The Kauai South Shore is a visual feast. Everywhere the eye lands is something beautiful, interesting, colorful, alive. Without the tradewinds of the North, the South gets an abundance of year-round sunshine which means more bright, clear, picture-perfect days. Ideally, one experiences these sights in the moment — taken in at leisure with all the sounds, smells and feels that give it dimension and context. But posting a photo — especially with your own artistic flavor — is a great way to share a little piece of the island with those who cannot be with you.
The writer Anaïs Nin once said, “We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are.” What you see through your lens will be altogether different from that of the traveler next to you. So, simply as inspiration and a starting point, here are ten of the most wonderfully photographable spots that collectively begin to capture the overall vibe of this pristine coastal stretch of Kauai. What will you see?
1. Poipu Beach
Kauai’s southernmost beach is glorious Poipu (which means “crashing waves” in Hawaiian). Crowned “the best beach in America” by the Travel Channel, Poipu is beloved for its cozy snorkeling cove, vast wading pools teeming with sea life, swaying coconut palms, a vast grassy park, and those world-famous sunsets.
Kauai’s Poipu Beach even features a rare tombolo — a raised stretch of sand where two sets of waves converge.
Of all the gorgeous Kauai South Shore beaches, this one is not to be missed. Grab a west-facing shot of the palm-framed ocean at sunset and it might just begin to tell the tale of how you feel gazing on it live. #Poiperfect
2. The Heritage Trail
The fun-for-all Mahaulepu Heritage Trail begins at the north side of Shipwreck Beach and meanders all the way along the sea cliffs for several miles. The cliffs look over the sparkling Pacific Ocean where whales breach and birds call, and the water crashes against the rocks, sending white spray skyward. Grab a shot in any safe spot along this trail with the waves crashing right up behind you. #YesIGotDrenched
3. The Farmer’s Market
This rustic no-frills farmer’s marketplace in Kauai features a dizzying array of produce, flowers and local specialties.
Grab a shot of you and a buddy with your white sugarloaf pineapples.
If you’re staying at Kauai South Shore resort Koloa Landing, you can take these rare and sweet faves home to slice up in your villa’s gourmet kitchen. #PineappleMaiTaisTonight
4. Spouting Horn
This whale-like blowhole in the rocks in Poipu is one of the most beloved — and photographed — Kauai scenic spots. The unique lava tube formations at Spouting Horn in Poipu release a huge spout of water that shoots up several stories high. Hear the roar from inside and decide for yourself if the huge lizard living in there is a myth or not. . . If you’re lucky, you can grab a shot the moment it blows and when the sun hits it just right to reflect a rainbow. #RainbowConnection
5. Koloa Landing Resort
Our spectacular Kauai beach resort has the largest villas of any the Kauai South Shore resorts complete with full kitchens, washer-dryers and all the comforts of home — plus a 350,000-gallon, multi-level pool that the Los Angeles Times calls one of the Hawaiian Islands’ best.
Grab a world-famous mai tai from the poolside Holoholo Grill Restaurant and get a shot of you holding it in front of the thundering waterfall of the resort’s swim-thru grotto. Cheers! #GottaGrotto!
6. Old Koloa Town
A quick car ride up the road from most Kauai South Shore hotels gets you to historic Koloa Town where rush hour means slowing down to let a few chickens cross the road. Clapboard plantation buildings lovingly maintained since the 19th-century house art, music and clothing shops, and some beloved mom-and-pop restaurants.
Grab a shot of someone sitting on the bench of one of the charming wooden-porch-lined shops dwarfed by a canopy of ancient trees. #OldKoloaTownRushHour
7. & 8. Allerton Garden / McBryde Garden
Hawaii’s Allerton Garden is the actuality of that tropical paradise you see in your dreams. A stunning oasis of flora and fauna that truly has to be seen to be believed.
Grab a shot of your travel mates climbing amid the enormous roots of the same prehistoric Australian fig tree seen in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. #SendLauraDernStat
Afterward, head to McBryde Garden in the Lawai Valley to gawk at even more breath-taking wonders of Mother Nature. (Kauai isn’t called the Garden Isle for nothin’ — and these are some of the prettiest natural Kauai scenic spots.)
Grab a photo in front of a waterfall or on the rustic bridge that arcs over a running stream. #McBrydeWellGroomed
9. The Shops at Kukui’ula Village
This quaint and colorful collection of Kukui’ula gift shops clothing stores, art galleries, and vibrant eateries offers a decidedly Kauaian vibe from end to end. It’s an easy walk here from many Kauai South Shore hotels.
Treat yourself to a house-made Lappert’s waffle cone piled high with bright mango sorbet and grab a shot sitting on the grand plantation-style stairs leading up to Merriman’s restaurant. #TheLappertsOfLuxury
10. Koloa Zipline
Boasting the longest ride on the island at half a mile, the Koloa Zipline tour takes you right through the heart of a rainforest.
You cannot take a photo while ziplining because holding on is priority number one, but you can take shots of each other as you zoom away from the various platform — or come in for a happy landing. #ZipZipHooray
A word about safety: Selfies have helped transform photos into something more personal. Sure it’s great to see a nice shot of a waterfall, but how about a shot of YOU with mouth agape, pointing in goofy disbelief at this waterfall raging behind you? Way more fun. . . It’s worth noting that with the advent of social media in general — and posting selfies in particular — more and more people are risking and losing their lives to capture exotic and dangerous locales. Please always use an abundance of caution. Let’s keep the hyperbolic statement, “That place was to die for!” just that: hyperbole.
by Erica Karlin — Koloa Landing Resort
If you would like to find even more Instagram-worthy locations, the concierge at Koloa Landing Resort has loads of ideas, maps, excursions, and all the latest events. Contact us to book a villa, or to get more info about our beloved resort on the sunny Kauai South Shore.