Oldest of the main Hawaii Islands, Kauai is the perfect place for a romantic honeymoon or a family vacation. Full of rich foliage and flowers with its white sand beaches, it is known as Hawaii’s Garden Isle. You can plan your vacation around one of its many festivals or simply plan to enjoy what the island has to offer.
There are many things to do in Kauai once you arrive; you can get a bird’s eye view by taking a helicopter ride, or enjoy the activities that keep you on the ground depending on how expensive you want your trip to get. You can enjoy a genuine, rich experience of the island by keeping to the cheaper activities and allowing yourself to take an active role in them as you enjoy the phenomenal scenery.
Things to Do in Kauai
Take a Surfing Lesson
Hawaii’s sport of choice is surfing, so have some fun learning to ride the waves while you are in Kauai. Kalapaki Beach has perfect beginner waves where you can learn to ride safely. There are several surf schools around the island, as well as two located on Kalapaki Beach. You may not be perfect at surfing, but you will have an exceptionally fun experience to remember.
Indulge Yourself in Hawaiian Culture at the Aloha Festivals
For things to do in Kauai, the festivals are not to be missed. The Aloha Festivals are a statewide festival paying tribute to Hawaiian heritage. During this week-long festival, you can indulge yourself in the local culture with traditional music, dance festivities, parades, contests, church services and the crowning of the royal court.
Hike the Kalalau Trail
The only land access to the Napali Coast is Kalalau Trail, which begins at Kee Beach and ends at Kalalau Beach. This is an 11 mile stretch of beautiful coastline that runs through lush valleys and over sea cliffs. After the first two miles, you can end at Hanakapi’ai Beach for a short hike or you can continue up the coast for an overnight trip to Kalalau Valley. Avoid the muddy mess by hiking during the summer months as you explore the exotic scenery.
Go For a Swim at Bay in Hanalei Town
Swimming is one of the best things to do in Kauai. A small town surrounded by lush green mountains and majestic waterfalls, Hanalei has a cosmopolitan feel. It has wealthy neighbors that help with the appeal, along with its soft, white sandy beaches and clear blue water. The water is perfect for swimming or you can enjoy the 8 mile drive along the bay to enjoy the gorgeous scenery.
Zip Through the Sky with Kauai Backcountry Adventure Ziplines
Half of the fun of the Kauai Backcountry Adventure Ziplines is getting there. Enjoy the excitement of riding through the old cane plantation roads on decommissioned Swiss military Pinzgauers as you head to the top of the crater. As you ride one of the 7 zip lines to the bottom of the crater, you will enjoy the thrill of zipping through the rugged landscape and scenery.
Get a Bird's-Eye View of Kauai
With so much of its terrain inaccessible, the only way to see all of Kauai is by helicopter. During the 50 minutes of most helicopter rides, you will see Nawlliwili Harbor, the Menehune Fish Pond, Jurassic Park Falls, Hanapepe Valley, Waimea Canyon, Hanelaei Valley, Mt. Waialeale, Wailua Falls and the Hanapepe Valley.
Some companies even offer longer tours that include a stop or more time to take pictures. One company offers a tour with the doors off for the serious photography and one company even offers a stop at Jurassic Park Falls, so you can get out and explore the terrain.
Go Shelling on Polihale Beach
The 17 miles of white sand beach and sand dunes of Polihale Beach are perfect for beach-coming or shelling. Located at the end of an old cane haul road, this beach is open to the ocean without any reefs or barriers. You will have beautiful sunsets, enjoy amazingly long walks and perfect camping opportunities (with a permit). It is exposed to the ocean without lifeguards so can be dangerous to swim and surf, especially during the winter months.
Photograph the Wailua Falls
Known for its picturesque beauty, Wailua Falls have not only appeared on postcards but as the opening scene for the 1970’s television series Fantasy Island. Wailua Falls are continually changing their appearance depending on the amount of rainfall further up the mountain. You can easily get the perfect picture of these falls from scenic overlook and without any hiking. You can also get a fantastic view of these falls from a helicopter tour.
Hike the Trails of Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Park
Kokee State Park surrounds the 10 mile long Waimea Canyon. With dozens of hiking trails you are sure to find one that fits your expertise and exploration needs. As you hike along the trails, you can see the history of the Kauai in the walls and crags of the canyon as well as the native plants and wildlife. Along each trail, there are several scenic overlooks that allow you to look at the spectacular views the valleys and canyon has to offer.
Get Rid of Summertime Blues at the Kauai County Farm Bureau Fair
The Kauai County Farm Bureau Fair is a great way to rid yourself of the summertime blues as you partake in the family-friendly activities. The fair is full of puppet shows, games, live music as well as arts and crafts. You will also find a large variety of locally made items and locally grown foods as you enjoy the hula dancing and taiko drumming.