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Ninini Lighthouse

Ninini Lighthouse

Ninini Lighthouse is an 86 foot tall lighthouse that overlooks Nawiliwili Bay. Off the beaten path, Ninini Lighthouse provides breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. Waves crashing against the cliffs, wildlife, and mountain views are part of the scenic visit.  Furthermore, this lighthouse is often secluded with very few visitor.



The Ninini Lighthouse was built in 1906 and was automated in 1953.  It is one of the first things you see when landing on the island of Kauai by airplane.  The lighthouse looks over Nawiliwili Harbor and Kalapaki Bay.  Moreover, this vantage point provides views of the northern entrance of Nawiliwili Bay.  


You may be able to see the barges that come into the harbor. Consequently, Nawiliwili Harbor provides almost all of Kauai’s imported goods.  When visiting Kauai, it is likely that you will use an item or two that came from these docks.


Ninini Lighthouse is located near the Marriott Resort and Hokuala Resort.  If you are heading to the lighthouse take the opportunity to check out the Marriott Beach Resort grounds as well as the Hokuala Resort grounds.  Many walk able paths are open to the public.  It is a great way to get some exercise and to enjoy the beautiful scenery.  If you want to go for a swim in the area, Kalapaki Beach is nearby.  Check out Kalapaki Beach on Things to Do: East side.


Ninini Lighthouse is great to visit in the late afternoon or if needing to kill some time before a flight.  Furthermore the area is great to watch airplanes descending onto the runway.  Airplanes fly low over the Ninini Lighthouse making it a great vantage point for airplane lovers.  See the image below of an airplane flying right over us!


The Ninini Lighthouse is free of charge and is accessible any time during the day. Access the lighthouse by driving through the Marriott and Hokuala Resort. After passing the Hokuala Golf Course Clubhouse, drive over the bridge.  Look for the Shoreline Access sign and turn left before the second bridge.  This will bring you to a road through the golf course to the accessible Shoreline Access.  Keep driving until you see the next posted sign that directs you to Ninini Lighthouse.  A short drive down the dirt road will take you to the lighthouse. In addition, you could also park at the Kalanipu’u resort and walk to Ninini Lighthouse. Google Maps offline mode will also get you to Ninini Lighthouse.








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Waimea State Recreation Pier

Historical Landmark

On the sunny west side of Kauai you will find a spectacular place to stop at the Waimea State Recreation Pier.  The pier stretches out into the Pacific Ocean offering views of Niihau, Kekaha Small Boat Harbor and the Waimea Coastal line. Originally built in 1865, the pier was once used during the nineteenth century as one of the main boat landings.  It was used by whaling ships for exporting raw sugar, cattle, oranges, taro, sweet potatoes, yams, rice and goats.  It was also used to serve local fishing boats. Waimea pier was a popular hangout spot after pau hana during the sunset.  

Black sand beach provides fun for all ages

The Pier is now used for pole fishing and crabbing.  It provides great access for deeper waters, shade, and pole holders along the side of the pier.  There are facilities near the pier. These include restrooms,  picnic tables, a paved parking lot and a little park. This area  is a great place to take a walk on the stretch of black sand beach. You can also take pictures of the sunset.   The beach is also a great place for swimming and bathing in the sun as it is less crowded. Many people do not choose to swim here because the color of the water looks dirty. However, the water is safe to swim in.  The brownish water color is due to the soil and silt that comes out from the Waimea River. It is also the only black sand beach on the island of Kauai that stretches from Waimea to Kekaha.

A Family Tradition

We usually take our keiki to the landing on the weekend for pole fishing. Here our two sons have learned how to bait their line, cast their line and catch fish.  This is the same place where I learned to fish and crab growing up.  It is one of my favorite places to visit.  On some occasions when it is hot, our two boys have a lot of fun running under the pier and jumping off the side of the pier onto the sand.  A few times my older son (6 yrs old.)  jumped off the pier, but only with my permission and me being in the water to catch him.  The near shore bottom of the beach is sandy.  The depth of the water past the wooden sides of the pier is about 6-8 feet.  


