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Most Scenic Drives in Hawaiian Island of Kauai

Things to do / Travel Guide

The Hawaiian island of Kauai is nothing if not jaw-dropping gorgeous, with many scenic routes to drive. If you want lush, tropical scenery with waterfalls, cliffs, mountains, and coastline, well, you've come to the right place!

Island Drive

Beginning in Lihue, you can take a short scenic drive on Highway 56, which goes all the way around the eastern and northern side of Kauai. The highway takes visitors past two spectacular waterfalls and nine beach parks, and displays some of the most unbelievable coastal scenery anywhere in the world. You can visit two different water-filled caves, including one right next to the highway, along the way. The route terminates at the end of the highway at Kee Beach, which is the start of Kauai's gorgeous Napali Coast. Along the drive, you will see such unforgettable sights as Opaekaa Falls, Sleeping Giant, Wailua Falls, Hole in the Mountain, Kilauea Point, Wet Caves, Royal Coconut Grove, Mission Houses, Hanalei Valley Lookout, Hanalei Bay, and Lumahai Beach.

Makaha Ridge Road

Found in the awesome Waimea Canyon State Park, the 19-mile-long Makaha Ridge Road winds down a 2,000-foot descent toward the Pacific Ocean. There are a few dirt hunting roads that lead off the main road into a nice picnic area. There are amazing views from the ridgeline of the canyon.

Kauai Tree Tunnel

Famous cattle rancher and Scotsman Walter McBryde decided to plant a copse of aromatic eucalyptus trees on Kauai over 150 years ago. The trees used to form a beautiful canopy that grew over Highway 50, but two hurricanes damaged the tops of the trees. Today they are growing back slowly, and visitors can see a beautiful, lush corridor on the way to Poipu.

Haupu Mountain Range

Located between Lihue and Hanapepe, the Haupu Mountain Range runs from Highway 50 all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Its tallest peak, Haupu Peak, is 2,297 feet high. Driving along Highway 50, which skirts the edge of the mountain range, is the best way to take in its scenic beauty.
On the west side of the range is an overlook of the mountains. Some visitors claim you can see a profile of Queen Victoria, if you look at the ridge to the south.