Haena Kauai – Gorgeous Sights and Fun Activities
Haena is a small but beautiful community located on the north shore of Kauai. Here you’ll discover pristine beaches, tropical rainforests, incredible hiking trails and numerous waterfalls. Although Haena is low on shopping and restaurants, it has plenty of awesome sights and activities.
The main highway that encircles Kauai has mile markers at every mile. These green signs make it easy to tell where you are on the island. You’ll find Haena past the 6 mile marker which is just a couple of miles past Hanalei.
Just past the 8 mile marker you’ll find Tunnels Beach – one of the best snorkeling sights not just in Haena but in the entire island. As you travel further down the highway you’ll reach Haena Beach Park, which is at about mile marker 9. This is a good place for camping (permit required), picnics or just enjoying the beach. But be careful swimming here. There’s no reef protecting the beach and it can be especially dangerous in the winter.
Past the 9 mile marker you’ll find Limahuli Garden, which is part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden. At Limahuli Garden you can see many different types of plants including native Hawaiian plants and a section with plants brought by the first settlers as well as others. One of the coolest parts of the garden is the ancient terrace system, which is believed to be 700 to 1,000 years old.
Just a little further down the road are the Wet Caves. One is called Waikapalae Cave and the other is called Waikanaloa Cave. Waikapalae can be reached be a short trail and Waikanaloa is right on the road. The caves were made by ocean waves carving into the rock, back when the sea level was higher.
Once you reach the 10 mile marker, you’ve hit the end of the road. This is where you’ll find beautiful Kee Beach, a great place for swimming and snorkeling. It’s within a lagoon and protected by reef so it’s usually pretty safe to swim in. Kee Beach is where Na Pali Coast begins and also marks the beginning of the Kalalau Trail, the most famous hike in Hawaii. The entire trail is 11 miles in length, but you don’t have to hike the whole thing to enjoy it. The first two miles lead to Hanakapiai Beach. From there you can take a side trail to Hanakapiai Falls. Many people just visit those two sights then head back to Kee Beach. If you want to hike the entire 11-mile trail, then be sure to read my article about the Kalalau Trail hike. It’s a very challenging trail.