Directions

When in Waimea, turn off Kaumualii Hwy (Highway 50) to 4400 Pokole Road or Moana Road. Head towards La’au Road. You will see the Waimea State Recreation Pier signage (created by Waimea High Students in 2009).  There is a paved parking lot. Additional parking is available across the street from the Public Library.


The area is the historical landmark of where Captain James Cook first landed in 1778. After fishing at the Waimea State Recreation Pier check out the Captain Cook Statue in town.  Historical information of Waimea is posted throughout Waimea town.






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Upcoming Holiday Events on Kauai

Here are some upcoming events that make us proud to be one L.O.C.A.L on Kauai.

Tree Lighting in Waimea, November 30th

On November 30, 2017 the West Kauai Business and Professional Association will be holding their annual tree lighting ceremony.  This will be at the newly renovated Hofgaard Park in the center of Waimea town.  Beginning at 5:30 and after the sunset, the tree as well as the historic town buildings and businesses will turn on their lights for the holiday season.  They will exhibit their festive decorations.

This event sponsors keiki literacy and will feature a storytime for children. Mayor Bernard Carvalho will be present and read a story from Moana.  The Waimea highschool band will also play.

County Buildings Festival of Lights, Lihue

Historic County Buildings Festival of Lights will run from December 1-30, 2017 from 6:00-8:00 pm.  This event is featuring Christmas decorations made with recycled products.  Also, local themed decorated Christmas trees that are influenced by Hawaii’s LOCAL culture will be featured.  For more information you can check out http://www.kauaifestivaloflights.com

Rice Street Parade in Lihue, December 1st

On Friday, December 1, 2017 from 6:00-8:00 pm Rice Street will be holding its annual light parade.  One of Kauai’s largest gatherings, the Lights on Rice event is definitely a must do. It is a treat to both visitors and locals.  Live entertainment, food booths and many organizations, clubs, community groups and families make this event a true L.O.C.A.L (Loving Our Community and Lifestyle) experience.

Arrive early to find parking. Parking can be found near the Lihue Civic Center, Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall, Vidinha Stadium, and at business parking lots on Rice street.  Free Shuttle services are provided at Kukui Grove Shopping Center from 5:00-9:00 pm.  The shuttle will depart from the First Hawaiian Bank at Kukui Grove and will drop off guests at the First Hawaiian Bank on Rice Street.  With the limited parking spaces on and near Rice Street, taking a shuttle is recommended for both Kama’aina and visitors.  Rice Street will be closed down from 5:30 pm and will reopen after the event is finished.  Please be aware that the closure may restrict  your access to leave if you are parked near Rice Street.

Plan Ahead and Stay Safe

The parade will begin at Vidhina Stadium and will go through Rice Street ending at the Kauai County Building.  It is best to plan and stay at the event. Take tme to enjoy the many different food vendors, shops, craft fair and boutiques that are in the area.  There will be a variety of local products to purchase and great food to eat. Many participants and performers are in this year’s event. Advisors expect 60 units and 3,000 performers.  Beautifully decorated floats along with energized walking troupes for various community groups and organizations will make this parade an entertaining and festive occasion.  This is one of Kauai’s largest attractions. The Rice Street parade is a family event that is a must-see if visiting or residing on Kauai

For parades, please be sure to accompany your keiki at all times. Keep keiki on the sidewalks to be safe.  Keiki will have the opportunity to get candy and treats from many of the groups and organizations in the parade. They will also get to see a number of Santa Claus. There are some pretty cool vehicles that you may not see otherwise.

Waimea Light Parade, December 16th

On Saturday, December 16, 2017 the 23rd Annual Waimea Christmas Light Parade will be taking place in Waimea. Starting from the Waimea Canyon Park the parade will, make its way down from Waimea Canyon Rd. to the main street of Waimea town (Kaumualii Hwy.) to Ala Wai Road.  It will then head back West on Waimea Road to end back at Hofgaard Park. This annual event is one of West Kauai’s largest gathering for locals.  The parade features many hand crafted floats created by over 40 different groups.  Many of our local organizations, businesses and families are represented.

