Hawaii’s oldest island, Kauai, offers lush tropics and natural wonders that are sure to provide the perfect backdrop for a beach getaway. Known as the Garden Isle, Kauai is the fourth-largest Hawaiian island and you’ll definitely be able to chill out and relax being surrounded by the laid-back atmosphere.
Kauai proves to be an idyllic location for outdoor enthusiasts. Hikers and kayakers are certain to find plenty of space to enjoy their hobbies throughout their vacation. Kauai delivers national parks, green rainforests, winding rivers and cascading waterfalls, and with so many spots to explore, there’s certain to be new adventures around every corner.
Outdoor Things to Do in Kauai
Waimea Canyon State Park: Waimea Canyon is considered the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Situated on the western side of Kauai, Waimea is Hawaiian for reddish water and refers to the erosion from the canyon’s red soil. The state park is a popular destination for visitors and is an ideal spot for getting in touch with nature. There are plenty of hiking trails for all levels of expertise, providing the perfect opportunity for a little exercise during your vacation. Pack a picnic lunch and make a day of it!
Kalalau Trail: For experienced thrill seekers, the Kalalau Trail is the obvious next step. This challenging trail runs approximately 11 miles along Kauai’s north shore from Ke’e Beach to Kalalau Valley. Plan to spend the day making the round-trip 22-mile hike. The most daring part of the trail occurs around Hanakoa. The “crawler’s ledge” lays around the 7-mile mark, and as long as you don’t have a fear of heights, it’ll be quite exciting.
Polihale State Park: Polihale State Park features a remote beach on the western side of the island. The area around Queen’s Pond is perfect for swimming. The park also provides visitors with cold running water, flush toilets, semi-private showers and pavilions, making it a comfortable place to spend a day.
Hanalei Beach: This 2-mile, half-moon shaped bay boasts stunning white, sandy beaches and amazing mountain peaks, creating a beautiful backdrop in a relaxing location. Both locals and visitors alike love spending time at Hanalei Beach, and it’s home to many world champion surfers and athletes. The beach is the top place to enjoy all things water-related like swimming, surfing, sailing, fishing and bodyboarding to name a new.
Princeville Botanical Gardens: Spending time at this tropical garden paradise on the north shore of Kauai will surely take your breath away. The Princeville Botanical Gardens is family owned and operated, covering 8 acres with dramatic landscaping. Private tours of the gardens are available. The family also grows cacao and processes their own homemade gourmet dark chocolate. During each tour there is a chocolate tasting as well as a lesson on how on its made. Also on the tour you’ll learn ethno-botanical and medicinal uses for plants, hear about the garden’s history and explore the garden’s varieties.
Indoor Things to Do in Kauai
Kauai Museum: At Kauai Museum, you’ll find many different activities going on each day as well as stunning galleries that can be explored on your own or through a docent tour. The museum celebrates the history and cultural heritages of the island’s indigenous people. At the museum, you can discover an exciting history lesson about Kauai’s past and how it’s developed into the one-of-a-kind isle today. The collections and educational programs bring the stories to life and are sure to be a fascinating part of your trip.
Galerie 103: Art lovers won’t want to miss out on a trip to Galerie 103, where there’s an interesting mix of national and international artists’ work displayed. Contemporary and modern pieces reflecting the island’s environment can be seen here, and Galerie 103 strives to push boundaries. All mediums are displayed at the gallery, and should invoke some lively discussion as you wander through and explore the space.
Waioli Mission House: Both history buffs and those interested in the island are sure to enjoy a trip to Waioli Mission House, where you can learn about 19th century education, 20th century restoration and 21st century preservation. Travel back in time to the 1800s in the home of early Christian missionaries, Abner and Lucy Wilcox. The house is a Hanalei Town landmark, was restored in 1921 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.