Now that the crisp cool weather has come, it’s time to head out to the great outdoors. And where’s a better place to experience the joy of fall but in a place where nature thrives? There’s a reason why Kauai comes to mind.
From beach hopping to simply taking in stunning views, Kauai has got it all for the curious adventurer. It’s a small island that you can traverse from end to end, and we’ve compiled the best activities you can do on an autumn vacation to this paradise.
1. Hike the Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail
A must visit place in Kauai is the Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail, a remote coastal hike that will take you through sand-dune cliffs, limestone formations, and rocky terrain that houses an abundance of Kauai’s marine life.
There’s nothing quite like a trip along this hiking trail, where you’ll get to step foot on the last stretch of Kauai that has not been developed. There are various caves and paths to explore, and you can bring camping tools if you intend to catch the beautiful sunrise in the morning.
2. Drive the Waimea Canyon
Being up to 14 miles long and up to 3,600 feet deep, driving up the Waimea Canyon can offer stunning views of nature. The mountains and ridges that turn into the colors of fall form picturesque scenes you won’t forget.
You can stop at various viewpoints along the way or take a hike along the cliff trail. Make sure you wear clothes appropriate for the weather and pack enough food and water if you intend on hiking.
3. Hike in Koke’e State Park
Another major hiking trail in Kauai is the Koke’e State Park, where hikers can expect to see lush, native foliage, ocean views, and meet native birds of Kauai. It offers a fairly easy hike and is surrounded by various picnic spots, making it a great destination for families with kids.
Viewpoints in Koke’e overlook the magnificent Kalalau Valley. Hikers can also course through the healthy vegetation near the 800-foot Waipo’o Falls along the Canyon Trail in Koke’e.
The park has a nearby history museum for information on interesting points you’ll find along the way. There is an area dedicated for camping, as well as cabin rentals for travelers who plan to stay overnight.
4. Sail the Na Pali Coast
The ruggedly beautiful sea cliffs of Na Pali Coast is one of Kauai’s many highlights. A boat tour around the majestic coast will offer chances of spotting humpback whales, friendly dolphins, and gentle sea turtles.
The best way to explore this world-famous coastline is by boat or a catamaran, and you can book one with a tour provider online. If you’re up for an adventure, you can opt to travel on a raft and ride 7-foot waves when you enter sea caves.
In the fall, make sure to bring a light jacket or sweater as it can be cold outside even on a sunny day. Most catamaran trips offer meal packages. If you’re arranging the trip on your own, packing barbecue and beers would be a great idea.
5. Visit the Spouting Horn Blowhole
At the Spouting Hole Park, you’ll get to witness the otherworldly blowhole from various viewpoints. It’s just water rapidly spouting out of rock formations in the ocean, but the sound it makes will be something to remember.
Aside from the blowhole, Spouting Hole Park is filled with shops, food stalls, and paved paths for a nice walk. It’s a perfect place to enjoy a gorgeous sunset – there’s shaved ice, wide-open spaces, and benches facing the ocean.
6. Visit Hanalei
Hanalei is a small, relaxed coastal town located on Kauai’s North Shore. Hanalei Beach is better known for surfing than for swimming, but its shores are perfect for relaxing and just enjoying the view.
If you’re up for slower travel, you’ll love this charming community. Hanalei is dotted with adorable boutiques, surfing spots, and excellent food trucks to explore.
7. Buy Local Produce at the Farmers’ Markets
Everything made and grown in Kauai is always of excellent quality and the best way to get your hands on them is by dropping by at a farmers’ market. From fresh catch to honey, and even souvenirs, these weekly pop-ups always have something for everyone.
Aside from produce, some farmers’ markets have stalls that sell unique Hawaiian food and drinks. Some of the must-trys are the ahi poke, spicy mango salsa, and fruit frosties.
A complete list of farmers’ markets in Kauai is available online. If you plan on exploring one, make sure to check the schedule beforehand so you don’t miss it.
8. Beach Hop on the North Shore
Finally, what’s a trip to Kauai without heading to the beach? Kauai’s north shore is lined with beautiful beaches that are safe for swimming and less crowded.
Going east, you’ll find Pua Poa Beach, Hideaways Beach, Secret Beach, and Anini Beach. All these beaches have toilets, showers, and picnic tables. Hideaways is popular for snorkeling, so you might want to pack your snorkeling gear if you’re visiting.
Past Hanalei, there’s also the popular Ke’e Beach, Tunnels Beach, and Haena Beach. Haena Beach is part of Haena State Park which has daily visitor limits and requires a reservation. You book a reservation and find more details through the Haena State Park website.
See Kauai in the Fall
Truly, Kauai has a lot in store for adventurers all-year-round. This small island has a lot more to offer, but the experience of doing things on this list completely changes when autumn comes.
To enjoy a short trip, we recommend booking services you’ll need such as a car, boat trip, and guided tour so you can spend more time appreciating the island. We hope you found these tips useful and that we see you around soon.