Holiday Tradition continues

Westside LOCALS, look forward to this event as it is a tradition.  It makes those living here appreciate the community we live in, the love we have for each other and the beautiful island that we share.  The event first started in 1994 with only a collection of lighted fishing boats, a red tractor, and a few walking and bicyclists that was led by the mayor in a fire truck.  Over the years, this annual event has grown in the number of participants as well as its popularity among local families and visitors alike.  It is a once a year event in Waimea, where the Holiday Season is at it’s best. The quiet little town is vibrant and energized with entertainment, good food and lots of people on the streets mingling and having a good time.

Parking for the Event

This event is not as large as the Lights in Lihue Parade. However, there will be many people in town trying to stake their spot for viewing the parade.  For convenience in parking, it is best to park on the Kekaha Side of Town across from the Waimea Plantation Cottages and alongside the road.  There will be very little parking in Waimea Town as many residents and businesses will have had most parking taken well before the event starts.  You will even see lawn chairs and people set up seating areas for the their family and friends three to four days before the event.  With that being said, the best thing to do is come early before the bridge closes at 5:30 pm.

Spend some time exploring the West side of Kauai, which may include: visiting the beaches, going up to Waimea Canyon/ Kokee, getting a bite to eat, grabbing some snacks and refreshments, or hanging out in the town well before the big party begins.

Preparing to arrive in Waimea Town at 4:00 pm to get a good spot is advised.  Kaumualii Highway will reopen after the parade is finished (This may be around 7:00-7:30pm) so if you are trying to get somewhere, plan accordingly.  Only emergency vehicles will be authorized to use Kaumualii Hwy and head eastbound.






Kuk’s Mini Golf

Kuk’s Mini Golf: Kukuiolono Park, Kalaheo

Nested in a prime location at Kukuiolono Park, Kalaheo you will find a Mini golf course next to the 9-hole Kukuiolono Golf Course and driving range called “Kuk’s Mini Golf”.  If you are a golfer or not, this mini golf is a great place to take your keiki for an outing.  For those staying on the South Shore or West Side of the island, Kukuiolono Park is about 20 minutes away.

Spectacular Views and Weather

Enjoy the spectacular views of both the South and West Shores.  Kuk’s Mini Golf offers golfers young and old a chance to putt around and enjoy the beautiful weather of Kauai.  You could also get a few swings in on the driving range while being able to take your kids along.


For Real!

Unlike most miniature golf courses, the setup is created with real grass.  It includes local plants and flowers, Hawaiian rocks, a Japanese garden, and water features.  Also, original park artifacts that have been excavated from the land are part of the layout. The course is intended to mimic the regulation nine-hole golf course with smaller versions of the Japanese and Hawaiian gardens that are also found on the property.

This mini golf course is one of three opportunities for mini golf on the island of Kauai.  It is a great place to stop for a quick lunch break. Grab some refreshments at Paco’s Tacos Cantina which is located in the Clubhouse.

A Piece of Kauai History

As it is still a work in progress, Kuk’s Mini Golf has plans on using the venue to educate others about Hawaiiana and other cultural ethnicities that create the diverse population of the Island of Kauai.  A piece of history on Kauai can be found here at Kuk’s mini golf course.  




Also read our blog on Kukuiolono Park, Kalaheo here >>>>https://kauaiwithkeiki.com/2017/10/13/kukuiolono-park-kalaheo/



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Salt Pond Beach, Hanapepe

Salt Pond Beach Park

Salt Pond Beach Park, which is named for its traditional Hawaiian salt collecting beds, is located on Kauai’s western shore.  If you are traveling along Hwy 50, heading west from Kalaheo, after passing Hanapepe town turn left onto Lele Road or Hwy. 543.  Protected by natural lava rock ridges as waves break outside the reef, Salt Pond Beach is perfect for little keiki.  Shallow pools and lagoons are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and tidepooling.  Furthermore, this lifeguarded beach offers amenities such as restrooms, showers, and pavilions.




