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Nestled on the lush north shore of the island of Kauai lies the resort community of Princeville, widely considered one of Hawaii’s most beautiful destinations. If you’re wondering where exactly Princeville is and what makes it so special, you’ve come to the right place.

In short, Princeville is located on the northern tip of Kauai, about 9 miles from Hanalei on the famous North Shore. It sits on a high plateau overlooking the Pacific, with epic mountain and ocean views.

Princeville is home to luxury resorts, world-class golf courses, spectacular beaches and scenery that has to be seen to be believed.

Location and Geography of Princeville

Where Princeville Got Its Name

The town of Princeville sits on the lush northern shore of Kauai island in Hawaii. It earned its regal name from Robert Wyllie, the minister of foreign affairs for King Kamehameha IV in the 1850s. Wyllie governed the island as an overseer for the monarch, who named the town after his son, Prince Albert Edward Kauikeaouli Leiopapa a Kamehameha.

The exotic name reflects the area’s storied history as a gathering place for Hawaiian royalty and high chiefs over the centuries.

Breathtaking North Shore Setting Above the Pacific

Spanning over 2,000 acres along Kauai’s coast, Princeville basks in a breathtaking setting overlooking the sparkling blue Pacific. Steep cliffs and jungle-cloaked peaks surround the resort community. Within the town lie over 5 miles of spectacular shoreline, home to world-class beaches and coves.

Its position on Kauai’s northern point gives Princeville a very wet climate, with an average yearly rainfall over 160 inches. Lush greenery carpets the slopes around town. The unique microclimate also lends itself to rainbow sightings, which arc over the sea and landscapes more than 240 days per year on average.

Elevation within Princeville ranges from sea level up to over 600 feet into the peaks. This steep terrain opens up jaw-dropping vistas over Hanalei Bay and beyond. Princeville provides a gateway to the sprawling north shore sights such as Na Pali Coast State Park with its distinctive jagged sea cliffs.

Top Resorts and Accommodations

St. Regis Princeville

The luxurious St. Regis Princeville sits atop the stunning Hanalei Bay overlooking Bali Hai Waters with breathtaking views. This 5-star resort features 252 lavishly appointed rooms and suites with private lanais and upscale amenities such as rainfall showers, deep soaking tubs, 42-inch flat screen TVs, and Nespresso coffee makers (

Facilities include 3 on-site restaurants, a 24-hour fitness center, tennis courts, outdoor pools, and the full-service Nalu Kinetic Spa for rejuvenating treatments.

Notably, the hotel provides signature St. Regis butler service – your personal butler can assist with all your needs during your stay. This award-winning Starwood resort also features nightly entertainment and activities plus kid’s club, sunrise yoga classes, scenic helicopter tours, surf lessons and more.

The ideal spot for a romantic honeymoon or a family getaway in paradise.

The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort

Nestled along Hanalei Bay, the fabulous Westin Princeville Ocean Resort offers sleek rooms and suites with private lanais overlooking the shimmering Pacific (

Decorated in soothing earth tones, the 345 accommodations provide guests Westin’s signature Heavenly Bed and rainfall showerhead.

On-site amenities feature a stunning cliffside pool with swim-up bar, Anara Spa for rejuvenating treatments, and 3 restaurants serving up locally-sourced cuisine plus specialty cocktails. The sparkling sands of Makaiwa Bay are right below for swimming, snorkeling, surfing.

And the hotel’s activity center offers sport fishing charters, photograph safaris, standup paddle boards, cultural tours and more! Great choice for an active, yet relaxing Kauai getaway.

Hanalei Bay Resort

The spectacularly situated Hanalei Bay Resort sits beachfront overlooking gorgeous Hanalei Bay framed by lush green mountain peaks ( This fabulous resort features 156 one-to-four bedroom condo rentals, all decorated in tropical motif with fully-equipped kitchens, large lanais, spacious living areas and upscale amenities for exceptional comfort.

On-site facilities include a fitness center, lagoon-style pool with hot tub, tennis courts and beachfront restaurant. Guests enjoy direct beach access for swimming, surfing, standup paddle boarding plus stunning views of waterfalls cascading down green peaks.

Close to shops, art galleries, restaurants and farmer’s market in delightful Hanalei town. Outstanding choice for an extended family trip or reunion!

World-Famous Golf and Outdoor Activities

Challenging Championship Golf Courses

Princeville is a golfer’s paradise, with access to not just one but two world-class golf courses designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. The stunning scenery of the surrounding mountains and Pacific Ocean make these courses breathtakingly beautiful.

The Prince Course hosted the PGA Tour for many years and is considered one of the toughest in Hawaii with narrow fairways and fast greens. The Makai Course offers spectacular views of Hanalei Bay and Bali Hai and is friendlier to resort golfers.

With a collection of long par 4s and challenging par 3s, it’s no wonder golfers fly from all over the world to challenge these renowned courses.

Hiking the Famed Kalalau Trail Along the Na Pali Coast

Just a short drive from Princeville brings hikers to the start of the stunning 11-mile Kalalau Trail, arguably one of the world’s most beautiful hikes. With towering emerald cliffs, secluded waterfalls, and beaches with aquamarine water dotted with sea turtles, this trail has put Kauai hiking on the global tourist map.

