Things To Do In Kauai, Hawaii – The Garden Isle
From the soaring cliffs of the Na Pali Coast to the deep chasms of Waimea Canyon, the endless options of things to do in Kauai makes it an enchanting paradise on the northern edge of the Hawaiian Islands. Explore Kauai’s breathtaking landscape of natural attractions, white sand beaches, blissful coves, tropical forests, colossal mountains, cascading waterfalls, dramatic sea cliffs, plunging canyons, wild gardens and championship golf courses. Explore white beaches on Kauai’s Coconut Coast – one of the most beautiful destinations on the planet – and play in the emerald blue ocean. Hike up Waimea Canyon and savor panoramic views of the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, or take a helicopter ride along the stunning cliffs of the Na Pali Coast. Explore Poipu Beach Park, Wailua Falls, Hanalei Bay, and the hidden valley of Kalalau. Kayak down the Wailua River and see the beautiful Fern Grotto. The gateway to Kauai’s natural wonders, Lihue offers many attractions, such as Nawiliwili Bay, Kauai Museum and Grove Farm Homestead. There are so many things to do in Kauai, heaven is everywhere!
A geological wonder of Kauai, Fern Grotto is a sacred place of Hawaiian royalty where the ferns grow upside down from the roof of the grotto, which was formed millions of years ago. Take a 2-mile boat journey along the Wailua River to the beautiful Fern Grotto – a natural lava rock cave sheltered by draping ferns. Boat through ancient lands and see native Hawaiian plants and colorful exotic tropicals in this beautiful rainforest. At Fern Grotto Landing, you can enjoy a short nature walk through the rainforest to the lush Fern Grotto. Enjoy the guided river tour with gorgeous scenery, live music and the stories of ancient Hawaii.
Located on Kauai’s West Shore, Waimea Canyon – called the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” – is a breathtaking 3000 feet deep chasm with stunning panoramic views of crested buttes, rugged crags, and deep valley gorges. Trek the amazing hiking trails through awesome colors of red, green and beige, and experience the grand vistas of Kauai’s dramatic interior for miles. Take Waimea Canyon Drive to lookout points offering breathtaking views of the canyon or continue into the mountains and explore Kokee State Park. At the end of the road, the famous Kalalau Lookout offers a breathtaking view of Kalalau Valley opening out to the Na Pali Coast. [Top]
Na Pali Coast.
A breathtaking mountainous coastline on the North Shore of Kauai, the stunning Na Pali Coast is a natural wonder with Hawaii’s most dramatic scenery. Extending 16 miles from Ke’e Beach to Polihale Beach, Na Pali Coast State Park protects the Kalalau Valley. Explore pristine beaches, deep valleys, winding mountain trails and the 3,000-foot high sea cliffs that overlook panoramic views of the ocean and valley. Hike the 11-mile Kalalau Trail along the rugged coastline of steep green cliffs and cascading waterfalls, through five lush valleys and ancient Hawaiian ruins to Kalalau Beach. Boat or kayak along the dramatic coastline to secluded coves, sandy beaches, sea caves and high waterfalls. Get awe-inspiring views of the Na Pali Coast on helicopter tours to hidden treasures.
Spouting Horn Park.
Located on Kauai’s south shore, the spectacular Spouting Horn blowhole releases a spout of water up to 60-feet high above the coast. When the Poipu surf channels into a natural lave tube here, the water will hiss, roar and blow into the sky. Ancient Hawaiians believed this coastline was guarded by a giant mo’o (lizard) named Kaikapu that was slain and got stuck in the lava tube. The views from the lookout at Spouting Horn Park are luminous at sunset, and the Poipu coastline is a great vantage point to see humpback whales from November to May. [Top]
Wailua River / Wailua River State Park.
