Kauai Hawaii History

Kauai is a place where the echoes of Polynesian history can still be felt. Around 1500 years ago, explorers on outrigger canoes completed their nearly 2000 mile long sea voyage and first landed on Kauai shores. Here they stayed undisturbed for around 500 years until the second wave of sea-canoe travelers appeared from Tahiti. It was with these arrivals that current Hawaiian gods and their beliefs were formed as well as many traditions we still see today.

Kauai is a fascinating island to visit. Its name has no particular meaning, but it was suggested that the Polynesian founder of Hawaii may have been named Kauai loa and he would have had his “favorite place around one’s neck.” The Hawaiian tradition of wearing a necklace in the shape of Kauai, which means “the beloved child” is thought to represent one’s most favorite person. Legend states that this practice originated from when ancient Hawaiians would wear their sons around their necks as they went about on daily tasks and errands. Kauai’s proper name remains a mystery, but its ancient Hawaiian dialect is very much alive. Unlike the currently accepted variety of tongue that has been lost to time, the Kauaian language offers insight into how languages evolve and morph over generations because it differs distinctly from modern-day tongues in Hawaii.

Kauai Hawaii Population

Kauai County, Hawaii is the 5th largest county in Hawaii and its estimated population of 72,543 continues to grow slowly with an increase from 0.17% last year to today’s estimates. The 2010 Population was 67205 which has seen a growth rate of 7.94%.

Historic Places of Kauai

Though Kauai is the oldest island in Hawaii, it has a unique culture that’s full of adventures. You can start by exploring Captain Cook’s arrival to Waimea Bay and then go on an adventure to see one of America’s most famous first sugar plantations at Koloa Plantation Company!

Heritage Sites to Visit

There are many beautiful and interesting attractions in Hawaii, but Kauai has two special Heritage Sites that deserve a visit. Which can be found throughout the islands and provide significant contributions to understanding why this state is so special.

Waimea Canyon State Park is a 14 mile stretch of beautiful canyon views and hiking trails on Kauai’s west side. The park has been nicknamed “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific” by locals for its dramatic landscape, earning its recognition as one of Hawaii’s most popular destinations.

The Daniel K. Inouye Lighthouse at the point of Kauai’s coast is a lighthouse with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and rugged north shoreline, not to mention an amazing glimpse into Hawaii’s history.

Small Towns

Kauai is a historically significant island in Hawaii. It has many small towns, including Waimea Town which was first populated by Europeans when British explorer Captain James Cook landed there for the first time in 1778 and gave it its name: “Sandwich Isles.” A statue of him now stands to commemorate this discovery.

Once a thriving community in the mid-1900s, Hanapepe Town is now Kauai’s art capital. The town has been producing internationally renowned works of art like paintings and pottery for decades with many residents working as artists themselves. Even further west on the South Shore lies Old Koloa Town which still preserves its charm from over 100 years ago when sugarcane plantations were an integral part of life there.

Kauai’s first sugar mill is now a tourist attraction, and an exploration of the Koloa Heritage Trail will give you insight into Kauai’s history. If you want to see how multicultural this island really is, then come explore!


The Kauai Museum has a number of exciting exhibitions that allow you to see the past. You can walk through missionary life during the 1830s and get an idea of what it was like on this beautiful island than in Hanalei Town, The Waioli Mission House and Waioli Huiia Church give visitors a glimpse into these interesting times.

The Kokee Natural Museum is a great place to learn about the natural history of Waimea Canyon. In this museum, you’ll find information on how 4,345 acres came to be protected as one of Hawaii’s most stunning state parks and what makes it so special.

The 100- acre Grove Farm Homestead Museum on Kauai’s north shore is an open-air museum that reveals how plantations were operated back when sugar was king and living quarters for both laborers and their families dotted the fields of green cane plants as far as you could see! If you are interested in learning more about the history of Kauai and a bit about its native culture, then this is one museum that will definitely interest you, The Kauai Museum. The artifacts range from ancient to contemporary times with an area dedicated to Hawaiian art such as paintings or pottery.

Kauai Restaurants

There are many different types of cuisine on the island that have been influenced by global, historical, and cultural events. Whether it is fine dining or local plate lunches no matter what you order there will always be fresh ingredients from Kauai’s unique tropical fruit to traditional Hawaiian dishes like Kalua Pork.

Hawaii Regional Cuisine is a decades-old movement that features locally sourced ingredients. It’s found at Merriman’s Fish House and Roy’s Poipu Bar & Grill, where you can enjoy freshly caught mahi mahi or wahoo over one of the best meals in Hawaii. For something more upscale with similar flavors, visit Red Salt on Koloa Road – it’ll be worth every penny spent!

Reserve a special evening for some prearranged traditional Hawaiin fun: you’ll enjoy savory kalua pig (slow-cooked in its own juices), fresh pineapple spears dipped into dark molasses sauce, tasty taro leaves, or sweet potatoes mixed with coconut milk—all this served up while being entertained by live music like guitarists and ukulele players singing cheerful songs that are as lighthearted as they are catchy.

Kauai Snorkeling Tours

For those who love to enjoy the outdoors, Kauai Snorkeling Tours is the way to go! Whether you are new to the islands or an experienced diver, there are several beautiful and challenging tours available to explore the scenic beauty of Kauai. Some tours provide the option of scuba diving and snorkeling for novices, while others provide the full experience of seeing the exotic underwater environment of this delightful island. And there are even tours that take place entirely in the water! No matter what your skill level, there is a Kauai Snorkeling Tour to fit you and provide you with the ultimate island adventure.