Top 10 Things To Do In Kauai, Hawaii

things to do in kauai

Nicknamed “Garden Island”, Kauai is part of the Hawaiian archipelago. It is known for its gorgeous tropical rainforest, verdant vegetation, azure ocean, and pristine beaches. Witness the dramatic cliffs and pinnacles that once served as the background for major Hollywood films. Kauai is perfect for travelers looking for peace and quiet. Those who love outdoor activities, and physical sports, can indulge in snorkeling, surfing, and hiking. If you are on a vacation to unwind and engage with nature, this is an opportunity. Enjoy this slice of heaven as you learn about and experience the best things to do in Kauai, Hawaii.

1. Book a tour with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters

Blue Hawaiian helicopter tour office
Source: Photo by Flickr user Matt McGee used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Get a gorgeous view of Kauai from the air with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters. They have been operative in Hawaii since 1985, and they have made it their mission to serve guests with an authentic experience of Aloha. From the moment you book your helicopter, you are guaranteed to create incredible memories that will last a very long time. Each seat at the helicopter features a large personal space, comfy first-class individual seats, and expansive glass for exceptional visibility, all making your tour more entertaining.

Blue Hawaiian Helicopters

Address: 3730 Ahukini Rd, Lihue, HI 96766, USA

Website: Blue Hawaiian Helicopters

Opening hours: 7am - 8pm (daily)

2. Pay a visit to Fern Grotto

Wailua River State Park Fern Grotto
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bret Robertson used under CC BY 2.0

Love gorgeous greens and lush foliage? Pay a visit to Fern Grotto. It is a natural amphitheater with unique cave-like rock formations filled with giant cascading maidenhair ferns. Ever since its formation, Fern Grotto has become a major tourist attraction. There are a number of boating companies that offer river tours to this grotto. It is a popular romantic spot and can be booked for events such as weddings and engagement ceremonies.

Fern Grotto

Address: Kapaʻa, HI 96746, USA

Website: Fern Grotto

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

3. Soak your feet at Polihale State Park

Polihale State Park Na Pali Kauai Hawaii
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user dronepicr used under CC BY 2.0

Polihale State Park is highly preferred not only because of its beauty but also because it is a secluded beach. Guests can arrive at Polihale State Park by a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Once you reach the beach, you can admire the large sand dunes, with some of them towering more than 100 feet (30.5 meters). Swimming is allowed in the area but guests are advised to swim at Queen’s Pond due to the lack of very strong currents here, as is the case with the rest of the area. Polihale State Park is perfect for camping as it is secluded and quiet.

Polihale State Park

Address: Hwy 50, Waimea, HI 96766, USA

Website: Polihale State Park

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

4. Explore Limahuli Garden and Preserve

Limahuli Garden and Preserve Kaua'i (HI)
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ron Cogswell used under CC BY 2.0

Limahuli Garden and Preserve is one of the gorgeous gardens housed by the fascinating National Tropical Botanical Garden. This area is located along the shore of Kauai. Nestled in the mountains, Limahuli Garden and Preserve overlooks the Pacific Ocean and exhibits a fabulous backdrop - Makana Mountain. One of the areas you will love when you are exploring this beautiful reserve is the taro garden and terrace system that dates back a century or more to the earliest Hawaiians. This is the perfect place to learn about the agricultural history of Hawaii, the secret behind the beauty of this ecosystem native to Hawaiians.

Limahuli Garden & Preserve, National Tropical Botanical Garden

Address: 5-8291 Kuhio Hwy, Hanalei, HI 96714, USA

Website: Limahuli Garden & Preserve

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 9am - 4pm (closed on Sun & Mon)

Price: 25 USD onwards

5. Unwind at Kalalau Beach

Kalalau Beach
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user sergejf used under CC BY 2.0

Located on Nā Pali Coast right at the base of Kalalau Valley, Kalalau Beach is the perfect place where you can just relax and enjoy the sun. The beach might be difficult to access but the view, the sand and the privacy are worth the trouble. Given the fact that the beach cannot be accessed easily, most guests prefer camping here. Camping on the beach is allowed but please make sure you carry your own food and entertainment because there are no facilities offered nearby.