Fed by two towering waterfalls – Wailua Falls and Opaekaa – the tranquil Wailua River weaves through a lush jungle landscape and by gorgeous waterfalls along the east side of Kauai. This popular and scenic river is a wonderful way to explore Kauai by kayak, canoe or boat tours. Take a guided tour or romantic cruise to the Fern Grotto alongside the river, a natural lava rock cave sheltered by draping ferns, and enjoy gorgeous scenery. The Wailua River offers boat cruises and kayak trips.
Wailua Falls is a spectacular 80-foot waterfall that plunges into the southeast shore of Kauai at the south end of the Wailua River. A 4-mile trip out of Lihue, through rolling hills and valleys surrounded by mountains, Wailua Falls is where ancient royalty dove over the falls to prove their worth, and was famous from the TV show Fantasy Island. Unlike many Kauai waterfalls, Wailua is accessible via the main turnout at Wailua River State Park. You can hike to the base of the spectacular waterfall via a steep, slippery trail that crosses the river to the pool. Visit http://www.waterfallswest.com/waterfall.php?id=167. [Top]
Poipu Beach Park.
Once named America’s Best Beach by the Travel Channel, Poipu Beach Park is a popular beach attraction on Kauai’s South Shore. The picturesque white sand beach invites swimming, snorkeling, diving, sunbathing and watching the humpback whales (November through March.) Poipu Beach is also famous for the endangered Hawaiian Monk seals that swim in the waters of Kauai. Enjoy a picnic on the beach and watch the stunning sunsets in Poipu.
Perched at the northernmost tip of Kauai, the 52-foot Kilauea Lighthouse was built in 1913 as a beacon for traveling ships. Located in Kilauea National Wildlife Point Refuge, a sanctuary for Hawaii’s unique seabirds, Kilauea Lighthouse offers beautiful views of the rugged northern coast and is a perfect vantage point for taking panoramic photos of Kauai’s northernmost edge. [Top]
Rated the Best Beach in the US for 2009 by Dr. Beach, Hanalei Bay is a 2-mile half-moon bay with white sand surrounded by majestic mountains and sea cliffs. This beautiful beach and cove on Hanalei Bay is an amazing ocean playground for swimming, surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, boogie boarding, kayaking, fishing and watching sunsets. This long beach is a legendary surf spot and destination for family activities and is within walking distance of the town of Hanalei. Hanalei Pier is a top fishing spot where Hanalei River meets the ocean.
Relax and learn about Kauai’s plantation past at Kilohana Plantation – an elegant plantation estate with beautiful grounds and lush tropical flowers. Built in 1936 by sugar baron Gaylord Parke Wilcox, the mansion at Kilohana is the finest symbol of plantation era architecture in Hawaii. Tour the grand mansion and see original furnishings, artifacts and décor. Relax in the main salon and elegant courtyard, shop in boutiques with hand-crafted Hawaiian products, and dine at Gaylord’s, serving fresh island cuisine grown at Kilohana. Tour a working farm on a vintage railway, or ride an elegant horse-drawn carriage. Sample pineapple, papayas and exotic fruits, or join the festivities at the Luau Kalamaku, Kauai’s only theatrical luau. Visit http://www.kilohanakauai.com/ [Top]
Bearing a striking resemblance to a sleeping giant, the Nounou Mountain ridge is located on East Kauai. You can hike the Nounou Mountain Trail that traverses this ridge but is a very difficult trek. The Chevron Station in Kapaa, on the right of the road, has a viewing area for the Sleeping Giant. Visit http://www.hawaiiweb.com/KAUAI/SITES_TO_SEE/SleepingGiant.htm
Puakea Golf Course in the heart of Lihue.
Puakea Golf Course embraces everything magical that is Kauai with its natural beauty, casual charm and friendly people. Set at the base of towering Mount Ha’upu, Puakea plays through deep ravines, crosses mountain-fed streams, reveals views of the Pacific Ocean and treats golfers to stunning island beauty.
Crafted by Robin Nelson, Hawaii’s most prolific golf course architect, Puakea is 7,000 yards of exhilarating golf. [Top]