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Napali Coast picture in Kauai
Napali Coast at sunset picture in Kauai
Napali Coast from above picture in Kauai
Napali Coast from Koke'e State Park picture in Kauai
Napali Coast picture in Kauai
Napali Coast at sunset picture in Kauai
Napali Coast from above picture in Kauai
Napali Coast from Koke'e State Park picture in Kauai

Price & Hours

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Details

  • Hiking, Parks and Gardens Type
  • 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.5
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    5.0
  • Facilities
    1.5
  • Atmosphere
    5.0

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

The Napali coast is a 17-mile expanse of rocky, steep, but oh-so-gorgeous series of cliffs that stretch along Kauai's northwest shore. Travelers agree there's no better way to experience Kauai's natural beauty and eye-catching terrain than at Napali, so you should make plans to marvel at it –  either on foot, from the water or from the air (there are no roads that go along the Napali Coast).

Hiking the Kalalau Trail is the least expensive method of surveying this coast, but it's also an incredibly strenuous excursion that only experienced hikers should attempt. Other popular ways of taking in Napali are via boat or helicopter, which allows travelers to see parts of the coast inaccessible on foot, such as untouched beaches, sea caves and sky-high waterfalls that are tucked between the fluted cliffs. Visitors say those prone to seasickness might want to reconsider a boat tour, as the north shore's waves tend to be very rough. If you can handle the exorbitant fees, many agree a one-hour helicopter tour is the best way to view Napali; 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. Whatever you choose to do, travelers said the extra effort  whether it's a challenging hike, rocky boat ride or expensive helicopter tour  was completely worth the extra effort.

If you want to hike the Kalalau Trail, you'll need to obtain a permit. Keep in mind if you're planning on just hiking to Hanakapi'ai Valley (2 miles from the trailhead), you won't need a permit. Go farther beyond that and you'll need to get a $20 camping permit, which is valid for a maximum of five nights, even if you aren't planning on camping. Visit the Hawaii State Park's website for more information. You can take a boat tour or helicopter tour year-round. Prices vary according to excursion; visit the Hawaii State Park's website for information on boat trips and Hawaii's tourism website for details on helicopter tours.

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#1 Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Park Waimea Canyon, aptly nicknamed the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific," should be at the top of every traveler's itinerary. This 14-mile-long, mile-wide and approximately 3,600-feet deep gorge is ... Read more » maximkabb / Getty Images

#2 Napali Coast The Napali coast is a 17-mile expanse of rocky, steep, but oh-so-gorgeous series of cliffs that stretch along Kauai's northwest shore. Travelers agree there's no better way to ... Read more » MartinM303 / Getty Images

#3 Polihale State Park Located on Kauai's west coast, Polihale State Park is the last beach before the Napali Coast begins. On the northern tip of the beach, you can enjoy an eyeful ... Read more » wallix / Getty Images

#4 Ke'e Beach Along with Polihale State Park, Ke'e Beach is the safest beach to access for prime Napali views. Ke'e Beach is conveniently situated at the Kalalau trailhead, offering beachgoers ... Read more » M.M. Sweet / Getty Images

#5 Tunnels Beach If you're looking for a great place to snorkel in Kauai, head to Tunnels Beach. Tunnels Beach is located on the north shore of Kauai in Wainiha, about 2 ... Read more » Kicka Witte / Getty Images

#6 Kalapaki Beach Despite its close proximity to the airport, cruise port and multiple hotels, travelers maintain Kalapaki Beach is a relaxing spot. The beach is located on the west side of the ... Read more » jorgemir / Flickr

#7 Po'ipu Beach Po'ipu Beach is considered one of the most popular beaches in Kauai. This small shoreline situated on the southern shore of the island appeals to many types of beachgoers ... Read more » EllenSmile / Getty Images

#8 Hanalei Bay Hanalei Bay is located about 4 miles southwest of Princeville, one of the island's premier resort areas. Hanalei Bay is composed of three different beaches: Waioli Beach Park, Hanalei ... Read more » M.M. Sweet / Getty Images

#9 Wailua River State Park If you want to experience Kauai's majestic rainforests without breaking too much of a sweat, then you'll want to add Wailua River State Park to your itinerary. This ... Read more » Michael Runkel / Getty Images

Waimea Canyon picture in Kauai
Napali Coast picture in Kauai
Polihale State Park picture in Kauai
Ke'e Beach picture in Kauai
Tunnels Beach picture in Kauai
Kalapaki Beach picture in Kauai
Po'ipu Beach picture in Kauai
Hanalei Bay picture in Kauai
Wailua River State Park picture in Kauai
Waimea Canyon picture in Kauai
Napali Coast picture in Kauai
Polihale State Park picture in Kauai
Ke'e Beach picture in Kauai
Tunnels Beach picture in Kauai
Kalapaki Beach picture in Kauai
Po'ipu Beach picture in Kauai
Hanalei Bay picture in Kauai
Wailua River State Park picture in Kauai

Waimea Canyon features several scenic lookout points throughout the park.  maximkabb / Getty Images

The Napali Coast is easily Kauai's biggest attraction. To view the Napali Coast, you can hike the Kalalau Trail, take a boat tour, or if you can swing it, a helicopter tour.  MartinM303 / Getty Images

Polihale State Park is located at the tail end of the Napali Coast, giving travelers a glance of the famous cliffs from the northern end of the beach.    wallix / Getty Images

From the Kalalau Trail, you can enjoy great aerial views of Ke'e Beach. M.M. Sweet / Getty Images

Tunnels Beach is favored by travelers for its scenic setting and snorkeling opportunities.   Kicka Witte / Getty Images

This beach on the southside is recommended for sunning and swimming, but you can also rent a sailboat, kayak or take a catamaran cruise. jorgemir / Flickr

Po'ipu Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Kauai.  EllenSmile / Getty Images

Hanalei Bay is one of the most popular shores in Kauai. Swimming isn't always advised, but travelers say a trip here is worth it for the incredible views alone.  M.M. Sweet / Getty Images

Wailua River State Park is billed as the only navigable river in Hawaii. A popular means of exploring the river is via boat tour, which can be arranged on-site. Michael Runkel / Getty Images

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