Kauai is known to many as Hawaii’s penultimate tropical paradise. Indeed, it is a “Garden Isle” of incredible natural wonders waiting for one to explore. There is so much here to experience from the multicolored rainbow vistas of Waimea Canyon to the near velvet green, Na Pali Coast known for its accordion-folded, ocean “pali” ( or cliffs). Here is some additional information to help you plan your trip.
Things To Do
Kauai is known worldwide for iconic tropical island wedding ceremonies and the helicopter tours. There are many things to do in Kauai.
The Kalalau Trail is located on the Nā Pali Coast of the island. It is almost 11 miles long and specifically runs along the northern shore of the isle. It starts at Keʻe Beach and ends in Kalalau Valley. Average hikers should make a weekend of hiking this trail and camping is permitted at both Hanakoa Valley and Kalalau Beach.
Waimea Canyon, “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific”, is located on the west side of Kauai off Waimea Canyon Drive. This geological wonder is 14 miles long, one mile wide and over 3,600 feet deep. The lookout there provides panoramic views of rugged crags, deep valley gorges and crested buttes for miles. There are several trails for hikers too.
Hanalei Bay is situated on the northern shore of the island. Hanalei, the town, is at the midpoint of the bay. The bay itself is surrounded by mountains and features almost two miles of beach. Summer activities there includes sailing, paddle boarding, and swimming. In the winter, it’s famous for surfing. The Hanalei Pier is a great spot for fishing and picnicking too.
Poipu Beach Park
Found on Hoona Road behind Poipu Beach Park and a few resorts, Poipu Beach was deemed “America’s Best Beach” by The Travel Channel. Visitors may enjoy boogie-boarding, snorkeling, surfing, swimming and the natural ocean wading pool there.
Perhaps better known as the “Jurassic Park Falls”, Manawaiopuna Falls slots in at number five on the top thing to see in Hanapepe. Ensconced within a noteworthy natural habitat, the falls can also be viewed from above as it is also a part of the Kauai Island Air Tour.
Helicopter tours are a once-in-a-lifetime albeit expensive experience. With a ticket price of roughly $250.00, smart travelers can find discount prices online. Tourists can take in breathtaking views of the beaches, the waterfalls, Waimea Canyon and more inaccessible by auto or foot.
Explore The Sea Caves Of Na Pali Coast
Exploring the sea caves here is reportedly one of the best ways to see the Na Pali Coast. Your boat captain will guide you in and out of sea caves and waterfalls. Snorkel off off the Napali Coast and learn the local history and trivia.
This 83-foot waterfall can be found close to Lihue. The falls was featured in the opening credits of the television program Fantasy Island. The pool there is great for swimming, but be aware that currents are swift close to the waterfall. Diving from the top is exciting albeit illegal.
Tubing The Back Country
Put on your headlamp and get comfortable in your inner tube and prepare to drift through the canals, tunnels, and flumes. This aquatic adventure ends at a nearby picnic area where you can enjoy lunch and some swimming in a natural swimming hole if you’ve not yet had enough of the water.
Nestled off of Highway 560, this is the last beach accessible by car on the north shore. Known as the birthplace of the hula dance, this is also the most visited beach on the island. Protected by reefs, it’s great for snorkeling.
Located at 7640 Kuhio Highway in northern Kauai, Makua or “Tunnels” Beach is one of TripAdvisor’s top 15 “things to do” on the island. Known as a snorkeling beach, it’s mountain scenery made it famous in the film South Pacific.
Situated on Kīlauea Point, the Kilauea Lighthouse is accessed via Route 66 and stands in the Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge and was restored in 2008. The lighthouse appears in Disney’s animated films Lilo & Stitch and Stitch! The Movie.
Where To Stay
From luxury resorts to small bed-and-breakfasts, there are numerous options. Here are a few:
St. Regis Princeville
Situated at 5520 Kahaku Road in Princeville, this is one of the best upscale hotels in the city. This beachfront location has 251 rooms. It’s praised for the world-class spa and beautiful views. Rooms start at $560.00.
Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort And Spa
Located at 1571 Poipu Road in Koloa, this is one of the most luxurious places to stay on the island. The resort features 602 rooms and an ocean view. Renovated in 2011, rooms start at $509.00.
Kaha Lani Resort
This budget-friendly resort at 4460 Nehe Road is in Lihue. With 36 rooms, this comparatively inexpensive oceanfront accommodation is praised by veteran visitors. Rooms start at $98.00.
Wyndham Bali Hai Villas
Found at 4970 Pepelani Loop in Princeville, this is another cash-conscious option. The three-star resort property has 257 rooms and an eco-friendly policy. Rooms start at $80.00
What To Eat
The eateries on Kauai serves up everything from the roadside burgers to fine Pacific Rim cuisine.
If you’re tired of eating breakfast at your hotel, try the world-famous banana pancakes at Eggbert’s Family Restaurant in Kapaa.
For lunch, critics suggest a shrimp and noodle bowl at Hamura Saimin in Lihue or burgers from Ono Char Burger located near Anahola.
Enjoy live entertainment while you dine on the kalua pig with mango chutney wrapped in a tortilla at Kauai Hula Girl Bar & Grill in Kapaa.
Things To Know Before You Go
Plan ahead and be aware of potential problems.
Rent a car. Getting a taxi can be difficult in Kauai. You need to be able to maximize your time.
Wear Water Shoes. The shores sometimes have a lot of sharp lava rock on them as does the ocean floor. Proper footwear will spare your feet and painful pokes.
Make reservations. Outline our itinerary ahead of time. Book your tours and excursions a minimum of one week ahead of time.