December in Kauai

It doesn’t get much better than Kauai Hawaii for a winter getaway! This trip was on the short side, four and a half days. We decided to try out camping! Overall it was a fun experience and it helped to feel more connected with the land. Plus we were out exploring every day from sunrise until sunset so paying for a hotel mainly just to sleep didn’t seem necessary for this visit. I’ll share some information in case you are thinking of this option for your stay. As far as location and scenery, there’s some fantastic options for campsites on the island! The facilities are decent at each with the exception of a good shower.

County Campgrounds

We stayed the first night at Anini Beach Park on the north shore which offers a nice long flat stretch of grass to setup on. The grassy area sits right up against the beach so you can pitch your tent right next to the ocean if desired! The 2nd and 3rd nights we stayed at Salt Pond Park on the south side of the island. It also was beach front. I especially enjoyed this beach for how gentle it was. The ocean is more aggressive during the winter months. Reefs surround Salt Pond which make calm pools at the shore to swim in year long. It’s a really great place for children! I enjoyed the snorkeling here.

Both of these parks require an overnight camping permit from the County which you can reserve through the mail prior to arrival or by visiting their office Monday through Friday. The fee is very minimal.

State Park Campground

The final night, we stayed at the Koke’e State Park campground. The permit for this campground must be reserved online on Hawaii’s State website, here. We enjoyed that this campground is so close to the wonderful hikes around Waimea Canyon and the Napali mountains!

Seeing the Napali coast from the top of the mountains, whether it’s from one of the drive up lookouts or you take a hike on one of the ridges, is a must when visiting this island! Though we didn’t have the opportunity on this trip, a helicopter tour and a hike along the base of the coast on the Kalalau Trail are also very highly recommended activities! Note that a permit is required now for day hikes on this trail and spots fill up fast! You can reserve a spot at The Koke’e campground is in the mountains, far from houses, stores, and hotels so it is very peaceful. With no light pollution, the evening sky is especially beautiful to stare at!

Here’s photos from exploring this incredible island for a few days!

Kalalau Lookout KauaiNapali Coast Sunrise HikeRainbow on Napali CoastMountain Goats on Napali MountainsKauai mountain goatmountain goat on Napali CoastKalalau Lookout hikemountain goats on Kauai Rainbow on Napli Coast hike in Kauai HawaiiKalalau Lookout trailNapali Coast hikeMountain Goats on Kalepa Ridge Trail in KauaiKalepa Ridge TrailRainbow on Napali Coast in Kauai HawaiiHawaiian Mountainsgoats on Hawaiian mountainsmountain goat on cliff in Kauaimountain goat family with rainbow in KauaiKauai Hawaii wildlifeMountain Goats in KauaiDouble Rainbow on Napali Coast in Kauai HawaiiDouble Rainbow on Napali Coast in Kauai Kauai mountain hikeKauai double rainbowNapali CoastKauai Photographerrainbow on the Napali CoastKauai Mountain GoatKauai hikesSunrise mountain hike in KauaiHawaii MountainsHawaiian Mountain Hikesunrise hike on KauaiKauai Elopement PhotographerSunrise portrait session in KauaiPuu O Kila Lookout KauaiPuu O Kila LookoutSunset at Puu O Kila LookoutPuu O Kila Lookout at SunsetNapli Coast SunsetHawaiian Mountain hike at sunset

Hanalei Bay

Hanalei Pier at nightHanalei Bay Pier at sunsetHanalei Pier under the starsHanalei BayHanalei Bay at Sunsetcamping at Anini Beach park Kauai

Sleeping Giant Trail

sunrise over Kapaa HawaiiSunrise hike on KauaiSleeping Giant Trail KauaiKauai Hawaii landscapeWildberries KauaiKauai natureSleeping Giant TrailSleeping Giant Trail KauaiSleeping Giant Trail at sunriseKauai evergreensSleeping Giant Trail HawaiiIsland Elopement locationshiking Sleeping Giant TrailSleeping Giant Trail Kauai HawaiiKauai Hawaii Hikeslizard on kauaiLizard in HawaiiKauai Hawaii Magical Forest

Wailua Falls

Wailua Falls Kauai

Ōpaekaʻa FallsŌpaekaʻa Falls KauaiQueen's Bath Kauai HawaiiQueen's Bath in the winterQueen's Bath Kauai Kauai Hawaii North ShoreQueen's Bath Kauai HawaiiKauai Hawaii North ShoreQueen's Bath Kauai Hawaii in DecemberKauai North Shore in DecemberQueen's Bath Kauai HawaiiHawaiian wildlife Salt Pond Beach
Salt Pond Beach South shore Kauai

snorkeling at Salt Pond Beach South shore Kauai

snorkeling at Salt Pond Beach Kauai

Kauai Snorkeling

Kauai Snorkeling on south shore

chickens on beach in Kauaitropical flowers in KauaiHawaiian tropical flowersdirt road at polihale state parkPolihale State Parkpolihale state park beachpolihale state park beachcliffs polihale state park Kauaipolihale state park KauaiBanyon tree polihale state parkhawaiian flowersHawaiian wildflowersKokee State Park Kauai HawaiiRed Dirt FallsRed Dirt Falls KauaiRed Dirt Falls Kauai Hawaiired dirt Waimea Canyon State ParkKauai Portrait location Red Dirt Falls Red Dirt Falls Waimea Canyon State parkRed Dirt Falls KauaiKauai Elopement Waimea Canyon RainbowWaimea Canyon State ParkKauai HawaiiWaimea CanyonWaimea Canyon Kauai HawaiiWaipoo Falls KauaiWaipoo Falls Waimea CanyonWaimea Canyon KauaiWaimea Canyon Kauai HawaiiWaimea Canyon Rooster on kauaiThe Garden IsleShipwreck BeachShipwreck Beach Kauai

Mahaulepu Heritage Coastal Trail

Kauai Wedding LocationCliffs on Kauai South ShoreMahaulepu Heritage Coastal Trail KauaiMahaulepu Heritage Coastal Trail

Glass Beach

Glass Beach South Shore KauaiGlass Beach KauaiMonk Seal on South Shore KauaiGlass Beach South Shore KauaiSea Glass on KauaiGlass Beach KauaiKauai Hawaii Wedding Photographer

Click here to view the adventure elopement I photographed during this trip!

Click here to view a blog post from a past Kauai trip where we explored for 10 days!


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