Kauai, the oldest of the four main Hawaiian islands, is home to breathtaking landscapes and vibrant history. The natural beauty of Kauai has helped make it one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world, and what better way to experience its splendor than to take a road trip across this lush landscape? Here are 12 can’t-miss things to do in Kauai, Hawaii.
1. Hike the Kalalau Trail
One of the most popular things to do in Kauai, Hawaii is to hike the Kalalau Trail. This 11-mile trek takes you through some of the most beautiful scenery on the island, including pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and towering cliffs. It’s a challenging hike, but the views are more than worth it.
2. Swim at Papakolea Beach
Papakolea Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on Kauai. There are also plenty of activities to keep you busy, like swimming, boogie boarding, and body surfing. Head over to Spouting Horn for a short hike that leads to this amazing geyser.
Swim with wild dolphins: Dolphins play an important role in Hawaiian culture as they represent good luck and prosperity. Get close to these beautiful creatures at Kealia Bay – it’s been called the best place in the world for dolphin watching!
3. Kayak Through Waimea Canyon
Kayaking through Waimea Canyon is an amazing experience that everyone should have while in Kauai. The canyon is gorgeous and offers a great workout at the same time. You can go at your own pace and take in all the beauty around you.
There are plenty of companies that offer tours and rentals, so it’s easy to find one that fits your needs. And if you’re feeling adventurous, there are even overnight camping trips available! No matter how you choose to experience it, kayaking through Waimea Canyon is an unforgettable way to spend some time in Kauai. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and explore Kauai, Hawaii!
4. See Dolphins Up Close
One of the best things to do in Kauai, Hawaii is to see dolphins up close. You can do this by taking a boat tour or going on a dolphin swim. Many operators offer these tours, so be sure to do your research before booking one.
Once you’re on the tour, sit back and enjoy the ride as you watch the dolphins swim and play around you. You may even get lucky and have a dolphin jump out of the water right next to your boat!
5. Bike the Road to Hana
The Road to Hana is one of the most popular attractions in Kauai, Hawaii. The road is full of twists and turns, and it’s surrounded by lush rainforest. It’s an incredible experience to bike the Road to Hana, and there are a few things you should keep in mind.
First, make sure you’re comfortable with your bike. Second, enjoy the beauty. Third, be prepared for some uphill sections. Fourth, watch out for traffic. Fifth, stop at the lookout points along the way. Sixth, bring plenty of water and snacks. And finally, have a blast!
6. Eat a Plate Lunch in Paia
One of the best things to do in Kauai is to eat a plate lunch. A plate lunch is a Hawaiian dish that typically consists of rice, macaroni salad, and either meat or fish. You can find plate lunches all over the island, but one of the best places to get one is in Paia.
Paia is a small town on the north shore of Kauai that is known for its surfer vibe and its amazing food. When you’re in Paia, be sure to stop by one of the many plate lunch spots and try this delicious Hawaiian dish.
7. Take the Road Less Traveled by
If you’re looking for an authentic Hawaiian experience, don’t just stick to the typical tourist traps. Instead, take the road less traveled and explore some of Kauai’s hidden gems.
From secluded beaches to lush hiking trails, there’s plenty to see and do on this beautiful island. Here are a few of our favorite off-the-beaten-path activities in Kauai
8. Stay at An Oceanfront Hotel
One of the best things to do in Kauai, Hawaii is to stay at an oceanfront hotel. That way, you can wake up each morning and walk right out onto the beach.
The Sheraton Kaua’i resort is a great option, as it’s right on Poipu Beach. You can also snorkel, stand-up paddleboard, and kayak right from the resort.
9. Snorkel Fishponds Marine Life Conservation Park or Tunnels Beach
Kauai is well known for its snorkeling, and there are two great spots to do it: Fishponds Marine Life Conservation Park and Tunnels Beach.
Both have clear water with tons of colorful fish, but Tunnels is especially known for its sea turtles. If you’re not a fan of getting in the water, you can still enjoy the views from the beach.
10. Climb Mauna Kea (If You’re Ready For It!)
Climbing Mauna Kea is not for everyone. It’s a very strenuous hike, and the summit is above the tree line, so there’s no shelter from the sun or wind. But if you’re up for the challenge, it’s an amazing experience. Just be sure to pack plenty of water and snacks, and wear sunscreen and a hat.
11. Catch a sunset at Waimea Canyon
With deep valleys running parallel to each other, Waimea Canyon looks like something out of a postcard! You can see glimpses of red through the trees during sunrise or catch an amazing view during sunset.
12. Climb Diamond Head Crater
At Honolulu’s south end lies Diamond Head Crater which offers stunning views of Waikiki beach below.