Most Romantic Places on Kauai

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    Most Romantic Places on Kauai

    There's no better time or place for a sunset stroll than as the sun sets behind Mount Makana (also known as "Bali Hai" on the North Shore of Kauai.
    ••• There's no better time or place for a sunset stroll than as the sun sets behind Mount Makana (also known as "Bali Hai" on the North Shore of Kauai. Bill Heinsohn / Getty Images

    Hawaii ranks among the most romantic places on earth for good reason. It has everything-stunning landscapes, pristine beaches, mesmerizing waves, exotic flowers and gorgeous sunsets-that make a destination appealing to couples planning a wedding or honeymoon. Best of all, each of the five major Hawaiian islands has scores of romantic spots for picnics, photo-ops, or even "I do's." Here are ten of the most romantic places on Kauai.

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    Kalalau Lookout

    Kalalau Lookout, Kauai
    ••• Nature sculpted the majesty of the jagged Na Pali Coast and one of the best spots to appreciate its beauty is from the Kalalau Lookout. Jacobs Stock Photography / Getty Images

    When driving Highway 50 on Kauai west from Hanapepe to Waimea Canyon, don't miss a chance to stop at this scenic overlook (turn right on Waimea Canyon Drive at mile marker #23 and drive to the end near mile marker #18). Your reward is a vast panorama of the dagger-like green cliffs and deep gorges of the Kalalau Valley, the largest on the Na Pali Coast. Set at 4,000 feet elevation, the lookout is the perfect spot to snap seriously breathtaking souvenir photos.

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    Tunnels Beach

    Couple in the Water at Tunnels Beach, Kauai
    ••• Couple in the Water at Tunnels Beach, Kauai. Kicka Witte / Getty Images

    One of the best spots to snorkel on Kauai is Tunnels Beach-both for the clear fish-filled water of the lagoon and the splendid views of the island's signature peak, Mount Makana (aka Bali Hai), you'll enjoy when you surface. It's easiest to enter from the wide sand beach and snorkel the inner reef, but do keep an eye on the surf. In winter, when huge waves are breaking over the reef, there can be dangerous rip currents. If so, just enjoy the Bali Hai view.

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    Waioli Hui'ia Church

    Waioli Hui'ia Church in Hanalei on Kauai
    ••• Waioli Hui'ia Church in Hanalei on Kauai. Kicka Witte / Design Pics / Getty Images

    Dating to 1912, the charming, green-shingled Waioli Hui'ia Church, established by Christian missionaries and located in the picturesque hamlet of Hanalei on the North Shore of Kauai, has a distinctive look and lovely stained-glass windows. Designed in the American Gothic style, its belfry houses a Mission Bell that dates to 1843. It's possible to marry or renew your vows inside the church.

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    Hanalei Pier

    Hanalei Pier on Kauai
    ••• Surrounded by the sea, you can admire the striking views from the Hanalei Pier on Kauai. Greg Vaughn / Getty Images

    When in the must-see Kauai hamlet of Hanalei, grab some take-out sandwiches and head out onto Hanalei Pier for a panoramic view of Hanalei Bay and the dramatic ridges of the Na Pali Coast. Built in 1922 of concrete to replace an 1892 wooden version, it is a gathering spot for locals and was the principal filming area for the beach scenes in the 1957 film South Pacific.

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    Poipu Beach

    Poipu Beach on the South Coast of Kauai
    ••• Poipu Beach on the South Coast of Kauai. Douglas Peebles / Getty Images

    This series of golden-sand beaches, spread along a one-mile stretch of coastline on the sunny South Shore of Kauai, is home to several of the island's top resorts, including the sprawling Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa and the boutique Ko'a Kea Hotel and Resort. Some areas are great for swimming and snorkeling, others for surfing and boogie boarding. But the entire strand is perfect for a romantic sunset stroll.

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    The Na Pali Coast

    The Na Pali Coast on Kauai
    ••• The Na Pali Coast on Kauai. Matthew Micah Wright / Getty Images

    If you're adventurous, you can hike Kauai's legendary Na Pali Coast along the Kalalau Trail from Ke'e Beach, which stretches along Kauai's Northwest coast. But the most romantic way to admire its majestic, rippled green geology is to sail past it on a catamaran at sunset, champagne in hand. Several companies, including Captain Andy's, offer sunset dinner cruises.

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    Limahuli Garden and Preserve

    Limahuli Garden and Preserve on Kauai
    ••• Limahuli Garden and Preserve on Kauai. David Ponton / Getty Images

    Backed by iconic Mount Makana (aka "Bali Hai") on Kauai's verdant North Shore, the Limahuli Garden and Preserve is a natural botanical garden set in a postcard-perfect valley. Its terraced gardens are filled with native plant species as well as taro and other crops that were important to the early Hawaiians. You can do a self-guided, hand-in-hand tour on a 3/4-mile loop from Tuesday to Saturday.

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    Waimea Canyon Lookout

    Puu Hinahina Lookout, Waimea Canyon State Park, Kauai
    ••• Puu Hinahina Lookout, Waimea Canyon State Park, Kauai. Michael DeFreitas / Robert Harding / Getty Images

    There's not better spot to enjoy the spectacular view of Kauai's Waimea Canyon, which is nicknamed the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific," than from the main lookout in Waimea Canyon State Park. It's open during daylight hours, so if you're early birds, a morning visit will help you avoid the tour buses, or time your visit to an hour or so before sunset on a clear day when the canyon's ever-changing red, orange and green cliffs are at their most dramatic.

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    Kilauea Lighthouse

    Kilauea Lighthouse on Kauai
    ••• Kilauea Lighthouse on Kauai. Danita Delimont / Getty Images

    Set on 31 acres at the tip of rolling green Kilauea Point on the North Shore of Kauai, this historic white-and-red light station dates to 1913 and was a pivotal navigation aid for ships sailing on an Orient run. It's part of the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, where thousands of migratory seabirds, such as red-footed boobies, great frigatebirds and albatross, rest, forage or nest. Bring along a picnic basket and a pair of binoculars and enjoy the view.

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    The Coconut Coast at Sunrise

    Morning sunrise through the palm trees along Lydgate Beach
    ••• Morning sunrise through the palm trees along Lydgate Beach. Ian Ludwig / Design Pics / Getty Images

    Kauai's palm-tree-studded (hence the Coconut Coast nickname) Eastern shore is the best place to watch the sun rise. Several resorts and condominium developments are located along this stretch, from Kapa'a to Lihue, and make a great base for early rising couples who want a dramatic backdrop for their morning run or walk.

    About the Author

    Donna Heiderstadt is a New York City–based freelance travel writer and editor who has spent her life pursuing her two main passions: writing and exploring the world.