Step back in time to the the charm of Kauai’s West Side, a magical place that maintains the true feel of old Hawaii with it’s small town charm. The west side is a unopened book waiting for you to explore the pages of its history. Explore fascinating attractions such as Captain Cooks Landing on the shores of Waimea, the Russian Fort and the bygone era of the sugar plantations.
The West Side is also the gateway to the Waimea Canyon “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific” and Kokee State Park. While waterfalls and jungle might be lacking at sea level on the West Side, you wont have to look far to see exceptional beauty along the stretches of beach and canyon overlooks. Whether you ascend to the heights of Kauai’s high country amongst the rare Kauai plants and endangered wildlife or watching the sun set serenely over the forbidden island of Niihau, the West Side is well worth your time.
At the end of the road on the in Kekaha you will find Polihale State Park. The long dusty drive on a unpaved bouncy road will reward you in the end with the longest stretch of white sand beach in Hawaii, eroded cliffs tell a story of long ago and the most spectacular sunsets are experience from this spot. If it is solitude and sunshine you are searching for, you can find it in Mana.
West Side Activities
Kauai’s West Side is separated from the North Shore by the dramatic Napali Coast, the much drier weather on this side also makes for a distinctively different ecological region. The West Side is expansive with a desert-like feel. Polihale Beach will surely capture a place in your memory with it’s rolling sand dunes and long stretch of uninhabited coastline. This beautiful stretch of beach goes on for miles before it ends at the impassible cliffs that mark the beginning of the Napali Coast.
Small towns like Eleele, Hanapepe, Waimea and Kekaha offer an eclectic assortment of shops, activities and attractions with plenty of local feel. In the mountains above the towns of Waimea and Kekaha you’ll find a haven of cool breeze among tall Sugi Pines and Eucalyptus trees. The Kokee State Park covers an area of about 4,000 acres and sits at an elevation of over 4,000 feet on the rim Waimea Canyon. Here you will find an abundance of hiking trails, the Kalalau Lookout, Kokee Natural History Museum and scenic overlooks into the canyons and valleys of the Napali Coast. It is a striking contrast to that of the arid plains of Kekaha.
Also on the laid back sleepy West Side you will find the Pacific Missile Range Facility, the historic Russian Fort Elizabeth, the Menehune Ditch (an ancient aqueduct supposedly built by the legendary Menehune), Salt Pond Beach Park – especially great for tide pools and toddlers – and Captain Cook’s monument.