With its emerald mountains, secluded beaches, and turquoise sea, Kauai’s Na Pali Coast State Park (or Napali Coast) is a natural treasure trove that begs to be explored. And it’s no wonder Na Pali takes its name from the Hawaiian word for cliff: the coastline is dominated by jagged 4,000-foot (1,219-meter) cliffs that reign supreme over the Pacific Ocean.
Although the coastline is only land accessible by the challenging 11-mile (17-km) Kalalau Trail trek, guided Na Pali kayaking trips and Kauai boat tours depart regularly from Port Allen in Eleele and Hanalei Bay. If you are an active traveler, you will want to take on the Kalalau Trail—a route that traverses through steep sea cliffs, waterfalls, and sinuous rivers in old Hawaii and allows travelers to explore secluded beaches and sea caves. Some adventurers choose to camp overnight in Hanakoa Valley during the summer months, although a permit is required.
To capture the best panoramas on the Kalalau Trail, walk carefully down a path to the prime Kalalau Lookout just past the Waimea Canyon’s Kokee Park Geophysical Observatory.
Popular Things to Do When Touring the Na Pali Coast
Primeval, protected scenery makes the coast a haven for lovers of outdoor activities and water sports—snorkel, raft, swim, hike, and sail to your heart’s content while you contemplate natural beauty that only Hawaii is capable of displaying.
Another great way to absorb the panoramic beauty of the Na Pali Coast—particularly if you’re not up for the difficult 11-mile (17-km) Kalalau hike—is to take a boat ride. Opt for a sunset dinner cruise to see the landscape at its most magical, or a daytime power catamaran tour to observe spinner dolphins, go whale watching, and visit Niihau, the Forbidden Island. Swim amid tropical marine life and around sea turtles on a snorkeling or scuba diving tour; let your adrenaline levels surge on a rafting adventure; or experience waterfalls and red rivers while hiking. For the ultimate Na Pali experience, you can take a sightseeing flight or helicopter tour and get aerial views of the spectacular scenery.