Let’s face it — if you’ve made it to Hawaii and plan to spend your holiday (or part of it) in Kauai, you don’t just want to just laze around and enjoy the beaches. So we’ve created a brief guide that highlights the six most important things to do while in Kauai.
Whether you are planning a 3-day, 5-day, or 10-day trip, you can realistically squeeze in a visit to all of these spots and still have a relaxing vacation.
6 Must-Do Things in Kauai, Or How to Go Smart About Your Kauai Itinerary
1. Take a Na Pali Coast Boat Tour
For a taste of classical Hawaii, it’s definitely worth first exploring the most beautiful coastline in Hawaii from the sea. You’ll get to see all the white sandy beaches, the emerald greens of the Garden Isle, and go through Kauai’s renowned sea caves. And even manage to get a glimpse at the dolphins and whales.
2. Enjoy the Views of the Waimea Canyon
The Grand Canyon of the Pacific, the Waimea Canyon is an unmissable Kauai adventure. A stunning hike that leads to various overlooks that open up breathtaking views to various parts of the canyon. While you’ll definitely need to take a separate trip to the waterfalls, you’ll get to see the Waiopu waterfalls from afar.
3. Get Your Shopping Done in Hanapepe
While Kauai is full of various local arts and crafts towns, Hanapepe has pretty much everything. Considered as the cultural hub of Kauai, Hanapepe is filled with galleries, shops, restaurants, and anything that translates a Kauai local arts scene and vibe. But before you pile your bags with local goodies, though, make sure to take a walk through the famous Swinging Bridge.
And, of course, for all of the Jurassic Park lovers (did you know that Kauai is home to many Hollywood movies?), a quick hour-long helicopter visit to Manawaiopuna Falls, or so-called Jurassic Falls, is an absolute must.
4. Hike on the Kalalau Trail for the First 2 Miles
Hiking is one of the most popular things to do in Kauai—an island full of natural wonders, greens, and one-of-a-kind wildlife. You can’t take all the trails possible, though. So if you’re in for a single hike during your trip, Kalalau trail would be the one to choose. A beautiful view to the Na Pali coast, a passage through fast streams and valleys, and a detour to the Hanakapiai Falls, this is just a small part of the Kalalau trail’s promise.
If you want to get a few hours on the beach, swimming, and/or snorkelling on the Ke’e beach — the very start of the trail — do that before the hike, as you will probably be too exhausted. Yet once you’re back, make sure to take a moment and enjoy the beautiful sunset. This part of the Garden Isle has some of the most stunning sunsets.
5. Experience the Local Vibe at Luau
Any movie that’s set in Hawaii features a luau — a Hawaiian fest that involves the give-away of flower-embroidered Lei necklaces, a great taste of local cuisine, the sounds of local music, and, of course, hula dancing.
Luau is a must-attend party even if you’re not a big fan of large social gatherings — luaus range in size, dining options, and many other variables. But it’s a great family-friendly fest that lets you experience a bit of everything Hawaiian. And as Kauai has a lot of luaus to choose from, go through this post to discover how to pick the best luau.
6. Just Rest
There are a lot of things you wouldn’t want to miss while here on Kauai. We’ve covered the absolute must-do’s, but the Garden Isle is first and foremost a place where you can switch off your busy life and just rest and relax.
The island is less crowded than some of the biggest Hawaiian isles, so it has a lot of incredible spots for a very relaxing (or active if you’d like) beach time, sunbathing, and a simple calm.
6 Things You Must Add to Your Kauai Itinerary [Infographic]