Adjacent to the Salt Pond Beach are the The Salt Flats.  This delicate area is restricted, unless you have been invited by a member of a salt making family.  Making pa’akai or Hawaiian sea salt is an ancient cultural practice that is passed down from generation to generation.  Kauai is the only place in Hawaii that makes salt according to the ancient traditions which are all done by hand.  

Looking from a distance, you may see the salt patch or lo’i filled with rows of oval salt beds which are lined with clay.  These shallow beds allow for the evaporation of seawater and produce this prized sparkling salt.  Held in respect, the salt is never sold; it is only given away.  The Hawaiian salt is used for cooking, seasoning, preserving food, medicinal purposes and in cultural blessings.  The season runs from May-September; the amount of harvested salt depends on many natural variables such as the sun, ocean tides and weather conditions.

Salt beds, Hanapepe

On the Salt ponds side of the beach, the beach in this area is reddish-golden from the clay that lies beneath the water.  If you want to access this part of the beach, it is recommended that you walk from the main beach.  Although you may see vehicles lined up on the sand and parked along the fenceline, please avoid trying to park here (If you do access the beach from the back side, do not drive right on the beach as it damages the sand dunes that protect the salt patches from high surf.)  A paved parking lot that is next to the salt beds can be used.

 At this part of Salt Pond Beach, my sons were entertained by the red and greyish clay in this area. They were running it through their hands and trying to break it apart with rocks.  Also, there were many fish in this lagoon as my husband took the boys to look at the different types of fish found in the shallow waters.  We were even able to Find Nemo (a clownfish) that happened to come in with the tide and a plethora of other reef fish.




Salt Pond is a great choice for a day at the beach with your keiki.



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The First Annual “Choy of Cooking” at the Koloa Landing Resort, Kauai Hawaii

Master chef Sam Choy hosts “Choy of Cooking” Event

Friday night October 20th, Koloa Landing Resort in Poipu hosted the first annual “Choy of Cooking” featuring master chef, restaurateur, and television personality Sam Choy. Choy is a local celebrity who specializes in Hawaiian regional cuisine.  As the guests from the 6:00 seating exited, crowds gathered at the entrance of the Holoholo grill awaiting seating for the 7:45 option. 

On this particular evening, there was a nice trade wind breeze with periodic trade showers.  This didn’t damper the mood or suede people from enjoying the event and ambiance. The raindrops ceased when Sam Choy greeted the crowd as he made a joke saying that he talked to the Gods and promised it would rain no more.  The Koloa Landing resort is a top notch property.  The Holoholo grill is set outside with covered and or outdoor open air seating.  Furthermore, the backdrop is the magnificent pool and the sounds of the cascading waterfall.  There was also entertainment featuring local muscians. 

Sam Choy was very personable as he mingled with the crowd greeting guests and taking photos. Once everyone was seated, he spoke to the crowd and then prepared his signature poke dish.

https://youtu.be/laBUAqFDu1g

Let’s Eat!

The first course included chicken bites and the tako poke. 


Second, we had Choy’s famous Kauai Island salad.  The main course featured Kal bi short ribs served with bread pudding and macadamia nut panko crusted Island Style fish served with vegetable fried rice.


Lastly the dessert was a portion of three delicious treats, pumpkin crunch, sweet potato haupia pie, and pineapple cheesecake.

We were able to take home a recipe book signed by Sam Choy which included his signature recipes from the evening.  Overall it was a great evening and we look forward to doing it again!


Koloa Landing Resort is featured in our Hotels We Love Page

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Kilauea Point Lighhouse and National Wildlife Refuge

At the Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge you will encounter unprecedented sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean.  The contrast of colors in this landscape is amazing with the deep greens and browns of the cliffside, to the blacks of the rocks, to the vibrant bright blues of the ocean.

