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Cool Things To Do In Kauai Hawaii

by Pankaj Upreti
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Things To Do In Kauai Hawaii

Also known as the Garden Isle, Kauai lies to the west of the Hawaiian archipelago and is one of the most beautiful places on earth. If you are visiting Hawaii, then Oahu will certainly not be your only spot. Kauai stands apart from the main island which is known for its urban attractions. It is, instead, known for its more natural setting, and is filled with lush greenery and scenic views to die for. There are many things to do in Kauai Hawaii and in this article we have tried to bring the best of Kauai to you.

Find adventure and fun on this island and lose yourself in the scenic and gorgeous attractions of the place that will make you return very soon.

Ranging from boating, kayaking, helicopter flights and most of all, beaches, there is just so much to do while at Kauai Hi. A typical tour of the island can be completed in around two to three days. You can divide your trip to the sites west of Lihue and another part dedicated to the north shore of Kauai. The main attraction of the Garden Isle is Waimea Canyon, and for more attractions keep reading below:

Na Pali Coast State Park

You can visit the Na Pali Coast State Park by either a helicopter ride or by taking a boat to the coast in Hawaii.
Na Pali Coast State Park | Photo Credit – Falco Ermert

You can visit the Na Pali Coast State Park by either a helicopter ride or by taking a boat to the coast. This part of the island of Kauai is not accessible as it forms very steep cliffs on the edges of ragged mountains that rise high.

A thick cover of forest encompasses the entire Na Pali area, and the edges fall steeply into the ocean in the form of cliffs and waterfalls. While the forest cover makes it very difficult for people to traverse the Na Pali coast region, it makes for an absolutely stunning scene.

When you fly over the Na Pali Coast State Park, you will be greeted by some of the most breathtaking views you will ever see in your life. There are caves and volcanic mountains here and under the lush greenery hide some of the most scenic beaches and hidden locations.

Sign up for the Kauai Deluxe Sightseeing Flight which will give you 65 minutes over the Na Pali Coast and surrounding areas. Gear up and sign up for the Na Pali Coast Kauai Snorkel and Sail excursion to enjoy a ride to the Na Pali Coast State Park cliffs. You can even get to explore the Na Pali coast while you are here. A visit to the Na Pali Coast State Park is one of the best things to do in Kauai Ha

Waimea Canyon

It is a rather colorful place to visit in Hawaii.
Waimea Canyon | Photo Credit – Jonathan Miske

Dubbed as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, the Waimea Canyon is one of the top scenic locations on the planet. It is a rather colorful place to visit, as the area is covered with red soil, black volcanic soil, green jungles and the thick layer mist that envelops it. A very scenic location, it features breathtaking views with some of the most beautiful spots made up of waterfalls and streams.

There are two major lookouts in the Grand Canyon of the Pacific and the place has a number of hiking trails that you will find the among the best in the world. The Waimea Canyon lies toward the sea along the Waimea Canyon Drive. The canyon itself is very deep and features a myriad of elevations  and depressions.

The deepest point of the Waimea Canyon falls under the koke’e state park. You can try to explore the Waimea Canyon by yourself or you can take the nine hour guided tour known as the Waimea Canyon and Fern Grotto Sightseeing Tour.

It will take you to a number of attractions in the canyon, such as, Fern Grotto, Opaeka’s Falls and Spouting Horn. You will also get to visit Captain Cook’s Landing and Fort Elizabeth State Park.

Not only that, this tour is also a cultural one, with you being able to experience the Holo Holo Ku Heaiu, a sacred site and the Koloa Town community. While you are here at the Waimea Canyon, be sure to take time to visit the blowhole at Spouting Horn.

Koke’e State Park

The Koke’e State Park is located along the Waimea Canyon and features some of the deepest points of the location in Hawaii.
Koke’e State Park | Photo Credit – Lara604

The Koke’e State Park is located along the Waimea Canyon and features some of the deepest points of the location. Experience the view from the top of the world using the Kalalau Lookout and catch a glimpse of the Na Pali coast’s 4000 feet cliffs.

The special thing about this attraction is that this is the only place from where you can experience the pleasure of watching these cliffs from land. There are a number of trails in the Koke’e State Park and there is a museum of natural history as well as the famous Koke’e Lodge. 

