10 Best Non-Touristy Things To Do In Kauai, Hawaii - Updated 2024

non touristy things to do in kauai
Contributing Writer
| 4 min read

One of the largest islands in Hawaii, Kauai is known for its stunning valleys, cliffs, and picturesque views. It is the oldest island in the chain, with unparalleled beauty, and it is a haven for nature lovers. Marvel at the waterfalls, cherish the views of the rivers and tropical rainforests, and spend an unforgettable vacation with your loved ones. Outdoorsy tourists will fall in love with the island, due to its large number of exciting outdoor activities. Some of them include kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, surfing, and trekking. Kauai also offers a laid-back and relaxed ambiance, so that you can let your hair down and forget all about your hectic lifestyle for a few days. However, there are some spots and activities, which are less publicized and yet will help you to know the area much better when you indulge in them. So, plan for this wonderful escape and check out these best non-touristy things to do in Kauai, Hawaii.

1. Play golf at Makai Golf Club

The iconic Princeville Makai Golf Club is strategically located, just 1.6 km (1 mile) from the Princeville Resort. The Golf Club features a wide variety of experiences, designed keeping in mind the skill sets of different kinds of players, from beginners to pro. Enjoy stunning views of the nearby sea and the lush green land, while playing your favorite sport. The golf course constitutes of two distinct courses - the Woods Course, with 9 holes, and the championship Princeville Makai Ocean Course, with 18 holes. Enjoy a golf experience like never before.

Princeville Makai Golf Club

Address: 4520 Hanalei Plantation Rd

Website: Princeville Makai Golf Club

Opening hours: 7:30am - 6pm (daily)

Price: 502.62 - 873.30 USD

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2. Cycle to Donkey Beach

Don’t skip this lovely experience when you are visiting Kauai. In fact, it is a perfect activity, even if it rains. The ride is suitable for visitors of all age groups and the paved path stretches for around 12.9 km (8 miles), starting from Lydgate Park and ending at Donkey Beach. The path is also apt for walking. You will come across a number of scenic overlooks and pull-offs on your way. There are a number of bike rental shops in Kauai.

Cycle to Donkey Beach

Address: 4-484 Kuhio Hwy #402, Kapaʻa, HI 96746, USA

Website: Kauai Bicycle Rentals

Opening hours: 9am - 6pm (daily)

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3. Photograph the stunning views of Waimea Canyon

Waimea Canyon mar 2010
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Aaronbernstein used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Waimea Canyon State Park is a must-see site when visiting Kauai. In fact, this park is an excellent place to visit and take pictures of gorgeous Waimea Canyon. You will find a designated picture spot with a proper railing in this park, to take safe and great pictures of the canyon. You can not only click pictures here, but also indulge in some great hiking experiences. As you drive through this beautiful park, you will realize that it is an interesting experience in itself. The mesmerizing scenery and breathtaking views can be enjoyed even more when you start out early in the day.

Photograph the stunning views of Waimea Canyon

Address: Waimea Canyon Dr, Waimea, Kauai, HI 96796

Website: Waimea Canyon State Park

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

Price: None

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4. Get a rejuvenating massage at Hanalei Bay Massage

Strategically situated in Hanalei’s Hanalei Center on Kauai, Hanalei Bay Massage is the perfect place to be if you are looking for a rejuvenating massage during your vacation. A group of trained and fully licensed massage therapists perform soothing massages with the highest possible standards and lots of professionalism and compassion. The ambiance here exudes tranquility, so you will enjoy an unforgettable experience. Feel relaxed the moment you enter this cozy studio and leave fully rejuvenated.

Get a rejuvenating massage at Hanalei Bay Massage

Address: 5-5161 Kuhio Hwy suite 205 Hanalei, Hi 96754

Website: Hanalei Bay Massage

Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (Sunday closed)

Price: 120 USD onwards

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5. Explore the Forbidden Island of Ni'ihau (from USD 399.0)

Enjoy two brilliant air tours in one go when you are on this beautiful island. Marvel at the mesmerizing vistas of the Menehune Fishpond and the Waita Reservoir, among others. You will catch glimpses of magnificent Lumahai Beach and the stunning Napali Coastline, not to mention the beauty of the innumerable waterfalls and pristine coastline.

