Things to Do in Kauai

Hawaii’s Garden Isle, Kauai, is known for its beautiful flowers, lush foliage and long white sandy beaches. It is the oldest of the main Hawaiian Islands and is the perfect island for a romantic getaway or honeymoon. It’s also great for a family to take a vacation.

Some of the most striking and beautiful scenery you can find anywhere on earth is found here, and there are many ways to enjoy all of it, depending upon the activities you prefer. Remember that the lower key your activities are kept, the cheaper it usually will be, and in general the more genuine your experience will be.

Things to Do in Kauai

1.    Take a Surfing Lesson

This should be an automatic on anyone’s list. The sport of Hawaii is surfing, and while Kauai doesn’t have the famous spots for surfing like Waikiki, Kalapaki Beach is a perfect substitute and makes the best waves for beginners. There are two surf schools available in Kalapaki. One, the Kauai Beach Boys is run out of a concession stand in the Kauai Marriot Resort and Beach Club, while the other Sol Fernandez runs out of the back of his pickup. Despite the name of the former, Sol is more of a beach boy in the classic Hawaiian sense. There are additional surf schools around the island, which includes one that is run by Titus Kinimaka, a surfing legend.

2.    Hike the Kalalau Trail

If you want to experience the Na Pali Coast on foot, you need to hike the Kalalau Trail, which snakes in and out of valleys along the coast. For most people, they do the first two miles of the trail then end at the Hanakapi’ai beach for a perfect day hiking and seeing the coast. If you go past this beach, you better be ready for another nine difficult miles to Kalalau Valley and a trip that lasts overnight. This is a trail that is best done in the summer months when the rain hasn’t made the trail a muddy mess, the beaches are safe and the rivers aren’t prone to flash floods.

3.    Explore the Hanalei Town and Bay

This is a town with a cosmopolitan appeal and has a small, one street town setting. The wealth of nearby residents Ben Stiller and Pierce Brosnan could possibly be what helps this town out. Dr. Beach has named Hanalei Bay as the best beach, undoubtedly because of its clear blue water and fine white sand. It could have also been due to the waterfalls and mountainous backdrop rife as well. Hanalei is beautiful in the summer, and there's nothing like taking a long swim in the bay and then turning to see the Wai’oli falls on the face of Na Molokama 1000 feet high. Hanalei Bay can be quite dangerous during the winter surf like most of the North shore beaches.

4.    Race Down the Kauai Back Country Adventure Ziplines

If you love thrills and chills, one of the most popular activities is to zip through the rough landscape on a zipline. The Kauai Backcountry Adventures carries out seven scenic ziplines all the way down the inside of the Kilohana crater. The ziplines are fun by themselves, but it is really where they are and the zipping trek down the side of a crater which makes this a compelling activity. While it might not as fun getting there, the adventurous trek on a bunch of old roads used by the cane plantations into the uplands of eastern Kauai which are owned privately on Swiss military vehicles can make up for about a quarter of the fun.

5.    Get a Bird’s Eye View of Kauai

Most helicopter tours on Kauai include highlights from Jurassic Park Falls, the Menehune Fish Pond, Waimea Canyon, the Hanapepe Valley, the Hanalei Valley, the Na Pali Coast, Wailua Falls and Mt. Waialeale. Most of these tours last between fifty minutes and an hour. Some of the companies offer tours which are longer and they are generally accompanied by a stop or made for the photographer who is serious. There is at least one company who offers tours with the doors off, letting you take even better photos without any glare from the windows.

6.    Relax on Polihale Beach

This is the longest stretch of white sand beach in all of Hawaii. It can be found easily enough at the end of a dirt road off the last bit of highway on the West side of the island. This beach is a beauty and a favorite for amazing sunsets, long walks and camping if you have the right permits. Ocean conditions can be dangerous, especially during high swells or winter months. Polihale is exposed to open ocean and has no lifeguard or protective reefs.

7.    Be Awed by the Wailua Falls

One of the secrets of Kauai, the falls are known for their ease of access plus for their flowing beauty. It stands 140 feet tall and you can find it on several postcards, media and print collections. It was used for the opening scene of the television series Fantasy Island in the 1970s. Wailua falls are found off Maalo Road or Highway 583. The appearance and size of the fails is determined by the amount of rainfall that occurs further up the mountains. The falls are easy to photograph and involve no hiking to do so.

8.    Journey through the Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Park

This is the largest canyon in the Pacific and will definitely catch your gaze with its 10-mile-long stretch at a mile wide, and measuring over thirty five hundred feet deep. Kauai’s history can be seen in the crags and walls of the canyon as you explore over 45 miles of trails. This is quite a remarkable site, and offers up numerous scenic overlooks and opportunities for photographs.

The Kokee State Park surrounds the Waimea Canyon, occupying 4,345 acres. Koa hardwoods, Norfolk Pines, native wildlife and plants are just a tiny fraction of what you’ll find here. There are numerous trails for hiking for any level of expertise.

9.    Enjoy the Aloha Festivals of Kauai

This began in 1946 as a week-long celebration of local culture which has changed into an extensive tribute to the heritage of Hawaii. It is a festival that reaches statewide and touches all of the islands. Traditional music, history and dance are included in the festivities, along with church services, contexts and crowning of the royal court. Some of the largest events are the street festival in Lihue and the wonderful Royal Court Investiture of Wailua. A lot of people come for the seven-day celebration, so it is advised for you to book a room in advance.

10.    Let Loose at the Kauai County Farm Bureau Fair

During the summer, this fair brings a lot of activities to Lihue that are family friendly. Puppet shows, carnival games, a 4-H competition, live music and arts and crafts displays are just some of what is available. You can eat your share of fair food and ride the merry-go-round. The prices are budget friendly, which makes the vent a great way to get rid of the end-of-summer blues. You’ll also find many booths that a showcase locally made items plus locally grown food. Entertainment includes hula dancing, live music, karaoke, taiko drumming and line dancing.