Polihale State Park

Polihale State Park | Photo Credit – Garden State Hiker

With the Makaha Ridge in the background, the Polihale State Park features a lovely beach. A cautionary advice to all the people wanting to swim here, this beach has no lifeguards on duty and it also has very strong currents. So if you want to swim here, you should be careful.

Mainly, this park is known to tourists for its breathtaking scenery and gorgeous sunsets. You can spot the cliffs of Na Pali and capture stunning pictures of them rising from the sea. Getting to the Polihale State Park beach Kauai can be pretty challenging, it is a quite remote location not unlike many of the Hawaiian locations.

Be prepared for a hike along forests and whatnot which in itself can be a pretty great experience of your day. When you finally reach here, you will be treated with the best views and sceneries that will make your travel worth it.

Wailua Falls

Wailua Falls is a major tourist attraction in Kauai,Hawaii.
Wailua Falls | Photo Credit – Kris Arnold

Lying between Lihue and Hanamaulu, this waterfall on the Wailua river can be accessed along road 583. This double waterfall is over 80 feet in height and there is a legend surrounding it. The chiefs of Hawaii had to jump down the waterfall in order to prove themselves as courageous and strong. Now, the Wailua Falls is a major tourist attraction in Kauai.

This is easily one of the top attractions on the island, with many tourists flocking to it. The authorities have set up the experience of a lifetime for you here that starts with signing up for the Wailua River Kayak and Hike Adventure Tour. The tour is a five hour affair, and you can take kayaks down the Wailua River in double kayaks.

Your guide will let you into the history and importance of the sites and as such it makes for a very informative tour. There are ancient temples in the region that you will pass by and also there are lot of unique plants that you will come across along the way.

After you are done with the kayaking, you will hike a mile to the Wailua Falls and can take pictures as well as take a swim in the pool. For the return trip, there will no kayaking.


Poipu | Photo Credit – Justin Ried

The south shore of Kauai features the resort area of Poipu. The Poipu beach attractions are few of the best the island has to offer, and this region features the most number of urban resorts on the island of Kauai. While the primary industry on Poipu Kauai is now tourism, it was sugar earlier.

With the growth of tourism on the island, the region of Poipu made use of its fine beaches which are the best on the island and transformed itself into an upscale resort area. The largest number of luxury hotels and holiday homes can be visited in Poipu Kauai. You will find that the area still maintains its rural character as no more than three storied buildings rise in the Poipu beach area.

Find swimming, surfing and opportunities for relaxation here at the Poipu resort and you’d want to stay here forever. The white sandy beaches and the clear blue waters make this place a true tropical paradise and one that is not forgotten easily. While at Poipu, you should also definitely sign up for the 2.5 hour Kauai Zipline Tour in Poipu.

This tour puts around 12 people on 8 ziplines at a height of 200 feet and provides a once in a lifetime experience of a lifetime of viewing the shore of Kauai and the island landscape.

Kalalau Trail

The Kalalau trail is one of the best place to visit in Hawaii.
Kalalau Trail | Photo Credit – Andym5855

For the seekers of adventure and lovers of camping, the Kalalau trail is one of the best things on the island. This experience usually is a two to three day affair if you want to enjoy the entire trail. The Kalalau trail can be found to be extremely challenging and is known to be one of the most unique and best things of Kauai in Hawaii.

The Kalalau Trail lies on the Na Pali Coast and starts at Haena State Park in the north and ends in the Kalalau valley. You can take the shorter version of this hike and cover two miles up to Hanakapiai beach which will give you a general idea of what the trek is going to be like, For those of you who wish to complete the entire hike, you will have to pack your own tent and supplies.

It will take you around two to three days to make the roundtrip. Be sure to have the best walking shoes as the trail is known to be slippery at times. The path after Hanakapiai is know to be a bit more rough and stony and can be dangerous at times. You can even sample fruits growing the wild along the way if you take this trip at the right time of the year. You also need to take permission from the Division of State Parks in order to undertake the experience of the Kalalau trail.

Natural Wonders Of Kauai Hi

Kauai Island | Photo Credit – Prayitno / Thank you for (12 millions +) view

The natural attractions of Kauai Island are its waterfalls, trails, forest growth and gardens. The island is not called Garden Isle without reason and stands opposite Oahu which is known for its more urban environment. Kauai Hawaii is filled with scenic spots, lush green areas and bodies of water.

