We flew to Kauai on a Sunday morning, and we were all checked in and ready to go by 1:00. We decided to jump in the car and go exploring. We were staying in Kapaa, which is on the NE side of the island, so we decided to head south to check it out.
We drove all the way around the bottom, to the end of the road, stopping every once in awhile to look at the view or check out a beach. You can’t drive all the way around Kauai, the road stops at the beginning of the Na Pali coast, but we went as far as we could.
It’s a lot quieter on the West side, and a lot less touristy. The drive along the southern road reminded me of driving to Waianae on the West side of Oahu, which isn’t that surprising, but I have some of my best Hawaiian memories in Waianae, so it made me happy anyway.
We eventually turned around and came back, and drove up to the Waimea Canyon. It’s called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, which is pretty legitimate, since I was just at the Grand Canyon, and parts of the Waimea Canyon look exactly like it (although obviously nowhere near as big and deep).
The road is really pretty, there are lots of places to stop and viewpoints. Our original plan was just to go to the canyon, then to go back to the east side to find some wine and a place to watch the sunset.
But we kept saying “oh let’s just drive up a little further” until we were at the very end of the road. It’s a pretty long trip, just because it’s a windy road, and if you get behind someone going slow it can take awhile to get there, but it’s really beautiful.
The best part was the Kalalau Lookout where we got our first glimpse of the Na Pali coast. I’ve been waiting years to finally see it in person, and I was not disappointed. It was so breathtaking I kind of wanted to just throw myself over the edge and stay there forever.
I always think that on the road to Sandy’s just past Haunama Bay on Oahu. You round this corner and it’s just stunning blue ocean, and I always just want to drive straight off the cliff so I never have to leave. That’s normal, right?
We stopped on the way up to the canyon to buy mango and coconut from a little stand, and then at one of the viewpoints we bought a bag of lychee, which my parents hadn’t had before. I quite correctly described it as looking like peeled eyeballs, but they are scrumptious.
We were just cruising along this little road in Kauai, eating fruit, and the only radio station we could pick up was the Golden Oldies, so we were listening to “Peggy Sue” and “Mr. Bojangles”.
I even had my window down, which I almost never do because the wind whips my hair in my face, and I’m always cold, but it smelled so good there, like dirt and sunshine and jungle, which might not sound delicious but absolutely was, that I didn’t ever want to roll it up. It was a great day.