I'm traveling with my family to Kauai this summer, the second week of August, for a week. Does anyone have any great places that they recommend to take some photos? Thanks for your help.
I am actually returning for my 4th or 5th time to Kauai this October.
1. Take a hike along the Na pali coast line. There is a trail that goes along it for up to around 11 miles. It is the kalalau trail. You would have to walk the whole 11 miles to get to Kalalau valley. Never did it, and it would take two days.
2. Need to take the Waimea Canyon drive up to the Kalalau lookout. There are a several trails to hike in that area also.
3. And, there are quite a few beaches to visit. I see Poipu Beach park always being mentioned in the top 10 beaches in hawaii. I do have a condo timeshare in that area. It is the sunny side of Kauai. Of course, after taking a long hike along the Kalalau trail, should take a swim in ke'e beach.
4. Visit the fern Grotto.
5. Take a helicopter tour.
6. Also, there are raft and boat tours.
You can buy some books on Kauai that will give many hints on what to do. I bought the book "The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook". There is also a book "Kauai Trails" if you are going there to do a lot of hiking.
Consider the Na Pali coast recommendation seconded. Spectacular. (Btw khlvrsn, we managed to pull the trail in one day one time, but I would never ever try to do that again -- started before dawn, finished after nightfall, and not exactly a lot of stopping along the way. I couldn't get out of bed the next day.)
In the Koloa area (and lots of other places on the island) you'll be able to find a lot of abandoned cane roads from the once booming (and now almost non-existant) sugar cane industry on the island. Take a drive down some of these (watch for potholes!) and you will find some interesting shots, the old cane processing buildings can make interesting run down subjects that contrast with the beautiful landscape.
Go to a beach called Mahalapu. It's kind of hard to find, but a spectacular place to explore for photography and very nice and secluded. Make sure to walk back along the trail (last time I was there the trail kind of disappeared places, but just keep going along the cliff until you get to the second beach -- you'll understand what I mean if/when you get there.)
Poipu is a cool beach, but often has an annoying / touristy crowd because of its vicinity to a number of hotels.
The Sleeping Giant trail is worth hiking if you've got a couple hours to kill. Make sure to notice that it doesn't end quite where it looks like it does. Make your way through the bushes that are obscuring the last stretch of trail and go all the way out. The last 200 - 300 meters make all the difference in the world, some spectacular views at the end. (A little off topic: If you're gutsy (and a little wasted), when you're going back down the mountain there are some massive stretches that you can just slide down on your bum -- absolutely exhilerating -- just make sure you pack all camera gear well, put it on your front side, and hold on tight.)
The Alakai Swamp Trail is awesome, but it is a swamp and while there is a boardwalk, it's not always in the best condition, last time I was there, large portions still didn't have a boardwalk at all, but the point is this: you'll want to take measures to protect your gear. And don't be like me and jump into a pit of mud on impulse, they are much deeper than they look. Surprisingly warm though.
Some of the best beaches on the island are hidden at the end of long complicated paths through old cane roads followed by a climb down a cliff. They are always spectacular, and always completely secluded, but you won't get any specific directions out of me (and probably not anyone else who knows some of these places). Just explore, explore, explore and you'll be sure to find some awesome beaches.
so you'll be in the Princville area I guess. Very pretty sunsets at Hanalei Bay. The thing about Kauai is that the road doesn't go all the way around the island. You will have a pretty decent drive to get yourself to Waimea Canyon. You'll pass the Fern Grotto early in your drive and should you choose to go towards Poipu you can see "Spouting Horn" as well. The island is full of raw beauty...enjoy!!
My folks live on Kauai so naturally I've spent a lot of time there. Of all the suggestions, the heli-tour is a must do. Of the whole island, only 20% is accessable by car and of all the waterfalls, you can only drive up to two of them. Check out Will Squyres Helicopter Tours at http://www.helicopters-hawaii.com/. They are the best in my opinion. Longest flights, best pilots, nice big windows on the helicopters and the 360 degree waterfalls in Mount Waialeale are unreal!!!
I visited Kauai earlier this year and took some excellent photos of the area. Most of the most beautiful places and landscapes may not be obvious, so I would recommend getting a travel book, it helped us out a lot. I would like to say again that the Na Pali coastline is absolutely incredible. My two favorite spots were the Kilauea light house, which was a bird conservatory and a whale watching station, and the Polihale state park. If I only had a slide scanner I could show you the incredible bird pictures I shot at the light house. The selection of exotic birds on Kauai is exceptional. As for the park, I remember driving four or five miles on bumpy roads through sugar cane fields to wind up on what was practically a private beach. The beach must have been two miles long, and I only saw one other person there the entire evening I spent there. The Na Pali coast is spectacular here with sharp mountains jutting up right from the water a little ways down the beach. If you stay to watch the sunset you will be in for a little treat. On our way back through the cane fields, we kept spotting owls in the middle of the road. Having a fast 200mm f2.8 prime and a 420ex flash along with me, I couldn't help but get out of the car with bare feet to photograph these owls. Sure enough on the way back to the car my eye caught sight of something illuminated by headlights, a sugar cane spider nearly 4 inches in diameter. Then I noticed they were all around me....... Fortunately they're not poisonous, and I did get a nice full frame picture of one of these suckers. The owls come out to eat the spiders, its actually quite fascinating. With a fast telephoto, 400 speed slide film and a high powered external flash you should be able to get some interesting pics. My favorite was one I shot with an owl in mid flight, just taking off.