East Side (Coconut Coast) Kauai

Kauai's East Side is sometimes referred to as the Coconut Coast for the groves of coconut palms that grow in its resort areas. Among the clusters of coconut trees you’ll find historic places, amazing beaches and memorable attractions.

Begin your journey on the island’s northernmost point. Historic Daniel K.Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse is a wildlife sanctuary and a scenic spot for whale watching. Visit quaint Hanalei Town, home to stretches of green taro fields alongside colorful shops, galleries and restaurants. You’ll also find some of Kauai’s best beaches including Kee Beach, ideal for sunbathing. The most stunning feature of Kauai's North Shore is the magnificent Napali Coast. This 17-mile stretch of coastline is lined with cliffs up to 3,000-foot tall, accented with lush green valleys, cascading waterfalls and sea caves. Inaccessible by car, you can hike or take an air or boat tour to view this breathtaking natural wonder.

Tour Map of Kauai Island

Explore Kauai by region: North ShoreEast Side (Coconut Coast)LihueSouth ShoreWest Side.

Download Tour Map of Kauai Island

Island Highlights

- Napali Coast: Take an air tour or a boat tour to witness the towering cliffs along Kauai’s North Shore.
- Waimea Canyon: Enjoy the panoramic views of “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific.”
- Wailua River: Kauai has the only navigable rivers in Hawaii and Wailua is one of the most popular.
- Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse: Visit this beautiful scenic point at the northernmost tip of the island.
- Kauai Beaches: From Poipu on the South Shore to Hanalei Bay on the North Shore, explore Kauai’s amazing beaches.


Opaekaa Falls

Opaekaa Falls

With a roadside lookout, this is one of Kauai's most accessible major waterfalls. Located on the East Side about 2 miles up Kuamoo Road (Route 580) from Hwy. 56, signs clearly point to the roadside lookout on the right. This convenient stop makes for a memorable photo opportunity. "Opaekaa" means "rolling shrimp," which were once abundant in the stream. Walk uphill from the Opaekaa lookout and across the road for another great view of the Wailua River valley and interior plains beyond.

Location: In Wailua, 2 miles up Route 580.


Nounou Mountain (Sleeping Giant)

Nounou Mountain

On Kauai’s East Side between Wailua and Kapaa, is the Nounou Mountain range, more famously known as Sleeping Giant. Stare at the ridge from afar and with a little imagination you can make out what looks like a human figure lying on his back. Hawaiian legends say this giant was tricked by villagers into eating a vast amount of rocks hidden in fish and poi. Sleepy from the meal, the giant took a nap and hasn’t woken since.

Sleeping Giant also offers a scenic hiking trail. The Nounou Trail is less than a 2-mile hike to the top of Sleeping Giant. The east Kauai views from the top of the ridge are beautiful. The Nounou trail head can be found on Halelilo Road in Wailua.

Location: Wailua in East Kauai.

Fern Grotto

Fern Grotto

The Fern Grotto is one of Kauai's signature attractions. Accessible only by a short boat trip up the Wailua River, the grotto is a natural lava-rock grotto, lush with hanging ferns and tropical foliage, cooled by the mists of a waterfall. There was a time when the Grotto was off-limits to all but Hawaiian royalty. But for more than 50 years, riverboats have provided tours of the site.

In this serene setting, the grotto acts like a natural amphitheatre. Taking advantage of the incredible natural acoustics, visitors are often treated to musicians playing beautiful Hawaiian music. It's no wonder why this unique Kauai setting is such a popular destination for wedding ceremonies.

Location: Up the Wailua River on the East Side.

Kapaa Town

Kapaa Town

North of Wailua on the East Side is Kapaa Town, a great area for shopping on Kauai. Kinipopo Shopping Village offers a variety of fun shops and eateries. Other stops include the Wailua Shopping Plaza, which houses several restaurants and an eclectic antique shop, and the Coconut Marketplace, with dozens of shops in which you'll find Hawaiian mementos, fine artwork, antiques, jewelry and craft items.

Location: North of Wailua on the East Side.


Popular Kauai Activities

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Memberships and Certification

 Hawaii Tourism Authority

Certified Hawaii Tourism Authority 'Destination Expert'.

A member of Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau and the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

 Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau

Acknowledgements & Credits


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Island Guides: Tips & Fun Things To Do