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Kauai, drive to Waimea Canyon or North Shore?


antsmarching777
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Trying to decide what to do for our only full day in Kauai off the PoA in June. We have a rental car booked for the day and we're currently debating whether the drive up to Waimea Canyon is worth taking up the day, versus heading up the North Shore towards Princeville. 

 

Has anyone done both and have any suggestion as to which would be a better use of the day?

 

Thanks!

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No but I asked a similar question not too long ago (the thread is called "Who has driven on Kauai".)  I also searched the question on Trip Advisor.  As much as I would love to see the north shore, I think we can see more in the time allotted if we stay south.  However, we are going in November and in June the north shore will have better ocean conditions, etc., so it might make more sense.  We also want to have a nice dinner off the ship that night so staying south makes more sense.  Sunset is also earlier when we are going--we don't want to drive back in the dark.  Sunset in June looks to be 7:00 p.m. or later depending on when you are going.

 

I crafted draft itineraries for both drives through research and the Shaka app. We will use the Shaka app for our drive either way. You might want to research for any closures on the north shore, I think there might still be a few in June.  

Edited by Beachiekeen
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I’ve enjoyed going to both ends of Kauai & both were enjoyable...just different.  Driving the southern route to Waimea Canyon wasn’t as lush as the northern end.  

 

Although if driving to the end of Waimea Canyon it becomes forested & on clear days has views of a section of the isolated Na Pali Coast.  Returning to the ship there’s the small town of Hanapepe (the inspiration for the Lilo & Stich town), Spouting Horn blowhole, Kauai Coffee plantation and Poipu Beach which to me offers the best conditions on Kauai.

 

The northern route was rainier & lush but think the beach conditions aren’t as good although they’re more beautiful.  I just checked & Kuhio Road near Lumahi Beach is still only open to residents from storm damage & scheduled to reopen on 6/13/19.  Lumahi Beach was used for filming of the movie South Pacific.  The road closure also eliminates access to the end of the road at Ke’e Beach to access the Kalalau Trail to a walkable portion of the Na Pali Coast.

 

That’s merely my experiences but don’t know which is your best option.  Whichever you decide to visit, I’ve read there can be some traffic returning to Lihue so don’t miss the ship. ☺️

 

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Edited by Astro Flyer
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3 hours ago, antsmarching777 said:

Thanks so much for the replies!

 

I think we will plan for long drive up to the North Shore on Thursday and then taking a flight seeing tour with Wings Over Kauai before the ship leaves Friday afternoon.

We are doing Wings Over Kauai on Friday too!

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I have lived on Kauai.   If I had only one day I would do Waimea canyon.    Head a bit further west as you will see beautiful shorelines, be careful and do as the posted signs regarding safe water conditions.   A few hidden treasures.   Sunsets are perfect in Poipu.  

Weather is always perfect in Poipu.   Glass Beach, only the locals know of, yet you can search and collect colored glass pieces.   FYI all beaches are open to public, getting to some might take a bit of imagination.     Just past spouting horn, a few blocks, a small trail on the left will lead you to a spectacular ocean viewing sight.     Dolphins often can be seen swimming by.  If you are driving along and you see a few cars parked along the road yet nothing is in view, your locals surfing.   Well I could write a book, you only have one day.   FYI.  Hilo Hattie is great to stop in but Walmart will have a lot of  standard souvenirs.  Coffee a must to take home, on that subject you can stop in before or after Waimea for free to a coffee plantation.    Good luck and Aloha 

 

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21 hours ago, Wltodream said:

I have lived on Kauai.   If I had only one day I would do Waimea canyon.    Head a bit further west as you will see beautiful shorelines, be careful and do as the posted signs regarding safe water conditions.   A few hidden treasures.   Sunsets are perfect in Poipu.  

Weather is always perfect in Poipu.   Glass Beach, only the locals know of, yet you can search and collect colored glass pieces.   FYI all beaches are open to public, getting to some might take a bit of imagination.     Just past spouting horn, a few blocks, a small trail on the left will lead you to a spectacular ocean viewing sight.     Dolphins often can be seen swimming by.  If you are driving along and you see a few cars parked along the road yet nothing is in view, your locals surfing.   Well I could write a book, you only have one day.   FYI.  Hilo Hattie is great to stop in but Walmart will have a lot of  standard souvenirs.  Coffee a must to take home, on that subject you can stop in before or after Waimea for free to a coffee plantation.    Good luck and Aloha 

 

Thanks so much!

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On 5/26/2019 at 6:03 PM, Wltodream said:

I have lived on Kauai.   If I had only one day I would do Waimea canyon.    Head a bit further west as you will see beautiful shorelines, be careful and do as the posted signs regarding safe water conditions.   A few hidden treasures.   Sunsets are perfect in Poipu.  

Weather is always perfect in Poipu.   Glass Beach, only the locals know of, yet you can search and collect colored glass pieces.   FYI all beaches are open to public, getting to some might take a bit of imagination.     Just past spouting horn, a few blocks, a small trail on the left will lead you to a spectacular ocean viewing sight.     Dolphins often can be seen swimming by.  If you are driving along and you see a few cars parked along the road yet nothing is in view, your locals surfing.   Well I could write a book, you only have one day.   FYI.  Hilo Hattie is great to stop in but Walmart will have a lot of  standard souvenirs.  Coffee a must to take home, on that subject you can stop in before or after Waimea for free to a coffee plantation.    Good luck and Aloha 

 

Thanks so much for the great info!

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I've been keeping an eye on the closures on the north side and they're supposedly going to be done by the time we arrive in late June. However, situations like this are always changing and delays should be expected. I'm planning a nice day for either way we decide to go and we will probably have to wait to see which route is available once we're closer to the cruise.

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