LEARN & DISCOVER

There are many things to take notice of and engage the keiki in.

1. BIRDWATCHING

Seabirds are everywhere, hugging the cliffs, hovering above you, hiding from you, and even walking amongst you. Observation scopes are located throughout the pathways and binoculars are available for the keiki to use. Just sign them out and return when you are done.

Observation scopes
Hovering Seabirds

2. WHALES, DOLPHINS, NENE, & MONK SEALS

Besides the opportunity see seabirds in their natural habitat, there are also opportunities to see other wildlife such as whales and dolphins, endangered Nene, and Hawaiian monk seals. On this particular day, the Nene were approaching nesting season. Therefore, we were able to observe mating behaviors such as them “talking” to each other and acting territorial. We have also seen whales during whale watching season which runs from November-May. Dolphins can also be spotted from the lookout areas and are usually most visible during the summer months.

3. NATIVE PLANTS

Along the property there are informational picture boards which provide a visual inventory of what to look for. Walking up the pathway to the lighthouse, take notice of the abundance of native plants. Try to have the keiki match the picture and the description with the plants around you. The easiest one to identify is the native Napaka shrub. It has waxy green leaves with white flowers that have five petals and looks like a half-flower. Your keiki can reach these along the path and feel the surface of the leaves for the texture.

There is a Hawaiian legend that goes with this half – flower that you can tell your keiki. One version is about a royal princess who fell in love with a commoner from the mountains. Together the princess and the commoner traveled up the mountain in distress. The kupuna told them that there is nothing that he could do so that they could be together.  So as a token or rememberance of her love, the princess took the flower from her ear and tore it in half telling the commoner that he must go by the water and live.

Since then, the Naupaka flower only bloomed in half-flowers where one-half can be found near the sea and it’s counter-part found in the mountains.  Some say that if you find one of each flower and put them together, you reunite their love and it can bring you good luck. The Naupaka plant can easily root near sand and rocks and is found along most of the beaches on Kauai as it prevents erosion.  

4. Kilauea Point Lighthouse

The historic Daniel Inouye Lighthouse is another highlight. Tours are offered on certain days and times of the week, so if you are interested in actually going up into the lighthouse, plan ahead. Children need to be 44 inches tall for this activity.




Admission

Admission for children 15 and under are free and adults are $5 per person so this is a great bargain.  If you are a L.O.C.A.L. (Kamaaina) you can purchase a yearly pass for $20 that allows entry for 4 people.  Only cash and traveler’s check are accepted as forms of payments, so make sure you bring some cash.  The Refuge is closed on Sunday and Monday and open Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm so plan accordingly.


Bookstore

On the way out, there is a great bookstore that offers books and gifts or information to reinforce anything that your keiki may have been interested in


Nesting Shearwater

Getting There

Heading north on Kuhio Hwy. from Lihue pass through the towns of Kapaa and Anahola.  The next town is Kilauea (look for the gas station on the right) and turn right onto Kolo Road.  Pass the gas station and make the first left onto Kilauea Road.  The refuge is at the end of this scenic road, about 2 miles in.

I had this old photo from 2008, when my family visited!


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Kukuiolono Park, Kalaheo

Looking Backwards at Forward Thinking

Understanding the history of the Kukuiolono Park will allow for a deeper appreciation of all that this park has to offer and what it represents.  Walter McBryde, a visionary and successful businessman gifted this 178 acre park to the people of Kalaheo and Kauai upon his death in 1930.  His wish was to have the park not only for the residents of Kalaheo, but surrounding communities.

Kukuiolono Park, Kalaheo

Walter McBryde’s burial site

 In 1907, McBryde purchased 346 acres at a public auction and then leased half of it to finance the maintenance of the other half. He built the park and added a golf course in 1928.  When McBryde who is buried at Kukuiolono died, he contributed his life savings to maintain this park.

