Things To Do In Kauai Hawaii – Note: This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to sign up through these links, I receive a small commission, which I will of course blow on more flights (it’s a vicious cycle).
Inside: The best things to do in Kauai, where to stay on the island, and what fun things to try!
Things To Do In Kauai Hawaii
And after working for four months without a single day off, I definitely got it. No argument there, Dave agreed.
Our Top Things To Do And Eat In Kauai
As we prepare to embark on our annual winter holiday, deciding between the sun-drenched islands of Thailand or the Philippines, a dream job in Germany is right in Dave’s lap.
But now we are anxiously staring down the barrel of a Bavarian winter in T-minus two weeks. Compression in this tropical vacation is necessary, now more than ever. Even if there are only a few days left.
The Asia plan is apparently dead, yet the dream of an island paradise is still very much alive. Maybe a little closer to home.
Most visitors to Hawaii arrive on the main island of Oahu. And many of those visitors make the mistake of limiting their Hawaii vacation to this one, popular island.
Things To Do On Kauai (whether It’s Your First Trip Or You’re An Island Expert)
But while I love Oahu, and there’s plenty to see and do, it’s a bit overwhelming for me.
And Maui is definitely a beautiful island, but I found it very touristy. It is, after all, the honeymoon capital of the world.
The Big Island? Beautiful! But as the name suggests, it is huge. And you’ll spend a good portion of your vacation just driving from one cool spot to the next.
What about little Molokai? Yes, it was the most low-key getaway to Hawaii ever. But with so few tourist spots, it’s better to explore on a day trip than as a weekend getaway.
Best Things To Do In Kauai, Hawaii
Miles away from the traffic of Oahu, or the tourist hordes of Maui, the peaceful island of Kauai is my favorite choice for pure relaxation.
In fact, of all the Hawaiian Islands, Kauai is considered by most travelers to be the most beautiful island in Hawaii, and here’s why.
Nicknamed the Garden Island, Kauai has it all – beautiful beaches, rainforests, emerald mountains, and beautiful hiking trails to keep the traveler busy.
But Kauai is less developed than other Hawaiian islands. And that means you can soak up all the natural beauty without sitting in traffic or worrying about tour bus groups. And Kauai’s compact size makes it easy to explore when you only have a few days.
Epic Things To Do In Kauai, Hawaii’s Garden Island » Teriaki Talks
Now, let’s move on to the fun stuff…where to stay, how to get around, and what to see on Kauai!
Located on the south side of Kauai, Poipu is the most popular beach on the South Coast. During the winter months, it is legendary to watch the amazing sunset.
Aside from that perfect crescent of sand and magical falls, Poipu really has it all. Great hotels, restaurants, and shops are all within easy walking distance.
It is entirely possible to use Poipu as your home base, skip the rental car, and take day trips when you feel like exploring further.
The Top 5 Best Things To Do In Kauai Hawaii (#1 Is A Must!)
To really go out and see the island, it’s best to get a rental car. This is true no matter where on the island you live. Kauai’s best sights are scattered throughout the island.
Fortunately, driving on Kauai is easy and short distances. You can see most of the Garden Isle in one day.
We used RentalCars.com to find our car and wanted the flexibility to move ourselves around the island. We spent the whole day touring on our own schedule, hitting the brakes for every cute food truck along the way!
In addition, if you are staying in a hotel or a dormitory with a kitchen, you will need the occasional grocery store to run a meal. More on that later…
Complete Kauai Travel Guide For The Ultimate Vacation Experience
Bottom line: Yes, you can get by without a rental car. But for ultimate independence, get your own feet.
Make sure you book your rental car well in advance. Rental cars are a hot commodity in Hawaii right now since many rental companies sold most of their fleets during the disaster.
Although we only visit the island for 3 short days, most of those who arrive here plan to stay for at least a week. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to have a small space and maybe even your own kitchen.
Vacation rentals are available on all of Hawaii’s main islands. When the owners are not using them, you can often find them for rent on sites like Booking.com or AirBnb.
