We have fallen in love with Kauai’s lush beauty, dramatic landscapes, endless adventures and charming towns, and we know that they will beckon you back year after year. To give you a head start, we have compiled our top 10 ten things to do, see and taste only offered on the one and only Garden Isle.
- Learn to paddle surf in the gentle waves of Kalapaki Bay
Stand up paddle surfing is taking the world by storm and there is no better place to try it than on Kalapaki Bay. Fifty yards wide and a quarter mile long, Kalapaki is a natural harbor that provides surf for a variety of levels. Stand up paddle surfing, or in the Hawaiian language Hoe he'e nalu, is an emerging sport with a Hawaiian heritage. Once you get your balance, enjoy a smooth ride onto shore. Take lessons and rent gear from Kauai Beach Boys for the best experience.
- Kayak the Wailua River to Secret Falls
The island of Kauai has the only navigable rivers in all of Hawaii. The most popular is the tranquil Wailua River which weaves through gorgeous waterfalls and lush, jungle landscapes along the island’s east side. Kayak tours take you up river to a hike that leads you to the magnificent 120ʻ Secret Falls, where you can swim in the natural pool below the falls.
- Take in the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” from the Waimea Canyon Lookout
This geological wonder stretches 14 miles long, one mile wide and more than 3,600 feet deep. Enjoy panoramic views of crested buttes, rugged crags and deep valley gorges reminiscent of Arizona but surrounded by the blue waters of the Pacific.
- Zipline through Koloa Ranch
Explore the incredible beauty of Kauai as you glide above the treetops on 22,000 acres of Hawaii’s first sugar plantation. We recommend Koloa Zipline because they have the longest course on island with multiple harness options and sunset tours.
- Order the incredible Ahi Tuna Wrap at Mermaids Café
This adorable food shack serves the best lunch on island. Our favorite is the Ahi Wrap with fresh caught tuna, housemade cilantro pesto, nori, brown rice, ginger and wasabi cream. Need we say more?
- Boogie board like a local at Running Waters Beach
This secret spot is simply stunning with lava cliffs, a gentle sandy slope (perfect for sunbathing) and unobstructed views of Ninini Point Lighthouse. It’s an ideal beach to watch the locals boogie through the waves, or jump in and join them!
- Tour the breathtaking Na Pali Coast by helicopter
With much of the island’s lush wilderness inaccessible by car, an aerial tour is the most breathtaking way to fully experience Kauai’s famed Napali Coast. Na Pali means “the Cliffs,” which drop 4,000 feet straight down into the ocean. You’ll see why many movies have chosen to be filmed there including Jurassic Park and King Kong.
- Hike the storied Kalalau Trail
The most revered hike on Kauai, the Kalalau Trail is an 11-mile trek into paradise. An array of valleys, waterfalls and dramatic ocean views will leave you in awe. A popular day hike is just two miles, which takes you to the beautiful shores of Hanakapiai Beach.
- Seek out a Kauai White Pineapple at one of the island’s many Farmers Markets
Otherwise known as the Sugarloaf Pineapple, this exotic pineapple has a creamy white flesh that is exceptionally sweet and very low in acid.
- Taste every flavor of shave ice
After a day in the sunshine, nothing is more refreshing than a heaping cup of fresh fruit shave ice, Hawaii’s signature treat. Using fresh, organic local produce, Fresh Shave has achieved the best of both worlds – a delectable treat that is also good for you. We recommend the Coconut Lime.