Sections are quite dangerous, so only experienced adventurers should attempt the entire trail, but anyone can enjoy the first couple of miles to get a taste of this natural wonder. No matter where you turn back, prepare to be awed by the epic vistas along the spectacular Na Pali coastline.

Kayaking, Snorkeling & Surfing

From Princeville there is easy access to the North Shore’s best ocean adventures. Sign up for guided tours or rent your own gear to snorkel with green sea turtles at beautiful Anini Beach. Test your balance during standup paddleboarding along Hanalei Bay.

Do some wet suit ocean kayaking to dazzling sea caves or remote beaches only accessible from the water. If you dare, try surfing the powerful winter swells or mellower summer waves, or watch the surfing masters during competitions at several legendary North Shore surf spots.

With vibrant underwater scenery and year-round waves, Princeville is a marine playground for water lovers.

Nearby Towns and Attractions

Hanalei – Charming Surfer Town

The charming north shore town of Hanalei is a must-visit while staying in Princeville. Located just 10 miles from Princeville, Hanalei offers stunning mountain views, world-class surf breaks, quaint shops and restaurants, and a relaxed Hawaii vibe (Hawaii Travel Guide).

This historic town has been a haven for surfers dating back to the 1960s and iconic breaks like Hanalei Bay continue to attract wave riders from around the world. Be sure to stroll down the main street lined with surf shops, art galleries and shave ice stands.

Don’t miss the famous Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant, which serves up delicious fresh seafood and features beautiful ocean views.

Tunnels Beach for Snorkeling

Adventurous travelers rave about the incredible snorkeling found at nearby Tunnels Beach (Hawaii Magazine). Often ranked as one of the top beaches in Hawaii, Tunnels features a coral reef system just offshore that allows snorkelers to view a stunning diversity of colorful tropical fish and sea turtles in crystal clear waters.

It’s an easy 8 mile drive from Princeville and offers picture perfect scenery with lush jungle backdrop meeting white sand and turquoise waters – true Hawaiian paradise! Be sure to bring reef-safe sunscreen to protect the fragile underwater ecosystem.

Waimea Canyon State Park

One of Kauai’s most awe-inspiring sights, Waimea Canyon State Park is a must for nature lovers. Dubbed the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”, this natural wonder features a dramatic deep red gorge carved from volcanic rock over eons by the Waimea River.

Spanning over 10 miles long and up to 3,600 feet deep, the panoramic vistas of Waimea Canyon are nothing short of breathtaking (Hawaii State Parks). Just a quick 25 mile drive inland from Princeville, explored can trek numerous hiking trails that wind through the canyon or take in the views from various scenic lookout points along the main road.

For the best photos, plan your visit in the early morning or late afternoon when sunlight casts gorgeous colors across the canyon walls.

How to Get to Princeville

Fly into Lihue Airport on Kauai

The easiest way to get to the paradise resort town of Princeville is to fly into Lihue Airport (LIH) on the island of Kauai. Most major airlines offer direct flights to Lihue from major hubs like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle.

The airport is small but efficient – you’ll be out in the warm Hawaiian breeze in no time!

From the airport, Princeville is about a 90 minute drive up the North Shore. Renting a car is highly recommended to fully experience the natural wonders of Kauai. And with barely any public transportation on the island, having your own set of wheels is practically a necessity.

Rental Car to Drive North Shore

Once you pick up your rental car, simply head north on Highway 56 to get to Princeville. The drive is stunning – you’ll pass through rural towns, drive alongside golden beaches, see waves crashing on outcroppings, and finally enter a lush green valley.

At the heart of it is Princeville – an oasis resort community nestled cliffs overlooking the crystal blue Pacific.

Having a rental car allows you the freedom to explore beyond Princeville at your leisure. Drive down to the jaw-dropping Napali Coast, check out Waimea Canyon (the Grand Canyon of the Pacific), or find hidden waterfalls.

And when you want to simply relax, drive the short 5 minutes into Hanalei town for shave ice or fresh fish tacos from the pier.

Limited Public Transportation Options

While having your own car is by far the easiest way to travel through Kauai, there are some public transportation options to reach Princeville if needed.

The Kauai Bus operates two routes that service Princeville Resort area, but runs on very limited schedules. You can take route #150 or #240 from Lihue Airport and transfer buses, but the total trip will take almost 3 hours. That’s quite a contrast from the 90 minute leisurely rental car drive!

For getting around just Princeville, the North Shore Shuttle provides transportation around town and to nearby Hanalei. But reaching farther destinations beyond Princeville Resort will require a rental car or rideshares.


With its spectacular scenery, world-class resorts and abundance of outdoor activities, it’s easy to see why Princeville has a reputation as one of Hawaii’s premier vacation destinations. Perched high on Kauai’s lush North Shore, this resort community combines natural beauty and 5-star amenities like few other places on earth.

We hope this guide gave you a comprehensive overview for planning your own escape to paradise in Princeville.

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