18 Best Things to Do in Kauai, Hawaii

Discover the best things to do in Kauai, Hawaii’s fourth-largest island, known as the “Garden Isle” because of the abundant greenery that covers most of the island, the breathtaking beaches and the abundant cultural legacy come together to make the trip that will never be forgotten.

The island’s jagged coastal cliffs, emerald-green valleys with a rainforest feel, and towering mountain spires will astound you. Because of its reputation for being wilder, the island’s North Shore draws those who are up for the effort of exploring the rugged hilly scenery. The rewards are plentiful, including breathtaking views and undiscovered gems!

The South Shore of Kauai offers more laid-back activities due to its soft sand beaches. In contrast to the east and west, which contain everything in between, it also offers a more serene scenery.

Read Also: 15 Best Things to Do on the Big Island, Hawaii

The Best Things to Do in Kauai, Hawaii

Kauai offers activities for all types of visitors, if you’re a nature lovers, thrill seekers, or just want to unwind. These best things to do in Kauai will assist you plan your perfect trip.

1. Explore Waimea Canyon State Park

The best national or state park in Hawaii - Hawaii Magazine

Waimea Canyon State Park, also referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” is home to breathtaking vistas and natural marvels. The canyon stretches for 14 miles, providing a countless breathtaking views of verdant cliffs that descend to the Pacific Ocean throughout the canyon.

The Waimea Canyon Lookout is among the best things to do in Kauai for those of you hoping to snap great photos. This elevated viewpoint offers expansive views of the rough canyon that envelops you on all sides. Visit the Waimea Canyon Lookout for panoramic views, and hike the popular Canyon Trail to Waipoo Falls.

Accessing the canyon from Poipu is simple, but travelling from Kauai’s North Shore takes many hours. In either case, try your hardest to squeeze it into your journey!

2. Explore the Wailua Fall

Among the best things to do in Kauai is experiencing the magnificent Wailua Falls seen on Kauai’s east shore. Two magnificent waterfalls cascade into a large pool below, perched on a cliff. The Wailua River offers a scenic boat ride to the Fern Grotto, a lush cave filled with ferns. It’s a beautiful spot for photos and a peaceful escape into nature.

The scenery provides the sense of being in a solitary and remote location, but the waterfalls are simple to access—you can drive right up to them and park. Wailua Falls is an excellent location for vacation photos because of its lush flora and rugged cliffs, which further highlight the waterfall’s splendour.

The cherry on top is that rainbows practically always emerge from the water in a playful manner! When the sun hits the 80-foot waterfalls in the morning, it’s the finest time of day to see a rainbow. Join a guided boat tour for the best experience. Bring a camera to capture the stunning surroundings.

3. Relax at Poipu Beach Park

Poipu Beach Park is a well-liked location for family picnics, snorkeling, and sunbathing. Its golden sands and gentle waves make the crescent-shaped tropical beach the perfect place to unwind for the day. Read that book you’ve been meaning to finish for weeks while lounging in the sun; it’s one of the best things to do in Kauai.

Bring your fishing rod and try to catch dinner, or if you’re feeling really daring, head out into the ocean and go snorkelling! On certain days, there is a significant surge at the beach, allowing you to ride a surfboard or bodyboard.

Hawaiian monk seals can occasionally be spotted at Poipu Beach. A few other causes, including an increasingly heated globe, and ravenous sharks, are contributing to the species’ diminishing population. Keep a look out for the 1,400 or so monk seals that still frequent certain locations on the island of Hawaii.

Read Also: 20 Best Things to do in Maui, Hawaii

4. Hike the Kalalau Trail

The Kalalau Trail is one of the most challenging and scenic hikes in Hawaii. It runs along the Na Pali Coast, offering stunning views of the coastline and access to secluded beaches. The Kalalau Trail is an 11-mile journey that is both beautiful and wild along Kauai’s north shore. Put walking the trail at the top of your list of things to do in Kauai, regardless of how much or how little you choose to walk.

The scenery is defined by thick, lush flora covering the cliffs and a view of the ocean that is turquoise blue. Ascend the steep hillsides on the red dirt route, passing by blooming red hibiscus and pausing to take in the breathtaking views of the far-off landscape. Experiencing this natural beauty is one of the best things to do in Kauai.

It can get rather steep on this path, so trekking poles are highly advised. Experienced hikers should only attempt the entire trek and back again, but everyone should at least cover the first mile or two of this unique trail. The first two miles from Ke’e Beach to Hanakapiai Beach are hiked by most day hikers.

5. Visit Hanalei Bay

Visiting the Hanalei bay is one of the best things to do in Kauai, the bay in Hanalei is a tropical haven. The lengthy stretch of white sand beach faces Hanalei, one of the hippest cities on the island, and is encircled by towering mountains.

