Can You See Kauai From Oahu?

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Hawaii is a cluster of islands in the North Pacific Ocean. The main islands, moving southeastward, are Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and the Big Island. Oahu and Kauai are next to each other.

You can see Kauai from Oahu’s northern shore. Visibility, however, depends on having clear sky conditions. The two islands are about 63 miles (101 kilometers) apart, so Oahu is also visible from Kauai if there are no clouds or fog.

Is Kauai visible from Oahu? Hawaii locals and tourists argue endlessly and passionately on social media about this topic. In this article, I will lay to rest these debates and explain how you can tour Kauai while staying in Oahu.

How To View Kauai From Oahu

The highest point of Oahu is Mount Kaala. The summit is at a height of 4,025 feet (1,226.8 meters) and enjoys a 360-degree view of the surroundings. 

Logically, Kauai should be visible from the peak of Kaala. However, the actual peak is off-limits to civilians because it is home to a tightly secured radar station operated by the Hawaii National Guard and the Federal Aviation Administration. You can only get to the end of the trail on Kaala after a grueling day-long hike. 

However, the island of Kauai is not visible from this point either, as the view is obscured by dense vegetation and neighboring peaks.

So, the only way to view Kauai from Oahu is from one of the beaches on the North Shore. 

Kauai lies to the northwest of Oahu. There is no elevated landmass in the line of sight between the two islands from the beach. This is why you can see Kauai from Oahu. 

Head out to the beach on a clear day with a pair of field glasses, the more powerful, the better. Look to the northwest. 

You can use an app to help you figure out what you are looking at. 

How To Explore Kauai if You Stay In Oahu

You can stay in Oahu and take a day trip to Kauai; it is only a short 25-minute flight away. 

Here are the ways you can explore Kauai while staying in Oahu:

Fly to Kauai and Take a Guided Tour

You can take a flight to Kauai from the Honolulu International Airport in Oahu and take a guided tour of the island. 

Many operators conduct circle-island tours that let you visit and explore the biggest tourist attractions of Kauai from the comfort and luxury of a motor coach along with other tourists or a sprawling Lincoln Navigator, Mercedes Sprinter, or Cadillac Sedan on a private chauffeured tour. 

You can choose themed tours exploring locations with similar points of interest. For instance, the Garden Isle of Kauai has been the setting for many movies. There are movie-themed guided tours that take you to these locales. 

If you go on such a tour, you will get to visit iconic spots where movies like Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark, King Kong, and Donovan’s Reef were shot. 

If you go on a private tour, you can choose the route you take. For instance, you can cover the southern and western sides of the island or drive through the northern and eastern sides. 

Fly to Kauai and Explore the Island Yourself

You can explore the attractions of Kauai island yourself without booking a tour with an operator. 

Several apps assist you with embarking on self-guided driving tours with detailed navigation instructions. You can also get hold of some tourist maps and head out to explore the island. 

Rent a car, bike, or bicycle, depending on where you want to go when you are in Kauai. You don’t need a rental car if you only intend to hop between beaches and are willing to forego remotely located places. 

You can avail of ridesharing services in Kauai. Uber and Lyft are widely available in the populated towns of the island.

Book a Helicopter Tour for a Bird’s Eye View of Kauai

The steep slopes of the Kalalea Mountain, the silvery sands and jagged cliffs of the Na Pali coast, the seemingly bottomless gorges of the Waimea Canyon, the sweeping greenery of the Hanapepe Valley, and the cascading Opaekaa Falls of Kauai look mesmerizing and surreal from the air. 

Helicopter tour operators in Oahu conduct daylong trips covering the popular natural attractions of Kauai. The trips usually start early in the morning from Oahu, so you can watch the rising sun wash over and tinge the landscape in a spectacular display of fiery reds, yellows, and oranges. 

The helicopter returns to Oahu in the evening, and many tour operators will transport you back to your hotel.

Conclusion

Finding accommodation that suits your tastes and budget is tricky, especially if you travel during the peak tourist season. If you have found one to your liking in Oahu, stay put. 

Don’t go through the hassles of searching for a hotel in Kauai. You can explore Kauai while staying in Oahu. 

Plenty of operators in Oahu provide daylong helicopter tours and combined aerial and land tours to explore the most popular tourist spots in Kauai. You can also fly to Kauai from Oahu and explore the island on your own or book a tour from an operator here.

Brittany Rajeckas

Brittany is a lifelong travel lover who can't get enough of hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities. When she's not actively traveling, she's usually already planning her next trip into the great unknown.

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