  

Three Trademarks of Kukuiolono Park

There are three distinguishable things about this park that stand out.

1. Historical Picture Boards:

These pictures boards which are in the entrance to the gardens, in the pavilion and at the golf course clubhouse, pay tribute to McBryde and represent the historical significance of the area. These are from the archives of Kukuiolono, Kauai Museum, and community members.

2. Japanese and Hawaiian Gardens

The Japanese Tea Garden is full of statues, fountains, bonsai trees, and bridges. There is also a Hawaiian Rock garden depicting ancient artifacts and a meditation pavilion.





Meditation pavilion

3. The Pavilion

The Pavilion located ¼ mile from the parking lot up to the peak provides a secluded relaxing area to digest the surrounding peace and unprecedented sweeping views of Kauai’s southern and western shorelines. My son and I made the trek up, as he enjoyed running down the tree lined path just before reaching the pavilion.



Fun for Our Keiki and Visitors

The keiki always love a trip to Kukuiolono park to play in the gardens and to frolic in the open space.  Our family enjoy the safe, relaxing lush environment that this park provides.  The keiki enjoy feeding the chickens, and playing hide and go seek on the offbeat walking paths in the Japanese Tea garden as well as Hawaiian Rock Garden.   Hiding underneath the foot bridge to play out the three billy goats Gruff is always included. 



 Kukuiolono is one of the best places we like to take our children and guests.  It is a great place to take our visitors for a quick game of golf and a nice place to have a family picnic.  Kukuiolono park is one of those hidden gems on Kauai which locals and visitors alike can enjoy. Through the experience, you gain an appreciation to those of our past, such as Walter McBryde’s, who exercised forward thinking.  His vision can help us understand that we can also leave our legacies in our own communities.  Walter McBryde was loving our community and lifestyle, a true L.O.C.A.L.

Getting There

To reach Kukuiolono Park, head mauka, towards the mountains to the town of Kalaheo.  At the light, turn left onto Papalina Road.  The green sign for Papalina Road is undeniably bold and cannot be missed.  Turn right onto Puu Road and then a quick right for the front entrance to the park.  Pass through the stone archway which was constructed to honor Walter McBryde’s mother. You will travel up the path along a rock wall to the parking lot.  If you make a right right turn at the reindeer, before the parking lot, it will take you to Kukuiolono Golf Course clubhouse, (a 9-hole community golf course that is affordably priced).  There you will experience more sweeping views of Kauai’s southwestern side including a view of Kalaheo Coffee Plantation.







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Waimea Canyon and Kōkeʻe State Park, must sees on Kauaʻi

Things To See on Kauai’s Westside

At a 4,000 foot elevation, Waimea Canyon coined the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”, boasts panoramic views and along with Kōkeʻe State Park are must see on Kaua’i. It has taken millions of years to create the splendid array of greens, browns, and reds colors showcasing the canyon. The Waimea River, erosion from the rain, water from the peaks of Mount Waiʻaleʻale, and volcanic activity are all contributors to the natural beauty that the canyon displays. Waterfalls are visible in the distance and rainbows frequently inhabit the cliffsides. A feeling of peace and tranquility sets in place as you reconnect with nature.


Getting to Waimea Canyon and Kōkeʻe

There are actually two ways to access Waimea Canyon/Kokee.  After heading West on Hwy. 50, continue through Waimea town and turn right, heading mauka (towards the mountain) on Waimea Canyon Drive (Hwy. 550).  This is the first option to get to Waimea Canyon. If you prefer to continue west on HWY. 50, another option to get up to the canyon is available where you can also get a glimpse of  the old sugar plantation town of Kekaha and pass the sugar mill that has been closed since 1999. Continuing west, when approaching Kekaha, Turn right onto Hwy 55.  The route is better on the vehicle as the climb up is less steep.  Both of these routes lead to the Waimea Canyon, however each route has its own breathtaking views and experience.  

