Try a day trip from Lihue westward to Waimea and the Waimea Canyon, passing through small towns and former sugar plantation areas on the way. Waimea town on the south part of Kauai is the location of Captain Cook's landing: a statue of him is on the right as you enter town. Take a short side trip to the right, following signs to the Menehune Ditch, a very ancient pre-Hawaiian waterway built to bring water down from the mountains. The visible section and tunnel look modern because the stones are "dressed" and fitted together by tools, unlike typical Hawaiian construction of piled stones. The ditch and tunnels continue upward on private property, not accessible to the public. No one knows who the people were who built this, but they are named the Menehune to distinguish any of their structures from those of the Hawaiians.

Several places to eat in town, including Wrangler's on the left, distinguished by good food and service and the cut-steel cowboy (paniolo) theme on the outside. Stop for lunch in town, before or after the next part of the trip, which begins on the outskirts. Watch for signs on the right to Waimea Canyon and prepare for an uphill drive into spectacular beauty. Stop at Kokee, if only for the small Museum there. Continue uphill, stopping at the clearly marked Viewpoints for spectacular views of the canyon itself, looking down and across millions of years of layers cut through by the river. Most Viewpoints have paved parking lots and toilets. The final destination is the view down the Kalalau valley (2 stops) of Na Pali. Note that some walking is required on this trip, from parking areas to the views, but nothing too strenuous for seniors. Take your time and enjoy one of the scenic wonders of the Hawaiian Islands!

On the way back down: go left at the fork for the route you took driving up (back to Waimea)-- or to the right for a different drive downward to Kekaha, a few miles west. Both these roads are twisty, so be cautious, and both end at the main road back to Lihue.