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Blog Home

Each Hawaiian island has a rich history. Visiting any one of these cultural spots in Kauai will help tell the story of the island’s past and you’ll leave with a deeper appreciation for all of Hawaii. Here are five must-see sites on Hawaii’s oldest island.

1. Waimea Canyon State Park

waimea_cultural spots in Kauai

Known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, Waimea Canyon is not like anything else you’ll see in Hawaii. Spanning 14 miles long and 3,600 feet deep, the canyon makes for an astounding sight. 

You’ll get a mix of red, brown, and green hues paired with scattered waterfalls, often creating rainbows. Take in these incredible views from afar or get a closer look by hiking within!

Visit Waimea Canyon on Shaka Guide’s Waimea & Na Pali Driving Tour


2. Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail

2 shaka guide
Photo by Bob Linsdell

This is more than just a trail along Kauai’s southern coast. The Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail has archaeological and historical significance. It takes you to the Makauwahi Cave — Hawaii’s largest limestone cave. 

You’ll start along sand-dune cliffs and make your way through the coastline around golf courses until you find yourself entering the cave. You’ll encounter wetland areas where over 100 native plants and endangered species reside. Please be respectful of the wildlife and flora as you’re exploring the trail. 

After you’ve finished your hike, take Shaka Guide’s Poipu & Koloa Town Driving Tour to learn more about the island!

3. Kilauea Lighthouse

Kauai 3 shaka guide
Kilauea Lighthouse is a historic and significant lighthouse because it was the first land for ships traveling from the west. While it may have been used to guide ships to the shore, it is now the site of a National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge sits on a dormant volcano with cliffs next to the ocean, creating a small habitat for endangered species. On a visit to the lighthouse, look out for Hawaiian monk seals, green sea turtles and humpback whales!

Visit the Kilauea Lighthouse on Shaka Guide’s North Shore Kauai Driving Tour.

4. Free Hula Performance

Hula is a traditional Hawaiian dance. There are a few different legends of how hula came to be, but one things for sure — this dance has withstood the test of time. You can watch a free hula performance in Kauai at various locations on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Here’s more information on free hula shows in Kauai

5. Wailua River State Park

Wailua_cultural spots in Kauai

The Wailua Complex of Heiaus is a National Historic Landmark in Wailua River State Park. Heiaus are ancient Hawaiian temples that were built for a variety of purposes. They’re significant in Hawaiian culture because they were places of worship. At the Wailua Complex of Heiaus there are four heiaus. These alone would make this a special cultural site, but the complex also has a pu’uhonua, or place of refuge; ancient petroglyphs; a royal birthstone; and a bellstone. After uncovering the history of this historic landmark, visitors can rent a kayak or take a boat ride to discover the rainforest and waterfalls within the park. It’s a great way to appreciate Hawaiian history and the island’s natural beauty! 

Visit the Wailua Complex of Heiaus on Shaka Guide’s Wailua Valley & Waterfalls Driving Tour.

Exploring any of these cultural spots in Kauai will help you understand the history of the island, as well as the culture of Hawaii.

RELATED: 5 Affordable Family Activities in Kauai and Kauai Camping Guide

Visiting Kauai? We have four driving tours on the island! 

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