Explore the Forbidden Island of Ni'ihau, which has a length of 29 km (18 mi) and a width of 9.7 (6 mi). The most spectacular aspect of this island is that life is mostly at a standstill here, making it truly enigmatic. You will not find any kind of modern infrastructure during this tour.

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Private 90-Minute Kauai and Forbidden Island Airplane Tour

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

3 reviews

6. Go surfing at Hanalei Bay

Hanalei Bay
Source: Photo by Flickr user Kyle Pearce used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Gorgeous Hanalei Bay is an ideal location to indulge in surfing for beginners, as well as for more experienced surfers. The beautiful bay of Kauai houses a number of surf breaks, which lend themselves to changing conditions and less congestion. Hanalei Surf School is one of the prominent surfing schools on the island. They offer superior quality paddle and surf experiences, all through the year, at the stunning beaches of Kauai’s Hanalei Bay.

Go surfing at Hanalei Bay

Address: 5-5080 Kuhio Highway Hanalei, HI 96714

Website: Hanalei Surf School

Opening hours: 8am - 4pm (daily)

Price: 160 USD and up

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7. Enjoy an exciting helicopter tour (from USD 389.0)

Do you want to appreciate and marvel at the beauty of Kauai from up above? Book a helicopter tour and fly high above the picturesque terrain of the island. Cross the cascading waterfalls of Walapuna and majestic Mount Waialeale and check out the gorgeous Waimea Canyon. You will have access to two-way radio communication with your pilot, while a huge viewing glass window will add even greater charm to this memorable flight.

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Kauai ECO Adventure Helicopter Tour

Duration: 50 minutes

1905 reviews

8. Zipline adventure from Old Koloa (from USD 166.0)

This zipline adventure lasts for three hours and starts from the Old Koloa Sugar Mill. Relish the snacks offered to you during the break and marvel at the views of the ocean and the Waita Reservoir. Cross the island’s lush green forests and cruise across an eight-track course. You can also try out some amazing stunts, such as flying hands-free and upside down or like a superhero. To put it in simple words, this is a perfect activity for all adventure freaks to indulge in.

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Koloa Zipline in Kauai

Duration: 3 hours

4676 reviews

9. Raft and watch whales (from USD 125.0)

During this unforgettable tour, an expert will accompany you to view the migrating humpback whales. This is a half-day tour, on which you can also listen to the whales singing with the help of a special underwater hydrophone. You will be taken on a picturesque boat ride off Kauai’s coast. If you are lucky, you will even catch glimpses of dolphins and sea turtles. Finally, savor the offered beverages and snacks during this exciting tour.

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RAFT ADVENTURE - Whale Watch Discovery

Duration: 2 hours

31 reviews

10. Sunset dinner on a cruise (from USD 151.0)

How about combining a lovely dining experience with some stunning views? Enjoy this unforgettable sunset dinner cruise, which lasts for around four hours, while you also drink in the mesmerizing vistas of the gorgeous Na Pali Coast. Explore the beautiful coastline, while you cruise and listen to educational and entertaining anecdotes about the various spots that will be covered along the way.

You will love the delectable luau-style buffet dinner spread, complemented by exotic cocktails, wine, and beer. Finally, be enthralled by the amazing sunset and raise a champagne toast to end a memorable evening.

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Sunset Dinner Cruise Off the Na Pali Coast

Duration: 4 hours

45 reviews

Captivating Kauai

Coast of Kauai, Hawaii
Source: Photo by user Paul Bica used under CC BY 2.0

Come to Kauai for a completely rejuvenating seaside vacation. Forget all your worries, as you soak in the fresh air and marvel at the scenic beauty of the island. Also, check out these recommended best non-touristy things to do in Kauai, Hawaii, to know the island much better.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Pala Sen is an avid follower of travel and health updates, current affairs and entertainment news from all across the world and writing is a passion for her. She had been previously associated...Read more

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