A few of the wonders of Kauai are its waterfalls, especially along the North Shore. The Wailua area also has some of the most beautiful natural waterfalls, including the Opaekaa Falls. Falling from a height of 40 feet, it has the scenic mountains of the Hawaiian island and a village on its waterfront. The river waters make for an exceptionally pleasant scene and breathtaking pictures.

The gardens of Kauai Hawaii are something out of a storybook. The island is mostly remote and hence there are many unique species of plants here that make this tropical paradise truly something out of the ordinary.

The top gardens to visit are the Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens that features acres of flowers with bronze statues at the North Shore region. There is the Allerton Garden in Poipu and the Limahuli garden which lies just outside of Hanalei.

The island of Kauai Hawaii is also home to many unique species of wildlife and the national wildlife refuges of the island make for a great day visit. The Kilauea Point is a wildlife sanctuary dedicated to the conservation of sea birds. Huleia is a place that protects endemic Hawaiian birds and wetlands. Hanalei maintains the shelter for the watershed and birds.

One attraction that for many people is literally the best place on earth is the Waimea Canyon. The colorful place was formed when an earthquake diverted the flow of many streams into a single river, which carved this canyon over time. The best way to enjoy this wonder of Kauai is to fly over it using a helicopter, or to trek through it on foot.

Flying Over Kauai Hi

 A helicopter ride over the island is certainly one of the best things to do in Kauai Hawaii.
Kauai Hi | Photo Credit – Harshil Shah

This attraction is one of the top ways to tour the island and as such remains on high demand. Take a day to cover all of Kauai’s spots from the air. The Kauai Deluxe Sightseeing Flight is a touring opportunity that ranks on the top of aerial attractions in Kauai. See the cliffs rising at the Na Pali coastline, the beaches on the South Shore, the areas of the North Shore, Hanalei Bay and more.

Trace the course of the Wailua river and witness the aerial beauty of the beaches of Hawaii. Flying over Kauai is clearly one of the best things you can do while on the island and it is certainly going to be a top notch day well spent. The tour lets you hop aboard the GA8 Airvan which has been specially designed for sightseeing.

Its bubble windows let you take the best pictures of the landscape below and the tour length of 65 minutes is more than enough to cover all the top spots of Kauai Hawaii. A helicopter ride over the island is certainly one of the best things to do in Kauai Hawaii.

ATV Rides

Most of the terrain on the island is a bit rough to travel on foot. Here, ATVs or All Terrain Vehicles come in handy. Spend your day by enjoying two man or four man ATV rides through the island at places that you cannot reach by car.

The jungle’s secrets become clear as you ride through the green into the woodlands. The Tour will have a guide that will narrate you important and interesting information, and you will spend your day making picnics and will also get to swim at one of the pools in the jungle.

Hanalei Bay

On the North Coast of Kauai Hawaii lies the village of Hanalei.
Hanalei Bay | Photo Credit – Bryan Ochalla

On the North Coast of Kauai Hawaii lies the village of Hanalei. It is the gateway to the Hanalei Valley and boasts a fine white sandy beach. This village is engulfed in natural beauty and is one of the top attractions you can visit on your day trip around Kauai Hawaii.

While you find yourself at Hanalei, you must take time to visit the Waioli Mission House that has been here since 1841. Nearby lies the Waoili Huila Church that features stained glass windows. It has since been transformed into a community center. Check out the Hanalei Lookout on road 560 by following the Kamehameha signs.

The Hanalei river flows from the mountains and through fields of sugarcane. At the beach at Hanalei Bay, you can find a lot of things to do. You can swim, surf, and relax on the sandy beach. You will find many eateries here, giving you the authentic taste of Hawaiian cuisine.

The Hanalei Bay village is filled with welcoming residents who will be sure to make your first time in Kauai into something memorable. Hanalei Bay offers you the opportunity to know more about the pride of Hawaii, an old vessel belonging to King Kamehameha II which was excavated at the Smithsonian.

Spend your day frolicking at the beach and then go into the village in the evening, enjoying delicacies and visiting the many monuments and top attractions in the area. The pictures you will take at Hanalei Bay will certainly be the best of your visit. Visiting Hanalei Bay is certainly one of the best things to do in Kauai Hawaii.

