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12 Epic Things To Do on Kauai

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Epic things to do Kauai

Kauai is one of the most beautiful places in the world. While it’s not a huge island, it’s packed full of fun adventure activities, stunning beaches, great hikes and delicious food spots. Read on for 12 Incredible Things To Do on Kauai!

Last updated January 7, 2024

Looking for fantastic places to eat on Kauai? Check out this article!

If you’re looking for a place to stay, check out Marriott’s Kauai Beach Club. It’s halfway between all of the attractions, has a gorgeous pool and its own beach plus is near the airport (without feeling like it is). Next time, I’d probably search for a hotel in Princeville (e.g. the Westin) to split our time between the two areas.

1. Explore Waimea Canyon

One of the most stunning day trips on Kauai is to Waimea Canyon. This is a full day so I’d suggest starting as early as possible (a great option to do on one of your first days if you’re still on mainland time). Fill up your gas tank before you get to the canyon since we didn’t see any gas stations along th way. There is one restaurant you can eat at (Koke’e Lodge) otherwise pack food or stop before/after your day trip. There are tons of great stop offs so plan to get out of the car frequently. Some of my favorite stops were:

  • Red Dirt Waterfall
  • Lakoba Lookout
  • Hohonu Awawa Lookout
  • Waimea Canyon Lookout
  • Waipo’o Falls Lookout
  • Waimea Canyon Trail (4 miles roundtrip) – great views of the valley and a couple waterfalls

2. Enjoy the Views of the Na Pali Coast at Koke’e State Park

Kalalau Lookout Kauai

This state park is at the end of the Waimea Canyon and should definitely be included on your day trip of the canyon. There is a stunning viewpoint of the coast just off the parking lot so you don’t have to hike. Otherwise, you can hike the Awa’awapuhi Trail for even better views of the Na Pali coast. It takes about 3 hours roundtrip.

3. Hike the Kalalau Trail

One of the most incredible hikes on the island is the Kalalau Trail. You need a reservation in order to hike there and it books out QUICKLY so make sure to log on as soon as the site opens for the day you want to hike. You can either do a:

  1. Day Hike to the Beach
  2. Day Hike to the Waterfall
  3. Multi-day Hike with camping

If you can get a reservation to park in the actual park, it’s the most convenient and cheapest. However, it’s only for a half day so would probably only allow you to hike to the beach and back (which is what we did). Otherwise, there is a shuttle option which also allows you more time to hike to the waterfall.

The trail itself can become very muddy if it has rained so wear waterproof shoes if possible.

Check out my hiking gear guide here!

4. Relax at Poipu Beach

Puka Dog Kauai

A gorgeous, family friendly beach. Bring an umbrella as there aren’t many spots with shade and a snorkel.

5. Hang Out at Tunnels Beach

Tunnels Beach Kauai

This is a perfect beach to relax on after hiking the Kalalau Trail. It’s beautiful with soft sand and great mountain views too.

6. Walk Across the Hanapepe Swinging Bridge

This is quick stop but fun to experience en route to/from the start of the Waimea Canyon. The town itself is also fun to walk around with stops.

7. Check out the Wailua Falls Viewpoint

Wailua Falls Viewpoint

This is a beautiful waterfall and a quick visit. There are signs that remind people not to hike down so make sure to respect them!

8. Walk on the Scenic Hanalei Pier

Hanalei Pier

This is popular beach for parents to teach their kiddos to surf and for locals to enjoy. I found it to be incredibly scenic and relaxing.

9. Go on a Helicopter Ride

We didn’t book this tour until the last day because we debated if it was worth the cost and ultimately went and loved it (I’d recommend booking sooner if you want to go!). We booked with Island Helicopters since they have great rates but the downside is they take six passengers at a time. Two passengers will have non-window seats and you won’t know who until everyone weighs in so if you must have a window, consider booking a private tour or go with a company that takes fewer people. Ryan had a non window seat but I had the window seat right next to him so it worked out very well.

10. Tree Tunnel

Tree Tunnel Kauai

This is a fun drive when going to and from Poipu!

11. Enjoy a boat ride along the Na Pali coast

The sunset tour and the raft snorkel tour both looked amazing! I was pregnant at the time so couldn’t go on the boats but will make sure to to a boat excursion next time!

12. Shop local maker goods at Warehouse 3540

A cute creative market place with local makers, Warehouse 3540 is worth a stop!

Are you ready to enjoy these 12 incredible things to do on Kauai?! What else would you add?

Check out Things to do on Maui here and other US travel ideas here.

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