Na Pali Coast
- Type: Hiking, Parks and Gardens
- Time to Spend: 2 hours to Half Day
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Na Pali, or "the cliffs," is a 15-mile expanse of rocky, steep, but oh-so-gorgeous coastline that stretches along Kauai's northwest shore. Travelers agree there's no better way to experience Kauai's natural beauty and exciting terrain than at Na Pali, so you should make plans to marvel at it—either on foot, from the water, or from up above.
Hiking the Kalalau Trail is the least expensive method of surveying this coast, but it's also an especially strenuous excursion that only experienced hikers should attempt. Taking a catamaran or a kayak is also an option, but you'll have to navigate the north shore's often rough waves; travelers prone to seasickness might want to opt for a different mode of transportation. If you can handle the exorbitant fees, many agree a one-hour helicopter tour is the best way to view Na Pali; there will be no achy muscles or queasy stomach, plus you'll get to see more of the area in a shorter period of time. You can also get a great view of the cliffs if you drive to the end of Route 550.
You'll need a day-hike or camping permit to hike the Kalalau Trail. Day permits are free, but overnight camping costs $20 per person per night for a maximum of five nights. Visit the Hawaii State Park's website for more information. You can take a kayak tour of the area from May to September, or enjoy a leisurely catamaran cruise or helicopter tour year-round. Prices vary according to excursion; visit the Hawaii State Park's website for information on boat trips and Kauai's tourism website for details on helicopter tours.