Estimated to be over 7 million years old, Kauai is one of Hawaii’s oldest islands, and it’s the most tropical. Kauai witnesses the most rainfall out of all the islands, which has led to its lush green rainforests and natural tropical gardens, so much so that it is also called the Garden Island.
If you are planning a visit to Hawaii, Kauai should be on the top of your list. This island has plenty of beautiful beaches and rainforests with a wealth of activities and places to explore that you couldn’t possibly cover in one visit. Where you choose to stay will definitely determine what things you can look forward to doing and enjoying. The one thing that almost all visitors get to enjoy, though, are the chickens. Chickens roam around the island freely, after a 1992 hurricane led to them escaping their pens. So, you will at least enjoy chasing them around. There are many towns and cities on the island that are worth visiting, and Kauai is known for its laid back vibe and its stunning landscapes with plenty of places to visit and things to do. You might ask what are the best things to do on Kauai? And we have the answer for you; whether you are into water activities, nature strolls, culture immersion, or lazy resort getaways, there is something to do for everyone. Read on for some of the top things to do while there.
On the island, this trial is known as “the hike” as it is one of the most famous treks with 11 miles of valleys, waterfalls, sea caves, and lush rainforests and the Kalalau beach. It will take around 3-5 days to explore the entire trail if you want to explore the whole valley and end up at the beach. You can also just do a one-day hike that covers 2 miles of the trek through the forest.
Waimea Canyon Hike
Also labeled as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, Waimea Canyon is located on the Waimea Canyon State Park which is on the list of all island visitors. The most popular train is the Canyon Trail, which is around 3.4 miles and is completed in 3 or 4 hours. Enjoy walking in the canyon and watching the scenic volcanic cliffs and caves, and end up at the beautiful 800-foot Waipo’o Falls.
If hiking and walking through dense rainforests and rocky volcanoes is not your thing, look into exploring the Kilohana Plantation, a historic landmark built in 1930 amidst sugarcane fields. You can enjoy vintage rum tasting, buy molasses products from the sugarcane crop, and enjoy an authentic Hawaiian luau. The plantation has many attractions to enjoy, including its very own railway system.
Explore Kauai Island Towns
Meaning the “crushed town,” Hanapepe is a historic small town on the island. For a more relaxed experience, enjoy exploring its small, quaint streets that are filled with small cafes, art studios, and handmade furniture shops. The main attraction is the historic Hanapepe swinging bridge that crosses the third largest river in Hawaii to the valley.
This is a relaxed surfer town, where you can enjoy the high wave beaches for a great surfing experience, against a backdrop of lush green mountains. Once you are done with your surfing trip, head back to the town and browse its small shops, eat from the delicious food trucks, and roam around the farmers’ market.
Larger than Hanapepe and Hanalei, Poipu is a crowd attraction. It is the home to the sunniest beaches on the island and attractions such as the natural blowhole at the sprout horn park and the National Tropical Botanical Gardens, one of the best in the world. Also, don’t forget to visit The Old Koloa Town of Poipu with its main street hosting the island family’s local grocery stores and restaurants that are worth a visit.
There are plenty of other towns to visit such as on Kauai, Waimea, and many more; whichever you end up at, be sure to visit the local farmers’ markets that offer local produce with excellent quality, or buy locally made fruit pies, honey, and jams. Walking through the market on Sunday mornings is a joy on its own.
Beach and water attractions
Poipu Beach Park
It is a crescent-shaped beach located in the region of Poipu, where you can try out snorkeling and explore the corals and a myriad of sea life. Or go boogie boarding while being on the look-out for monk seals, if you are lucky, or find yourself swimming next to Hawaii’s famous green sea turtles. The park even has a protected sand bar that is perfect for children to swim in.
Salt Ponds Beach
Located near Hanapepe, Salt Ponds beach is one of the best beaches in Kauai for families with children. It is the only natural salt pond in Hawaii, and the water is relatively very calm and can be enjoyed without the worry of high waves. This is the main source of the islands’ salt production, which is gathered through a piping system once the water evaporates.
This is a two-mile-long beach with white sand against a background of beautiful mountains. This beach is one of the most popular as it caters to everyone. Surfers are able to swim in the large waves, and swimmers can stay near the beach reef where it is calmer. The miles of sandy beaches are ideal for beach walking and for sunbathing as well.
Kauai Island is filled with natural wonders that cannot possibly be all covered. The island boasts of some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery and beautiful natural attractions, encompassing the three elements of sea, rainforests, and mountains. The places that can be visited and the things to do on the island are never-ending and warrant more than one visit. On your next visit, make it a point to visit some of the top attractions in the different towns for a complete island experience. So, whether you are a swimmer, surfer, nature lover, or a traveler who just wishes to indulge and enjoy a relaxing trip and experience the beautiful Hawaiian culture and cuisine, this is the perfect island for you.