Na Pali State Park, located on the north shore of the island of Kauai in Hawaii, is one of the most stunningly beautiful parks in the United States.
The park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including birds, sea turtles, dolphins, and whales.
If you’re planning a trip to Na Pali State Park and want to maximize your chances of seeing these magnificent creatures, here are some tips on the best times and locations to see each species.
Na Pali State Park is home to a variety of bird species, including the I’iwi, Apapane, Amakihi, Elepaio, and the Nene, Hawaii’s state bird. The best time to see these birds is early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when they are most active. You can find these birds throughout the park, but the best locations are in the forested areas, such as the Alakai Swamp Trail or the Kalalau Valley.
One of the most sought-after birds in Na Pali State Park is the I’iwi. This bird is known for its bright red feathers and can be seen throughout the park, especially in the upper reaches of the forested areas. The Apapane is another bird that can be seen in the park. This bird is similar in appearance to the I’iwi, but has a brighter red coloration.
The Amakihi is another bird that can be seen in Na Pali State Park. This bird is small and greenish-yellow in color, and can be found in the lower elevations of the park. The Elepaio is another bird that can be seen in the park. This bird is brownish in color and is known for its distinctive call.
Hawaiian green sea turtles, also known as honu, are a common sight in the waters around Na Pali State Park. These sea turtles can be seen throughout the day, but the best time to see them is in the morning or late afternoon. They can often be seen basking on the rocks or swimming in the shallow waters close to shore.
One of the best places to see sea turtles in Na Pali State Park is at Tunnels Beach. This beach is known for its clear waters and abundant marine life, including sea turtles. Another great spot to see sea turtles is at Ke’e Beach, which is located at the end of the road in the park. This beach is surrounded by a beautiful reef and is home to a variety of marine life.
When viewing sea turtles, it is important to keep a safe distance and not disturb them in any way. It is illegal to touch or harass sea turtles, and violators can face hefty fines.
Na Pali State Park is home to several species of dolphins, including spinner dolphins and bottlenose dolphins. These dolphins can be seen throughout the year, but are most commonly spotted in the summer months. They can often be seen swimming and playing in the waters around the park.
One of the best ways to see dolphins in Na Pali State Park is by taking a boat tour. There are several companies that offer dolphin-watching tours, which can provide an up-close and personal view of these beautiful animals. You may also be able to spot dolphins from the shore, especially in the early morning or late afternoon.
During the winter months, Na Pali State Park is a popular destination for humpback whales. These whales migrate to the warm waters around Hawaii to mate and give birth, and can often be seen breaching and tail slapping in the waters around the park.
The best time to see humpback whales in Na Pali State Park is from December to April. During this time, several companies offer whale-watching tours that can
take you out to the best spots to see these magnificent creatures up close. You can also see whales from the shore, particularly from viewpoints like Kalalau Lookout and Pu’u O Kila Lookout.
It is important to keep a safe distance from the whales when viewing them, as they are protected by federal law. Boats are required to stay at least 100 yards away from the whales, while on land, it is recommended to stay at least 300 yards away.
Tips for Wildlife Watching in Na Pali State Park
Here are some general tips for wildlife watching in Na Pali State Park:
- Be respectful of the wildlife: Remember that you are a guest in the animals’ natural habitat. Do not disturb them in any way and keep a safe distance.
- Bring binoculars: A good pair of binoculars can help you get a closer look at the wildlife without getting too close.
- Be patient: Wildlife watching requires patience and perseverance. The animals may not show themselves right away, so be prepared to wait and observe.
- Dress appropriately: The weather in Na Pali State Park can be unpredictable, so be sure to dress in layers and wear sturdy shoes for hiking.
- Respect the park’s rules and regulations: Na Pali State Park has rules and regulations in place to protect the wildlife and environment. Be sure to follow these rules and regulations to help preserve the park for future generations.
Na Pali State Park is a beautiful destination for wildlife watching, with a diverse array of birds, sea turtles, dolphins, and whales.
By following the tips outlined in this article, you can increase your chances of seeing these magnificent creatures up close and in their natural habitat.
Remember to be respectful of the wildlife, dress appropriately, and follow the park’s rules and regulations to help protect this beautiful park for future generations to enjoy.