Come here to surf, relax, enjoy a cocktail at sunset, and take in the breathtaking scenery. When you get tired of lounging on the beach, visit the town to peruse the charming stores or grab a lunch at one of the delicious food trucks.

Hanalei Bay is an excellent location to capture all of your Instagram-worthy holiday photos, don’t miss the charming town of Hanalei for dining and shopping of unique souvenirs to bring back home. Come soak in the sun, surf, and vibe of the city!

6. Visit the Na Pali Coast

Na Pali Coast Snorkel, Hike and Picnic 2024 - Kauai - Viator

One of the most seductive locations on the island is the striking Napali seashore. It features jagged peaks crowned with lush tropical foliage, stony beaches, and a sparkling blue ocean. Among the best things to do in Kauai, the Na Pali Coast is famous for its dramatic cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and remote beaches. You can get there by boat, helicopter, or hiking.

While visiting, you ought to take a snorkelling or sailing excursion that will take you out into the ocean to observe the coastline up close and get up close and personal with the native marine creatures. For those seeking a little romance, there’s also the option of going on a sunset dinner cruise!

Because so much rain falls over this stretch of shore, amazing waterfalls can be found everywhere! One of the most well-known hiking trails in Hawaii, the Kalalau Trail, is another popular destination along the Napali shoreline.


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7. Discover the Lighthouse at Ninini Point

Being part of the lighthouse at Ninini point is considerd one of the best things to do in kauai.This charming lighthouse with a view of Nawiliwili Bay is the ideal location for sunset photography and beachside portraits. The lighthouse is over a century old, having been constructed in 1906!

Since the lighthouse was automated in 1953, it has gradually lost the Fresnel lenses and lantern room that are typical of most lighthouses. Although it’s not the most adorable lighthouse, it has nice views and is situated on a rocky shoreline. Ninini Point lighthouse is only a short stroll from Ninini Beach if you park your car there.

8. Experience the Botanical Gardens at Princeville

Experiencing the fascinating botanical garden that lies buried away in the valleys near Princeville on North Shore is among the best things to do in kauai. It’s nothing like anything you’ve experienced in your house. The usual beautiful flower beds have been replaced with jungle-like vegetation, giving the botanical gardens an air of untamed beauty.

Discover the indigenous vegetation of the island and take a look at some of the rare and therapeutic plant species that grow in these ethereal gardens. Look for wildlife and insects as you travel. Perhaps the chocolate and honey sampling trips can entice you in if the surrounding scenery and flora aren’t enough.

9. The Hindu Temple in Kauai

The Hindu Temple on Kauai provides you with the exceptional opportunity to observe Hindu beliefs and customs up close and participate in meditation with monks during their daily puja. Located up on the Wailua River’s edge are the monastery and temple. Visiting this temple is one of the best things to do in Kauai, offering a place for meditation, contemplation, and quiet.

Hindu gods are used to embellish the complex and the surrounding area. One such example is the sculpture of Lord Shanmuga, which is placed in the middle of a massive banyan tree. Take a stroll through the gardens of the temple, which are teeming with healing plants, and let your mind and spirit to discover a fresh tranquilly.

Read Also: 10 Best Places to Visit in Hawaii

10. Visit the Kilohana Plantation by Rail

Among the best things to do in Kauai vising the Kilohana Plantation stands out, a historic estate that offers tours, dining, and a popular luau. The plantation is a great place to learn about Kauai’s agricultural history and enjoy a traditional Hawaiian feast. The greatest way to tour the Kilohana Plantation is by train. Three train trips are offered on-site, each with a conductor who will enlighten you on fascinating historical and contemporary details about the plantation.

Take a ride on one of the vintage trains and wind through the taro and sugarcane fields, as well as past stands of tropical fruit trees that include pineapple, papaya, mango, and banana plants. A wonderful family outing awaits you, the Kauai Plantation Railway offers a fun tour of the grounds.

11. The Queen’s Bath

One of the few locations on Earth where you can stroll down lava that has solidified to reach ancient lava ponds is Queen’s Bath. You will be in awe of the striking scenery where the crystal-clear blue sea meets the black volcanic rock of the shore. The stunning natural tide pool at Queen’s Bath, surrounded by untamed cliffs, is considered one of the best things to do in Kauai, a great place to see the sunset. It is tucked away amongst old lava rocks.

But it’s not particularly safe in Queen’s Bath. Many vacationers have been forced into the ocean by the waves that slam upon the shore. Many visitors have perished here, and sadly, it is almost difficult to escape the strong tides and return to the rock. Although the pool is currently gated off, you can still see the wonderful views from above.

