Hey there! Are you planning a trip to the beautiful island of Kauaʻi? Well, you’re in luck because I’ve got a list of the top 10 things to do on the island, straight from a local resident. In this video, I’ll be sharing some amazing recommendations for activities such as exploring the Nā Pali Coast by boat, riding tubes through old irrigation canals, taking a helicopter tour, hiking the Kalalau Trail, and visiting breathtaking locations like Waimea Canyon. Plus, I’ve partnered with Hawaiiactivities.com to offer you a 5% discount on most activities using the code ‘BKR2023’ at checkout. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on these incredible experiences! So, let’s dive right in and discover the best of Kauaʻi together.
Welcome to the lush paradise of Kauaʻi! As a local resident, I’m here to show you the absolute best things to do on this stunning island. The video is packed with personal recommendations from me, and I only suggest activities that I’ve personally experienced. From breathtaking boat tours along the Nā Pali Coast to relaxed tubing adventures through old irrigation canals, there’s something for everyone. I’ve even included some insider tips, like the best time to explore the Kalalau Trail and the must-try surf spots at Hanalei Bay. And the good news doesn’t stop there – with our exclusive partnership with Hawaiiactivities.com, you can save 5% on your favorite activities by using the code ‘BKR2023’ at checkout. So, get ready to explore Kauaʻi like a true local and create unforgettable memories on this paradise island.
Explore the Nā Pali Coast by Boat
This image is property of i.ytimg.com.
One of the most breathtaking experiences you can have on Kauaʻi is exploring the Nā Pali Coast by boat. This stunning coastline is often regarded as the most beautiful place in Hawaii, with its towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and lush rainforests. Boat tours offer the perfect opportunity to see this natural wonder up close and appreciate its magnificent beauty. These tours will take you along the coast, allowing you to witness the breathtaking scenery and marvel at the rugged cliffs that rise dramatically from the ocean. Keep your camera ready, as you never know when you’ll spot a pod of spinner dolphins or catch a glimpse of humpback whales during the winter season. Whether you choose a large catamaran or a smaller boat, this is an experience you will never forget.
If you’re a fan of marine life and enjoy exploring underwater wonders, then snorkeling along the Nā Pali Coast is an activity you must try. Many boat tours offer snorkeling opportunities, allowing you to dive into the crystal-clear waters of the Pacific Ocean and discover a vibrant and diverse marine ecosystem. With snorkeling gear provided, you can swim alongside colorful fish, graceful sea turtles, and maybe even encounter a playful dolphin or two. The Nā Pali Coast boasts an abundance of pristine snorkeling spots, showcasing coral reefs teeming with life. So don’t forget to pack your swimsuit and sunscreen for this exciting adventure.
For a truly magical experience, consider embarking on a sunset cruise along the Nā Pali Coast. As the day comes to a close, the golden hour casts a warm glow on the cliffs and transforms the landscape into a heavenly sight. Sunset cruises offer a serene and romantic atmosphere as you sail along the coast, surrounded by the beauty of nature. Relax on the deck of the boat, sip on a refreshing drink, and take in the awe-inspiring colors of the sky. It’s the perfect way to end a day of exploring and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Experience Kauai Tube Riding
For a unique and relaxed activity on the island, Kauai Tube Riding is a must-try experience. This activity takes you on a journey through the old irrigation canals that were once used for sugar cane plantations. Floating on inner tubes, you’ll navigate the gentle currents and tunnels, immersing yourself in the history and beauty of Kauai. The pace of the tubing adventure is slow, offering a peaceful and laid-back experience suitable for all ages. While it may not be an adrenaline-pumping activity, it provides an opportunity to enjoy the stunning scenery, learn about the island’s rich cultural past, and create lasting memories with your loved ones. Remember to bring sunscreen, a hat, and a sense of adventure for this delightful excursion.