Haena State Park

Haena State Park | Photo Credit – Brian Snelson

At the end of the Kuhio Highway lies the Haena State Park. The best part of Haena is the Haena Beach, a most beautiful spot that is the top location for snorkeling. There are many things to do here at Haena and the park remains open from 6 30 AM to 5 30 PM.

You can take a number of options to explore after you’re done hanging out at the beach like taking any of the many hiking trails and taking excursions to the wet caves. The current at the beach is known to be a bit strong at times.

The Kalalau Trail can be undertaken from here or you can take the shorter version of Hanakapia Falls Trail. Of the things to do, you can take beach excursions here and explore the ancient history of the area.

Cave Exploring At Kauai

Cave Spelunking at Kauai should definitely be at the top of your list of things to do at Kauai Hawaii.
Cave Exploring At Kauai | Photo Credit – Brad Hagan

There are many cave systems in the island of Kauai and exploring them, or spelunking, can be one of the top things you can do at Kauai Hawaii. Your day can go by pretty well if make a day trip out of visiting the cave systems.

There are two kinds of caves at Kauai, dry caves and wet caves. The wet caves are so called due to the presence of springs inside the caves. This is one of the top free things to do at Kauai.

Swimming at the wet caves is not really a great idea but you can take in the beauty of the caves from afar, they make for some excellent pictures. Try the Waikanaloa Cave and the Waikapalae Wet Cave. Both these locations come into the top choices for the best things to do in Kauai Hawaii.

A great dry cave to see is the Maniniholo dry cave. Cave Spelunking at Kauai should definitely be at the top of your list of things to do at Kauai Hawaii.

Queen’s Bath

Queen’s Bath is a sinkhole located at Princeville and is one of the top attractions of Kauai in Hawaii.
Queen’s Bath | Photo Credit – Falco Ermert

The Queen’s Bath is a sinkhole located at Princeville and is one of the top attractions of Kauai. Spend a day at Queen’s Bath and find some beautiful waters harboring the most unique fishes you will ever find.

There are many scenic locations in Hawaii, but few are as beautiful as this one. It will take you some time and effort to reach this place. Many places in Kauai are remote and hardly accessible.

This is one of those places. However it is still possible to reach it and once you do, the rewards are magnificent. This place is named after an area in Kalapana that is now defunct. This place should not be on your list of things to do in winter though.

That is the time when the waves are the roughest and it is a bit dangerous to come here then. Queen’s bath is one of the best spots in the entirety of Hawaii and one that you certainly must come and see.

Beaches In Kauai Hawaii

Beach In Kauai Hawaii | Photo Credit – Bevis Chin

The beaches of Kauai may be divided into two locations: the north shore and the south shore. This island is one of the best places in the world when it comes to beach locations and for good reason. The island has a number of things to do and of the most famous things to do is visiting its beaches and having shave ice.

We recommend that you make a day trip out of visiting the beaches of Kauai and trust us, you will not be disappointed. This section of this article is going to bring to you the top beaches to relax at in Kauai Hawaii:

North Shore: While the area known as North Shore can feature some rough conditions during certain months, it is still one of the most beautiful places on the island. Come to the Ke’e beach, which is really famous for the chickens that live here.

The Ke’e beach can be found to be closed at some times, given the tidal conditions of the north shore. Nevertheless, if you can, do try to reach the Ke’e beach and you will be greeted to some beautiful sights. Another famous beach at Kauai is the Tunnels beach.

The scenery at Tunnels beach is just magnificent, with the mountains in the background and the vast ocean expanse out forward. Tunnels beach is known to provide good opportunities for snorkeling which as you know is one of the top things to do in Hawaii.

After you are done visiting Tunnels beach, you can find another north shore spot known as the  Secret Beach. It is hidden in the jungles and if you are able to find it, you will be in for a treat of a lifetime.

The beach is however not ideal for swimming though. The strong currents of the North Shore are particularly strong here. Anini Beach is a place on the North Shore has a beautiful reef and is particularly known to be a great place for kids. It is a bit shallow and also hosts a lot of equipment you can use to windsurf, snorkel and swim.

South Shore: South Shore beaches are Mahaulepu Beach, a place which is really all round when it comes to things to do. You can swim, surf, snorkel, boat and kayak here. The beach is not developed and therefore harbors a natural setting.