Nonetheless, around mile marker 6, the two roads end up merging.  From a L.O.C.A.L perspective,  a recommendation is to go up using the Waimea route (Hwy. 50) to experience the rolling hills and magnificent red dirt features and then descending the mountain using the Kekaha (Hwy. 50) route as it is less steep and gives you great views of Niihau and the Westside of Kauai’s landscape, the best of both.

 

Views of Niihau and Westside of Kauai on decent using Kekaha (Hwy. 50) route

Continue on this curvy road about 4 miles and you will see the sign for  Waimea Canyon lookout which is  located between mile markers 10 and 11.

Waimea Canyon Lookout

  Veer right into the parking lot area.  Here there are restrooms and also snacks for sale.  You can purchase dried fruits and you must try the coconut water which is cold and crisp.  You can reach the lookout from the shorter steeper  ascend on the left or the ramp which provides a gradual ascend.   If you have children or a stroller and head up the gradual ramp, you will not be able to access the upper lookout because of the stairs.  Likewise, if you take the steeper shorter route, you will not be able to access the lower lookout area.  You do have the option of carrying your children but make sure they are carefully watched.  If you have an infant, a carrier would be perfect.  Either way,  have your camera ready for the sweeping views of the canyon.  

 



Views of Waimea Canyon, jackets for swift breezes and cooler temperatures

Continuing on to Kōkeʻe State Park

There are two other lookouts along the route to Kokee State Park, the Pu’u Ka Pele Lookout located between mile markers 12 and 13 and the Puu Hina Hina Lookout located between mile markers 13 and 14.  We usually skip these because of time constraints and also depending on the state of the children.  After continuing on Kokee Road for a few more miles or so you will reach Kokee State Park.  

school group playing in the meadow

Although relatively speaking Kokee is close to Waimea, the  terrain and climate differ significantly with the increased elevation.  Kokee State Park is a natural watershed, an area of land from which all surface and groundwater flows from higher elevation, Mount Waiʻaleʻale, downhill to the Waimea River.  Many community groups work to preserve and educate others about this intricate watershed and the importance of wai or water to the area and surrounding land.  The watershed is abundant with many native plants but also has invasive intruders in the form of invasive plants and animals such as pigs and goats that disturb native vegetation.  You will feel a difference in the temperature of the air as this increased elevation brings cooler temperatures.  It may often be about 10 degrees cooler in Kokee than in Waimea or Kekaha, especially in the winter months.  

An old phone booth provides symbolism; Remember these?

Kōkeʻe Lodge, Kōkeʻe Natural History Museum, and the Kanaloahuluhulu Meadow

As you turn into Kokee State Park you will see, Kokee Lodge and the Kokee Natural History Museum to your left.  The area is defined by the Kanaloahuluhulu Meadow on your right, a large open area for recreation which is a great place to have a picnic with the family or let your keiki run around a bit before getting back into the car.

Kokee Museum, Kokee State Park

Kokee Lodge offers food for purchase and also restroom facilities.  Check out the Kokee Natural History Museum which offers  information on hiking trails and the surrounding area.  Local books, maps, artwork, and handcrafted keepsakes are for sale.  They are open daily from 10-4pm and admission is free so it’s a perfect family activity.

 

Kokee Lodge, Kōkeʻe State Park

Continuing Further On to Kalalau Lookout

After stopping at the museum, you must continue on Kokee Road a few more miles to mile marker 18 to the magnificent Kalalau Lookout. Satisfaction will take over that  you can go no further.  Standing from the lookout you will see astonishing sweeping views of Kalalau valley.  On clear days you may even catch a glimpse of the shores of Kalalau beach.  Kalalau is only accessible on foot through a 13 mile hike beginning at Ke’e beach on Kauai north shore.  You will understand why you cannot circle the island, as the Napali cliffs lie in the way ans will be amazed by the natural beauty that surrounds you.

View from Kalalau Lookout over Kalalau valley and beach



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