Photo Locations in North Shore Kauai, Hawaii

North Shore Kauai is a picturesque area known for its lush landscapes and breathtaking coastline. Over the last couple of years, I’ve vacationed in North Shore a couple of times with the family, spending a few days in the region each time. As a result, I could sneak out for a few photography adventures. 

Here are some popular photography locations on the North Shore of Kauai where I focused my photography activities, all within about 30 minutes of each other.

Hanalei Pier

The iconic pier extending into Hanalei Bay is an excellent sunrise and sunset photography subject. The image below was taken at sunset. Since this spot tends to be almost always crowded, even at sunset, you will likely need a 6-stop or 10-stop natural density filter for a long exposure to remove people from the photo.

Hanalei Valley Overlook

This famous viewpoint provides sweeping views of the Hanalei Valley, taro fields, and the Hanalei River. Unfortunately, most images taken here are similar to the millions already taken since there’s only so much space within the lookout to maneuver for a unique shot. It’s a nice check-the-box image. Unfortunately, I didn’t invest time here during my trips during the golden hour, so my photos are mainly during the day.

Hanalei Taro Fields

Photographing the Hanalei taro fields provides a wonderful opportunity to capture the area’s farming landscape and cultural significance. Taro farming has been a staple of Hawaiian culture for centuries, and Hanalei’s lush, terraced fields are an instant attraction for landscape photographers. This was easily my favorite location to shoot. Please be aware that it’s illegal to enter the taro beyond the numerous posted signs. You can only photograph from the side of the narrow road. There are plenty of video cameras near the fences for monitoring. I’ve been here a couple of times at sunrise, once when there was heavy rain. The weather changes constantly, so with some patience, there are some great photo opportunities.

Hanalei Church

Hanalei Church, officially known as Wai’oli Hui’ia Church, is a charming and historic church in Hanalei. It’s a popular photography subject due to its picturesque setting and quaint architecture.

Tunnels Beach

Known for its underwater tunnels in the coral reef, this beach offers unique photo opportunities, especially during low tide when you can see the formations, as seen in the photos below. I’ve only been here once and was rewarded with a pretty sunset. I will be spending more time here when I next visit.


Princeville is a pretty resort community a few miles away from Hanalei, known for its beautiful coastline. Plenty of exciting photo opportunities exist wherever the coastline is visible, especially to capture sunset views. 

The Princeville Makai Golf Course offers sweeping views of the coastline and ocean. It’s also home to the breeding pairs of Laysan Albatross that nest on the golf course.

If you walk down the street further, there is a lookout point with a bench that’s good for sunset. I found several small beaches by exploring the area.

Other Areas

Here are some other areas to consider for landscape photography. I’ve been to some of these, more as a tourist and without my camera gear. 

  • Kilauea Lighthouse: While not directly on the North Shore’s coastline, this historic lighthouse provides a great vantage point for photographing the ocean and nearby landscapes.
  • Ke’e Beach: The westernmost beach on the island, it’s the gateway to the Kalalau Trail. The beach is picturesque, but you need reservations to visit.
  • Lumahai Beach: A rugged and scenic beach featured in movies, Lumahai is known for its wild beauty and dramatic waves.