Whenever someone comes to visit Kauai and they want to know what they have to see while they’re here, I always say the Na Pali Coast. Although stunning, it is not easily accessible. There is no road along the coast; it can only be seen by hiking or from the sea.

When my folks were here on their Hawaii Vacation in October, I really wanted them to see it. We thought a sunset dinner cruise would be perfect but were a little worried. The winter season was beginning and the north shore can get some good sized swells. We thought the boat pounding on the waves might be too much for my mom. She wanted to try it anyway, and we were glad she did. We used Blue Dolphin Charters because they offer discounted rates if you book through the internet. We met on the west side of the island in Port Allen and got a little lecture on what to expect and how to safely walk on the boat. For example, we were told to face the ladder as you climb up and down it.

The Blue Dolphin has two, large motor-sailing catamarans. There were about 20 people on the tour with us and we all found a comfortable seat for the cruise out. Dad is retired Air Force so he was excited as we sailed by the Pacific missile range facility, Barking Sands. Dad was also an avid hiker; I remember many hiking and cross country skiing trips with him. That was one of the reasons I wanted him to come. We have seen some amazing mountain vistas together but the Na Pali, now that’s something special!

Once we got to the northern end of the coastline, we stopped for a dinner of kalua pork, rice, poi, salad, chicken teriyaki and freshly made cookies. Oh, and all the Mai Tai’s we wanted! The ride back was beautiful: a golden sunset illuminated the forbidden island called Niihau.

A young couple was on board, on their honeymoon. There was my folks, celebrating 56 years. The four of them sat together talking, each gaining inspiration from the other. The young couple garnered strength from my folks’ life long commitment. My folks passion for life rekindled, recalling what a wonderful life they’ve had together. All framed by Kauai’s majestic coastline.

Photos by Dan Lane


  1. The Na Pali Coast is something you don't want to miss.  I also took a boat tour to admire the dramatic coastline from the water – it was truly breathtaking.  We saw some hikers trekking through the mountains (that hike looks a little too challenging for me, but I'm sure would be an amazing experience!)

  2. we will do that too next time… sad that I"ve been to Kauai twice and haven't done it yet.    that and the botanical garden.  I'm determined!

  3. A few years ago I went on the Pride of  America cruise and  the Na Pali Coast was unbelieveable! It is a must see when visiting the beautiful island of Kauai.

  4. I have hiked this coast all the way into the water fall walking thru bamboo forests the funny part was that we ran into our friends from Park City Utah in the bamboo forest Jeff and I were walking and we heard a voice is that Jeff and we looked and all started laughing small world.  I love the catamaran sails viewing it from the ocean too it reall is surreal and a must do for anyone coming to Hawaii

  5. OMGosh Ashley, that is amazing, small world, smaller island! Katherine look for a post common soon on the Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens on the North Shore of Kauai.

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