Read Also: 18 Best Beaches in Hawaii

12. The Kauai Coffee Company

Coffee and Community – Kauai Coffee

While Colombian coffee is well-known, Kauai has its own coffee beans, which are on par with some of the best in the world! The biggest coffee grower in Hawaii and the United States is Kauai Coffee Company. The enterprise was founded in the early 1800s and produced sugar; today, it boasts over 4 million coffee trees. Exploring th coffee company is one f the best things do in Kauai.

Take a tour of their coffee farm, have a hot cup of freshly roasted coffee, and witness firsthand how coffee is grown, picked, and roasted before being packaged and shipped to you when you visit their Visitor Centre and Kauai Coffee Estate.

13. The Tunnels Beach

Locals refer to the Tunnels Beach as Makua. Here in Kauai is the idyllic tropical beach of your dreams. Along with a variety of enjoyable sports to engage in, there are lengthy stretches of verdant, white sand beaches where you may spend the day lounging.

Among the best things to do in Kauai is visiting this popular area very near to shore, it offers great snorkelling and scuba diving via the reef. A sea turtle may be spotted if you’re fortunate, and there will be an abundance of tropical fish.

On Kauai’s North Shore, there’s a great area to go camping called Tunnels Beach. Apart from that, you can surf, explore hidden coastal caves, and go along the adjacent hiking paths that lead deep into the rocky cliffs around the beach.

14.  Anini Beach

one of the  best things to do in Kauai is Anini Beach, a stunning and distinctly tropical destination that is a must-see for those looking to unwind for the day. The immaculate oceanfront and stunningly white sand of the beaches provide the ideal setting for relaxation. It’s a hassle-free day out because it’s easy to get to and you can drive right into the beach.

Facilities such as picnic tables, restrooms, and showers take care of the necessities.
Bring your snorkelling gear because the beach boasts the widest bordering reef of any Hawaiian island. Considering that there are several campgrounds nearby, why not extend your stay to a few days?

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15. Koloa Heritage Trail 

Hiking the Koloa heritage Trail is one of the best things to do in Kauai. The 10-mile Trail winds through Koloa and Poipu as it follows the island’s southern shore. Because it is dotted with the most significant historical, cultural, and geological sites in the region, it is well-liked.

The Koloa Heritage Trail has 14 monuments that you should see. There used to be a wide variety of sugar plantations in Koloa, and monuments like the Sugar Monument honour this aspect of the region’s past.

The Koloa Heritage Trail is very enjoyable for hikers and historians. If you aren’t able to walk the entire 10 miles, choose a shorter route that passes by some of your favourite monuments.

16. National Tropical Botanical Garden

Hundreds of unique and exquisite endemic plant species can be found on Kauai. The NTBG’s conservation initiatives and educational programmes aim to stop the extinction of many of these species.

On Kauai Island, the NTBG operates two distinct botanical gardens the McBryde and Allerton Gardens is located in the south, while the Limahuli Garden and Preserve is located in the north.

One of the best things to do in Kauai is taking a leisurely stroll amid towering palms, unique flowers, and luxuriant foliage of the Hawaiian jungle. Tours go a couple of hours.


17. Shipwreck Beach 

Shipwreck Beach is near Poipu. It’s wild and untamed, which gives it a completely different type of charm. The old shipwreck that was once there is the source of the name. Instead of tanning, hiking is the major activity there.

Adventurers who like to kayak, bodyboard, or just stroll along the untamed coastline will love this beach. For those in need of extreme excitement, there’s also a 40-foot ocean dive one of the best things to do in Kauai. Keep an eye on the water during whale season to enjoy some excellent whale viewing at Shipwreck Beach.

18. Take a Helicopter Tour

Jurassic Falls Helicopter Tour with Island Helicopters // Kauai, Hawaii —  JITNEYS

Have you ever wanted to see Kauai from above? This enjoyable and simple way to tour the island is excellent for family travel is also one of the best things to do in Kauai. As you climb aboard, let the rush of excitement take over and allow your heart rate rise.

You can see some of Kauai’s most stunning locations, like the Napali shoreline, the breathtaking Olokele and Waimea Canyons, the dramatic Waipuna waterfalls, and Manawaiopuna Falls, in a short trip. One of the wettest spots on Earth, Mount Waialeale, can be flown over if the weather permits.

Checking out Blue Hawaiian Tours is a good idea; they have excellent ratings and the FAA’s Certificate of Excellence, so you know you’re in good hands! The path you take will depend on the company you choose, so be sure to obtain a bird’s eye view of your favourite locations.

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Hawaii’s “Garden Isle,” offers an array of activities and attractions for every type of traveler. From breathtaking hikes and pristine beaches to cultural experiences and scenic drives, these 18 best things to do in Kauai will ensure your trip is filled with unforgettable memories.

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