There are culturally relevant sites here, making this south shore beach a place that really makes for a complete trip when it comes to things to do. Polihale beach on western Kauai features a beautiful sunset location and is known to be a great place for couples.

Another great beach location is the Shipwreck’s beach. One of the top places for surfers on Kauai featuring extremely strong waves. Spend a day here and you will not be disappointed. You can swim and afterwards enjoy shave ice on the shore.

Larsen’s beach is a very beautiful spot which can be in the list for the most beautiful beaches in the world. Not known to many people, the beach is still secluded and solitary, all the more increasing its beauty. The white sands of Larsen’s beach are great for relaxing under the sun. This is also a nude beach. Come here with your partner to enjoy a beautiful day.

Hanalei Farmers Market

Every Saturday at 9 30 AM, the village of Hanalei features a Farmers Market. It is set up near Malolo Road and you can find really great produce here.

From papayas to mangoes and more, the Hanalei Farmers Market is one of the top things to do in Hawaii. The Hanalei Farmers Market is a great cultural prize for people visiting Hawaii.


Luau | Photo Credit – commorancy

Take some time to come to the Smith Family Garden Luau and gather the most authentic Hawaiian experience. Hawaii is most famous for its Luaus and here you can find an atmosphere of festivities that is beyond words. The Smiths have been hosting luaus for decades and here you will find the most awesome food, wine and enjoyment. Enjoy a night of partying in Kauai by visiting a luau and try the food which will certainly take your breath away. The major attraction in food is the Teriyaki beef, a lovely cut of beef that is absolutely exquisite.

Kauai Museum

Kauai Museum | Photo Credit – David Eickhoff

The history of Hawaii is chronicled at the Kauai Museum. Learn about the history, culture, and geography of Kauai at the museum in this three storied complex. The Museum remains open from Monday to Saturday from 9 AM to 4 PM. Children under the age of 7 are admitted for free, with the charge of $10 for ages 8 to 17, $12 for seniors and $15 for adults. While you travel and tour the Kauai, you will come across many locations that are known to be culturally significant.

Humans have inhabited the Hawaiian islands for centuries and as such it is a place that while being remote, is filled with history and culture. It will certainly be worthwhile to know about this history while visiting Kauai and the Kauai museum is dedicated to bring you all of this information.

Kapa’a Bike Path

Your vacation to Kauai will certainly be worth in Hawaii.
Kapa’a Bike Path | Photo Credit – Brian

This Kauai attraction is the place for you if you are a cycling enthusiast. You can also walk and run along the path but it is mainly used by cyclists.

This beautiful pathway runs along the coast and therefore features some of the most breathtaking sights on the island. Your vacation to Kauai will certainly be worth it if you take time to invest in the natural beauty of the Kapa’a Bike Path.

Whale Watching

Whale Watching | Photo Credit – Kirt Edblom

If you are in Hawaii during the winter, then you absolutely must sign up for the Whale Watching tour. Here you can watch Humpback whales and dolphins in their natural habitat. These Humpback Whales makes their way to Hawaii to mate during the season and you can grab a chance at this really fun experience.

It is certainly one of the top things to do in Kauai Hawaii. Climb aboard a cruise and journey to the ocean and find these magnificent creatures in their natural environment.

We hope you enjoyed out article of the top things to do in Kauai Hawaii. From beach and beach park attractions, to whale watching and the cultural monuments of the island, and most importantly, the natural beauty of the Garden isle, Kauai has so much for you to enjoy.

You can take helicopter rides here and stay in beautiful resorts right on the beach. Try shave ice candy at the beach park and take time to see the waterfalls of Kauai. Kauai is a really great place for a vacation and you will leave here relaxed and with a head full of memories. Indulge in the wonders of nature here and try snorkeling at the beach park.

While you travel, be sure to take care of all the safety precautions and travel advisories in light of the COVID 19 pandemic. Be safe as you travel and you will find that you can enjoy the wonders of Kauai without any problems whatsoever. Book your itinerary in advance as well as your tickets.

Be sure to check all the recommendations for hotels and be sure to pick the top of the lot. Let us know about your Kauai trip or any other trip in the comments below. Let us know if you are planning on going to Kauai and also your thoughts regarding this article on things to do at Kauai.

Please also read about things to do in Springfield.

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