Best places to take pictures on Kauai, Hawaiian Islands

Though each of the Hawaiian islands offers a healthy dose of paradise, Kauai remains the emerald jewel in the state’s crown. From Lihue to Princeville, a mountainous landscape covered with lush tropical rainforests, cascading waterfalls, botanical gardens and a spirit of serenity are Kauai’s major calling cards — it’s easy to see why it’s nicknamed the Garden Island 🌺  We’re here to spread the aloha by sharing our favourite, local-approved spots for photos in Kauai. 

1. Hanalei Bay

The largest bay on Kauai’s North Shore, Hanalei Bay, offers mountain views from some of Kauai’s most beautiful beaches. With frequent rains on the north side of the island, you can often see waterfalls cascading down the mountains in the distance. Hanalei Pier is iconic, stretching out along the waves dotted by surfers 🏄‍♀️  and it’s a favourite must-visit spot for visitors and locals alike. Don’t miss the Hanalei Valley Lookout on your drive north, where you can gaze over the taro fields, Namolokama mountain and panoramic views from one of the most photographed lookouts in Hawaii.

2. Shipwreck Beach

Located on Kauai’s picturesque South Shore, Shipwreck Beach is a favourite spot for experienced surfers and boogie boarders, but its beautiful golden sands and hiking trail to Makawehi Point make it a great spot for any kind of traveller. You may spot the adventurous at heart jumping from the cliff at Makawehi Point, but we prudently suggest to simply taking in the gorgeous view. 😉 While the waves are sometimes too big to swim, it’s the perfect beach for a leisurely stroll on pillow soft sands. Bring a blanket and snacks to watch the sunset!

3. Ke’e Beach

Located on Kauai’s gorgeous North Shore at the end of the highway, discover Ke’e Beach, an absolutely breathtaking oasis backed by the mossy green Makana Mountain Ridge. ⛰  Time your visit for sunset for an absolutely breathtaking view. Ke’e Beach is also the start of the Na’pali Coast and the Kalalau trail, a popular route for adventurous hikers in search of mountaintop views. While during the winter the surf can get rough, the summer months bring calm, glassy waters perfect for snorkeling around the reef. 🐠

4. Wailua Falls

Surrounded by lush vegetation at the south end of the Wailua River, take in the gorgeous natural beauty of Kauai at Wailua Falls, where you’ll find a double-tiered waterfall. The falls are easily accessible by car and if you’re lucky, you’ll catch a beautiful rainbow in the mist at the base of the falls. 🌈  While you’ll find photos of these falls on many postcards, books and even the intro of a popular ’70’s television show,  the best view is always with your own two eyes!

5. Poipu Beach

Golden sands welcome you to Poipu Beach, and its natural wading pool begs you to stay. One of the most popular beaches on Kauai’s South Shore, Poipu offers visitors plenty of fun activities, such as snorkeling, swimming, bodyboarding, and surfing. 🌊  Poipu Beach is a great pick for families, beginner surfers and bodyboarders thanks to its calm waters. Keep an eye out for an appearance by the beach’s resident Hawaiian monk seals coming for a nap on the beach. 

6. Waimea Canyon 

It might be hard to imagine “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific” on a small island, but when you take in the endless, panoramic views of Waimea Canyon, it’s easy to see where the nickname comes from. This sprawling state park is full of adventures, including winding drives with stunning (and easily accessible 🚗) overlooks, beautiful hikes and plenty of photo opportunities! 

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7. Moloa’a Bay 

This horseshoe-shaped beach on the North Shore is beloved for its white sand beaches and calm, secluded vibes. Even the drive to the beach, around switchbacks, through lush jungle canopies, and past open pastures, is an activity in itself. When the water is calm, it’s perfect for snorkeling in the protected bay, and be sure to stay for the sunset to watch a kaleidoscope of colours take over the sky. 🌅

8. Maha’Ulepu Beach

This truly remote beach is worth the trip down the bumpy dirt road! You’re welcomed by golden sands, idyllic views and the perfect spot for snorkeling and sunbathing. As you enjoy the sunshine, you can watch the windsurfers gliding along the turquoise waters. ✨  This beach is the last bit of undeveloped yet accessible coastline on Kauai, making it a pristine hidden gem. 

9. Na Pali Coast

Arguably one of the most famous and beautiful coastlines in the world, the cliffs and waterfalls cascade into the sea in a dramatic display. The best views and photo opportunities of this inaccessible area is by helicopter tour or by boat, and the adventure is unmatched. The only land access is via the Kalalau Trail that traverses five valleys and is not for the faint of heart. The first two miles from Hāʻena State Park to Hanakapi’ai Beach are a popular day hike, but traversing the entire 11-mile trail requires an overnight camping permit to complete the trek in two days. ⛺️

10. Kilauea Lighthouse

Unlike the Na Pali Coast, this Instagrammable spot is easy to find for a quick stop with an incredible view. Just a short walk from the parking lot, you’re able to see the Kilauea Lighthouse perched on the end of the cliff overlooking the water. It’s also a wildlife refuge, so keep your eyes 👀  peeled to spot a red-footed booby, a Laysan albatross, and a wedge-tailed shearwater, among other Kauai wildlife in their natural habitat. The area is also a safe haven for the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, green sea turtles, and humpback whales.

Capture memories in Kauai, Hawaii

Are you inspired to explore and photograph the island of Kauai? The Garden Isle makes it easy to capture breathtaking photos, and when you need a local’s eye behind the lens, book a Flytographer shoot to capture the Hawaiian magic. ✌️


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