What to do on Kauai? If you have to ask yourself this question it is probably your first visit to Kauai. The Garden Island offers some of the most diverse landscapes on the planet, a nature lovers paradise with white sand beaches, countless hiking trails, waterfalls and an endless list of things to do and discover. Here is a sample itinerary with some of my favorite Kauai sites and activities.
Day 1: Arriving and Getting Settled
After settling into your hotel or vacation rental, head for the beach. On the South Side Poipu Beach Park is a great choice to get your feet wet, try a little snorkeling and watch the sunset. Lydgate Beach Park if you are staying on the East Side,Â Hanalei Bay or Anini Beach on the North Shore.
Day one is a great day to book your Kauai luau.Â No need to do any thinking. Just sit back enjoy the rhythm of the islands, the dance of the Hula and the taste of Polynesia while sipping a Hawaiian Mai Tai.
Day 2: KauaiÂ a Bird’s Eye View and Touring the North Shore
A helicopter tour is a spectacular way to see the eighty percent of Kauai’s interior that is otherwise not accessible. Book this early then head out to the North Shore. (Flights take off from Lihue or Princeville airport) Drive all the way to the end of the road to Ke’e Beach. Plan to hike a little on the famous Kalalau Trail in Napali Coast State Park — bring hiking shoes or closed-toe tennis shoes. A half-hour on the trail will give you an idea of the spectacular coastline. The hearty may want to hike all the way to Hanakapiai Falls, a 3-hour trip one-way. After your hike, snorkel a bit at Ke’e Beach. Head back into the town of Hanalei for lunch, take it to-go and head down to Hanalei Bay to have lunch. On your way back south head to the Kilauea Lighthouse for a spectacular view and some wildlife spotting.
Day 3: Discover the Napali Coast
The Napali Coast is one of the top attractions and must see places on Kauai This spectacular 17 mile coastline will leave you in awe as your eyes wander from sea level toward the hanging valleys and razor back ridges thousands of feet above the ocean. Experience the exhilarating adventure of a Kauai dolphin and whale watching adventure while relaxing in the sun and soak up the beauty as your captain and crew guide you along secluded beaches of Kauai and the spectacular Napali coast. For those who seek the most exhilarating day on the water book an adventure to the forbidden island of Niihau, where you will explore the Na Pali Coast and the islands of Niihau and Lehua offshore from Kauai’s West Side.
Day 4: Visit the West SideÂ
Get an early start watch the sunrise if youare on the east side and set off for a day of exploringÂ the laid back and historical towns of Hanapepe, Waimea and Kekaha.Â The scenic drive up the winding roads to Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Park, will give you ample opportunities to stop at the scenic lookouts, take photos and take in the this amazing beauty of the canyons and scenic overlooks into the valleys of the Napali Coast.
Bird lovers, nature enthusiasts, hikers, and sightseers will love wandering around this park. Be sure to stop by the Kokee Natural History Museum and have lunch at the Kokee Lodge that is open till 4:00. Make sure to drive to the end of Hwy. 550 and enjoy the breathtaking lookout into Kalalau Valley.
Day 5: Explore Kauai’s Jungle Interior
Most of Kauai’s lush interior is not accessible by car. There are many fun and exciting ways to explore this part of the island. Paddle into the lush jungle along the Huleia or the Wailua River, hike to a waterfall and enjoy a picnic lunch on a kayak tour or Tubing Adventure Tour.
IfÂ you are looking for a bit more speed, booking an ATV tour is a surefire way to have fun. Ride through the forest and private ranch land while you explore breathtaking views of the Huleia River and many movie locations – Jurassic Park, Raiders of The Lost Ark, Pirates of the Caribbean and the spectacular view into Kipu Kai as seen on The Descendants. Other fun tours to explore Kauai’s interior are the zipline tours and the tubing adventure.
Day Six: Explore Your KauaiÂ
By now you have seen most of Kauai, either by land, air or sea. Now you can pick your favorite side of the island and explore more Kauai attractions, hikes and Â beaches .Â If you are feeling like doing nothing but relaxing, just stay put at your resort or vacation rental and enjoy a good book and some Hawaiian sunshine.
Day 7: Kauai Favorites and Souvenirs
Time to get pampered and shop for souvenirs. If you choose to be pampered there are many spa choices on island. An amazing experience not to miss out on is a traditional Hawaiian Lomi Lomi or hot stone massage.
For the shopping enthusiast check out some of the favorite local boutiques. The Kauai Museum is filled with many historical treasures as well as a beautiful gift shop with many unique Kauai made products.Â Check out the Kilohana Plantation shops and train tour. If you haven’t already discovered shave ice then definitely make this a mission to try one before you leave.
Ideas for gifts to bring home:
Hawaiian chocolate-covered macadamia nuts
100% Kauai coffee
Local Jewelry & Art