Hike the Kalalau Trail
Hiking the Kalalau Trail is often considered the best hike in Hawaii, offering unrivaled views of the Napali Coast. However, it’s important to note that a permit is required for the full trail. The Kalalau Trail spans 11 miles each way, totaling a full-day excursion for even the most experienced hikers. In addition to the permit, non-Hawaii residents will need a reservation to enter the state park. Planning ahead is crucial to ensure you have all the necessary permits and reservations in place before embarking on this adventure. It’s also important to be aware of safety precautions, as flash floods are relatively common in Hawaii. If the river is flowing heavily, it’s best to follow the lead of others and avoid crossing it until it’s safe to do so.
The Kalalau Trail is classified as a difficult hike and is recommended for experienced hikers or those who are physically fit and well-prepared. It traverses through lush valleys, rugged terrain, and can be challenging at times. However, the reward is truly worth it. The trail offers breathtaking vistas of the coastline, towering cliffs, and secluded beaches that are inaccessible by any other means. If you’re up for the challenge and prepared with proper hiking gear, including sturdy footwear, ample water, and snacks, this trail will provide an unforgettable experience.
What makes the Kalalau Trail so special are the scenic views it offers along the way. As you hike through the lush valleys and rugged coastline, you’ll be treated to stunning vistas of the Napali Coast. The emerald green cliffs, punctuated by cascading waterfalls, create a landscape that seems straight out of a postcard. The trail takes you to hidden beaches, such as Hanakapiai Beach and the renowned Kalalau Beach, where you can rest and soak in the beauty of your surroundings. Whether you choose to hike a portion of the trail or embark on the full 22-mile round trip, you’ll be rewarded with some of the most breathtaking views on the island.
Take a Helicopter Tour
For a truly unforgettable experience and a unique perspective of Kauai, taking a helicopter tour is a must. These tours allow you to explore the island from a bird’s-eye view, showcasing its diverse landscapes, hidden waterfalls, and inaccessible valleys. As you soar above the terrain, you’ll witness the beauty of Kauai in a way that is impossible to see from the ground. Fly over the majestic Waimea Canyon, also known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” and marvel at its vibrant colors and sheer magnitude. Admire the Napali Coast as it stretches along the coastline, revealing its dramatic cliffs and hidden sea caves. A helicopter tour provides an opportunity to capture breathtaking photos and create memories that will stay with you long after your visit to Kauai.
One of the most compelling reasons to take a helicopter tour is the unique perspective it offers. Seeing Kauai from above allows you to gain a deeper appreciation for its beauty and understand its geographical features in a way that’s impossible from the ground. You’ll be able to see the untouched wilderness, the vibrant rainforests, and the contrasting landscapes that make Kauai so remarkable. From cascading waterfalls to secluded beaches, volcanic craters to lush valleys, a helicopter tour provides a comprehensive overview of the island, allowing you to fully grasp its natural wonders.
It’s important to note that helicopter tours can be quite expensive, so it’s essential to consider this when planning your activities in Kauai. While the price may be a deterrent for some, the experience of a helicopter tour is undoubtedly worth it for those who can afford it. The cost includes the expertise of a knowledgeable pilot who will provide interesting commentary throughout the tour, adding depth to your understanding of the island. If you’re on a tighter budget, there are often shorter tours available that still offer incredible aerial views of Kauai. Regardless of the tour you choose, a helicopter tour is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Kauai from a whole new perspective.
Visit Waimea Canyon
Grand Canyon of the Pacific
Dubbed as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” Waimea Canyon is a must-visit destination on Kauai. Located in the western part of the island, this natural wonder stretches for 10 miles in length and reaches depths of up to 3,000 feet. The vibrant red, orange, and brown hues that paint the canyon walls offer a breathtaking sight that rivals its namesake in Arizona. Created by millions of years of erosion, Waimea Canyon has formed a stunning landscape that captivates visitors from around the world.
To fully appreciate the beauty of Waimea Canyon, be sure to visit its various scenic lookouts. These viewpoints provide panoramic vistas and photo opportunities that will leave you in awe. One of the most popular lookout points is the Waimea Canyon Lookout, which offers a commanding view of the canyon’s dramatic landscape. The Pu’u Hinahina Lookout provides a different perspective, showcasing the unique flora that thrives in this arid region. Be sure to stop by the Kalalau Lookout, which offers vistas of the Napali Coast in the distance, adding another layer of beauty to the already stunning scenery.