Kalalau Beach

Address: Nā Pali Coast at the base of the Kalalau Valley in northwest Kauaʻi, Hawaiʻi, USA

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

6. Plan a day or two at Kauai's North Shore (from USD 231.0)

Have you seen paradise on Earth? Kauai’s North Shore offers you such an exemplary experience with its gorgeous white sand beaches, verdant valleys, incredible caves, enchanting flora, and abundant greens. Now that’s where we can draw a parallel for paradise. At North Shore, you can indulge in a number of physical activities such as swimming, snorkeling, and surfing. Those who prefer engaging with the local life can witness the historical landmarks, visit the quaint shops, or gorge on the delectable dishes offered by the many eateries around here.

Kauai Waterfalls, Kilauea Lighthouse, Hanalei, Hidden Beaches

Duration: 7 hours

10 reviews

7. Go hiking at Opaeka'a Falls (from USD 80.0)

Opaeka'a Falls is a part of Wailua River, north branch, and means “rolling shrimp” which were available in abundance when the stream was named so. This 151 feet (46 meters) high and 40-feet (12 meters) wide waterfall is one of the most popular water features on the island. You will find enough space to park your vehicle and a narrow sidewalk that allows you to view the fall from a safe distance. You can locate picnic tables and water closets for convenience.

Opaeka'a falls, Tree Tunnel, Poipu Coast, Spouting Horn, Historic Koloa Town

Duration: 3 hours

2 reviews

8. Pick your adventure at Wailua River (from USD 105.0)

For outdoor enthusiasts and those into physical sports can plan a day kayaking at Wailua River. Embark on a journey into the lush green and brilliant emerald as you paddle down the river. Anchor only when you wish to visit the gorgeous waterfall en route. You may take a dip in the pool at the base of the fall and choose to enjoy a picnic after. Kayaking here turns out to be equally fascinating during the day or in the afternoon. Therefore you can schedule your visit at your convenience. Witness the early Polynesian culture as you paddle past the viridescent landscape, soaking in the fresh and pristine ambiance. Learn the legends and the lore when you take a guided tour.

Wailua River Kayak and Sacred Fall Hike Adventure

Duration: 5 hours

10 reviews

9. Enjoy basking and snorkelling at Anini Beach

Things to do in Kauai, Hawaii
Source: Photo by Flickr user SNORKELINGDIVES.COM used under CC BY 2.0

You can bask in the sun or ascend the pristine silver beach to the widest and longest fringing reef in Hawaii at Anini. It boasts well-protected waters, consistent enough to enjoy water sports throughout the year. You can snorkel, surf, walk, arrange a picnic or paddleboard here. However, going beyond the protective reef is not recommended due to extremely strong currents and the unavailability of a lifeguard. The water here is warmer, hence perfect for a swim or a snorkel. The slope here is gradual, therefore, you can swim quite far away from the shore yet be in shallow waters. Reach the beach during high tide in the morning for a good experience.

Anini Beach

Address: Kalihiwai, north shore of Kauai, Hawaii, USA

10. Plan a trip to Waimea Canyon (from USD 90.0)

With so much to offer, there is no reason for you to stay indoors when you are in this part of the world. Plan a day to visit the gorgeous Waimea Canyon, a view that never gets old. If you book a guided tour, you will get to learn more about the fascinating history behind the Grand Canyon. You can also stop at several stop points along the way and take great photos or grab a souvenir. During such tours, remember to stop by Spouting Horn, a natural blowhole where you can watch the ocean waves spray high into the air.

Kauai Waimea Canyon Experience

Celebrate nature at the bewitching Kauai

Kauai does not disappoint whether you want to stay indoors or move out. Although it is unlikely that one would curl up indoors with the pristine beaches and lush greens calling out. Spend some time on the island to experience all the activities listed above. Meet this slice of heaven and rejuvenate.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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