Best Things To Do In Kauai For Adventure Travelers
We chose the Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club, right on Poipu Beach. The resort has three pools, two hot tubs, and tropical gardens that look like a botanical garden. Just what the doctor ordered.
Our 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom home (way bigger than we needed) is the price of a standard hotel room at some of the island’s resorts. The villa is amazing, with a full kitchen, washer and dryer, and a deep sink with my name on it.
Don’t miss the champagne sabing sunset. If you haven’t been schooled in the art of opening a bottle of champagne with nothing more than your average chef’s sword, they will teach you. (It’s actually fun, I once nailed it at the St. Regis Aspen).
If a resort with all the amenities is more your style, you won’t find a better choice than the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa. Think luxurious, tropical grounds, a full-service spa, a golf course, gourmet restaurants, and an adults-only swimming pool.
Once In A Lifetime Adventures In Kaua’i
Oodles of great rental options can also be found on AirBnb. If you haven’t used AirBnb before, this discount code will get $40 off your first rental.
And as of June 12, 2022, there are no more tests or entry requirements related to Covid for passengers arriving on domestic or international flights.
For the latest information on travel requirements to Hawaii (which may change frequently), see the Hawaii Travel Agency page.
One of the great things about Kauai is that you can fill your days with sightseeing and adventure or you can relax and do nothing.
While we spend a good amount of time planted on the beach to drink the aforementioned umbrella, we also manage to make time for some Kauai sights.
If there’s one thing you can’t miss while visiting Kauai, it’s a visit to Na Pali Beach. Whether by air or water (or both!), make this your top priority on the island.
Perhaps most famous as the setting for the movie Jurassic Park, this 25-mile-long stretch of sand makes up about a quarter of Kauai’s coastline along the north shore.
With the exception of the 11-mile Kalalau Causeway (closed during our visit due to heavy rain), this section of Kauai’s north shore is accessible to visitors by only two means – air or water.
Of The Best Things To Do On Kauai’s North Shore • Amanda Wanders
Often referred to as the state bird of Hawaii, dozens of helicopter companies stand ready to fly you from north coast to north coast.
But for my money, nothing beats getting out on the water. In fact, we love catamarans so much we hope to fly one ourselves one day!
Like helicopters, there are many companies that offer catamaran cruises. Most offer either a morning trip that includes snorkeling and lunch or a sunset trip that includes dinner.
We chose the morning trip with Blue Dolphin Charters and it was awesome (I also heard good reviews about Captain Andy’s – but they were full on the day we wanted to go).
Famous Natural Wonders In Kauai
There is no charge for the whale watching excursion. However, whenever you hit the water around the Hawaiian Islands during whale season (November to April) you can see “
In fact, this whale watching trip turned out to be the best whale watching experience I have ever had. (And that includes Alaska, Maui, New Zealand, Cabo and even Antarctica – all during prime whale season.)
Humpbacks are considered to be the most acrobatic of the whale population and during the excursion several humpbacks showed us why!
Some of them pulled themselves out of the water in an amazingly violent way, while others had fun with slapping their tails. It was an amazing afternoon that I will never forget.
Best Things To Do In Kauai With Kids For 2023 (family Fun!)
When we weren’t whale watching, we made friends with bottlenose dolphins that playfully swam alongside our boat as we cruised along the stunning coastline.
Let’s just say it’s a good day and an experience not to be missed if you visit the island, especially during whale season.
Next in our list of amazing island sights, we’ll head west to Kauai and the amazing Waimea Canyon.
“You’re sure to enjoy the conversation when you stop to view this great national wonder along Highway 550 on the east side of the island.
Top 5 Things To Do In Kauai, Hawaii » Itineraries To The World
10 miles long and over a mile wide, the 3,600ft deep river offers visitors many hiking trails and viewpoints to take in its beauty.
Like the Grand Canyon, Waimea Canyon’s walls change color depending on the direction of the sun during the day. Tips:
If you have a short time and want to see the other one
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