For those who wish to explore Waimea Canyon on foot, there are several hiking trails that allow you to get up close and personal with this natural wonder. The Canyon Trail provides a moderate hike that takes you deep into the heart of the canyon, allowing you to witness its majestic beauty from a different perspective. The Cliff Trail brings you along the canyon rim, offering sweeping views and opportunities to spot native birds. For a shorter hike with rewarding views, the Iliau Nature Loop takes you through a loop trail that showcases the unique plant life of the area. Whether you choose to hike or simply enjoy the scenic lookouts, Waimea Canyon is a must-see destination that will leave you in awe of nature’s grandeur.
Hike the Awa’awapuhi Trail
Rugged Coastline Views
If you’re a fan of breathtaking views and rugged coastal landscapes, the Awa’awapuhi Trail is a hiking experience you won’t want to miss. Located on the western side of Kauai, this trail offers some of the most spectacular scenery on the island. As you hike along the ridge, you’ll be treated to panoramic vistas of the Napali Coast, with its dramatic cliffs plunging into the turquoise waters below. The rugged coastline, dotted with sea caves and hidden beaches, creates an awe-inspiring backdrop that will take your breath away. Be sure to bring your camera to capture these stunning views and create lasting memories of your time on Kauai.
The Awa’awapuhi Trail is known for its spectacular scenery, which will make every step of the hike worthwhile. As you traverse through dense forests and lush vegetation, you’ll feel completely immersed in nature. The trail takes you to a lookout point that offers unmatched views of the Napali Coast, where you can witness the beauty of this natural wonder in all its glory. From the vibrant hues of the cliffs to the crashing waves against the shore, the scenery along the Awa’awapuhi Trail is nothing short of mesmerizing. It’s a hike that will leave you with a deep appreciation for the raw and untamed beauty of Kauai.
While the Awa’awapuhi Trail offers stunning views, it’s important to note that it is a moderately difficult hike. The trail is approximately 6 miles round trip and involves some steep inclines and descents. Proper hiking gear, including sturdy footwear and plenty of water, is essential for this hike. It’s recommended to start early in the morning to beat the midday heat and allow yourself ample time to enjoy the scenery along the trail. With a moderate level of fitness and a sense of adventure, you’ll be rewarded with some of the most breathtaking views on the island.
Explore with Off-Road/ATV Adventures
For those seeking an adrenaline-pumping adventure and an opportunity to explore Kauai’s rugged terrain, UTV/ATV rentals are the perfect choice. These off-road vehicles allow you to traverse through the island’s diverse landscapes, from muddy trails to rocky terrains. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, UTV/ATV rentals offer an exciting and immersive way to explore the hidden corners of Kauai. Renting a UTV/ATV gives you the freedom to chart your own course, allowing you to discover the island at your own pace.
Kauai boasts a variety of off-roading trails that cater to all skill levels. From scenic coastal trails to challenging off-road courses, there is something for everyone. Limahuli Stream is a popular choice, offering a thrilling ride through river crossings and lush green landscapes. Polihale State Park is another favorite, with its vast stretches of sandy beach and stunning views of the Napali Coast in the distance. No matter which trail you choose, off-roading on a UTV/ATV provides an exhilarating and unforgettable adventure.
If you prefer not to navigate the off-road trails on your own, guided UTV/ATV tours are available, providing a safe and informative experience. With a knowledgeable guide leading the way, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the island’s history, culture, and natural wonders. These tours often include stops at scenic viewpoints, allowing you to soak in the beauty of Kauai’s landscapes. Whether you choose to rent a UTV/ATV or join a guided tour, off-roading adventures are a thrilling way to explore the hidden gems of the island.
Thrill with a Zipline Experience
Various Zipline Options
If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush and a unique way to experience Kauai’s landscapes, a zipline tour is the perfect choice. Kauai offers a variety of zipline options, allowing you to soar through the air and enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the island’s natural beauty. Whether you’re ziplining high above the lush treetops or flying across scenic valleys, this exhilarating activity offers a perspective like no other. With different zipline courses available, ranging from gentle to more adventurous, you can choose the experience that suits your comfort level and desire for excitement.
