoy your visit here with such amazing luxury appointments, amazing views of the Napali coast at sunset, excellent food and exceptional service here.

Westin Princeville resort – With gorgeous views of Napali coastline and Hanalei bay, this resort atop the cliffs of Princeville offer one and two bedroom villas with full kitchens and other nice amenities for a perfect stay.

Halanei Bay Resort

Highly rated and mid range priced boutique resort in the North Shore area with great views, pool area and gardens and outdoor venues and lounge areas to enjoy.

Hanalei Surfboard House

Located right on Hanalei bay, low key and chill with an eclectic mixture and comfortable rooms in this unique and friendly boutique hotel in Hanalei town.

Check out all these other well rated hotel reviews in the North Shore Kauai area for updated prices and availability in the area.

Where to eat around the North Shore of Kauai

There are some delicious foods, cafes and bakeries in Hanalei town with mostly mom and pop type shops and some fine dining venues.

Kalypso Island Bar and Grill – 5156 Kuhio Hwy – Ching Young Village

Casual restaurant serving Hawaiian style menu and tropical drinks

Bar Acuda – 5-5161 Kuhio Hwy

Tapas style and creative small plates in an urban chic eatery

AMA Restaurant 5-5161 Kuhio Hwy – Hanalei Initiative Creative Center

Noodles and ramen, small plates and Donburi dishes

Café Tumeric – 5-5100 Kuhio Hwy

Food truck offering Indian plates from curries, meat dishes to seafood

Village Snack Shop and Bakery – 5-5190 Kuhio Hwy B3

Breakfast style and bakery, loco mocos, omelets and French toast

Check out these other topics on visiting Kauai now

Visiting beautiful Wailua Falls

Top things to do in Lihue

Explore the north shore and Hanalei area

Exploring the Queen’s Bath

Try these popular hikes in Kauai

Have you visited the Napali coast in Kauai?

Have you visited the Napali coast in Kauai?

Please share your thoughts and other recommendations in the comments below with your tips and suggestions for additional hikes to try on the island.

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Meet Noel Morata

Noel Morata is the creator of This Hawaii Life along with a small team of contributors. Living on the Big Island and traveling regularly to the neighbor islands, Noel and team actively search and share the latest information and updates to Hawaii travel, food, adventure and various lifestyle activities on the islands for your planning and vacation. Aloha and enjoy This Hawaii Life.