Ziplining in Kauai takes you to some of the most stunning locations on the island, providing breathtaking views along the way. Fly across lush valleys, glide over cascading waterfalls, and witness the sheer beauty of Kauai’s landscapes from a unique vantage point. Some zipline courses even offer the opportunity to soar above the property that inspired the movie “Avatar,” adding an extra touch of magic to the experience. The combination of adrenaline and the awe-inspiring surroundings makes ziplining an unforgettable adventure on Kauai.
For thrill-seekers and adventure enthusiasts, ziplining offers an adrenaline rush like no other. As you zip through the air, supported by sturdy harnesses and cables, you’ll experience an exhilarating sense of freedom and excitement. The feeling of soaring above the ground and taking in the breathtaking views creates a rush of adrenaline that will leave you craving more. Ziplining is a fantastic way to step out of your comfort zone and embrace the adventure that Kauai has to offer.
Enjoy the Beauty of Hanalei Bay
Relaxing Beach Time
No visit to Kauai is complete without spending some time at Hanalei Bay. This beautiful crescent-shaped beach offers the perfect place to relax, soak up the sun, and enjoy the stunning surroundings. With its golden sand, turquoise waters, and lush mountains as a backdrop, Hanalei Bay is a true tropical paradise. Grab your beach towel, sunscreen, and a good book, and spend a leisurely day lounging on the beach. The laid-back atmosphere and gentle waves make Hanalei Bay the ideal spot for a tranquil beach day.
Swim and Sunbathe
Hanalei Bay is renowned for its calm and clear waters, making it an excellent spot for swimming and sunbathing. Whether you’re looking to cool off after a hike or simply want to take a refreshing dip, the bay offers safe and inviting waters. Don’t be surprised if you encounter sea turtles or dolphins while swimming—they often make appearances in this area. The golden sand provides the perfect place to bask in the warm Hawaiian sun and work on your tan. With its idyllic setting, Hanalei Bay is sure to become one of your favorite beach destinations.
If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, why not try your hand at surfing in Hanalei Bay? The gentle rolling waves at this beach make it an ideal spot for beginners to learn how to ride the waves. Local surf schools offer lessons for all experience levels, providing the opportunity to learn from knowledgeable instructors. Whether you’re a total beginner or looking to improve your skills, riding a wave in Hanalei Bay is an experience you won’t forget. So grab a surfboard, catch a wave, and feel the exhilaration of surfing in one of Hawaii’s most iconic surf spots.
As a local resident, I have had the privilege of experiencing some of the best activities that Kauai has to offer. From exploring the Nā Pali Coast by boat to hiking the Kalalau Trail, each activity has left a lasting impression on me. If I were to choose my top three recommendations from this list, they would be:
Exploring the Nā Pali Coast by boat: The sheer beauty and dramatic cliffs will take your breath away. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness this natural wonder from the perspective of the ocean.
Hiking the Awa’awapuhi Trail: The rugged coastline views along this trail are absolutely stunning. It’s a moderately difficult hike that rewards you with panoramic vistas of the Napali Coast.
Enjoying the beauty of Hanalei Bay: Take some time to relax on the sandy shores, swim in the calm waters, and maybe even try your hand at surfing. Hanalei Bay is a slice of paradise you won’t want to miss.
I am an affiliate of Amazon and Hawaii Activities, which means that some of the links provided may be affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend activities and products that I have personally experienced and believe in.
As a special offer to you, I have partnered with Hawaiiactivities.com to provide a 5% discount on most activities. Simply use the code ‘BKR2023’ at checkout to redeem this discount. Please note that not all activity providers accept this coupon code, so if it doesn’t work for one tour, try it for a different one. This discount code can help you save some money and make your time in Kauai even more enjoyable.
Now that you have a comprehensive list of the top 10 things to do in Kauai, it’s time to start planning your trip. Whether you choose to explore the Nā Pali Coast, take a helicopter tour, or hike through the breathtaking trails, Kauai promises a unique and unforgettable experience. So pack your bags, bring your sense of adventure, and get ready to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Garden Isle. Aloha!