Kauai is not one of those decadent resort areas where guests lay around on the beach and get fat. While Kauai does have plenty of beaches, this rugged rural island is meant for people who are willing to sweat and get dirty to see the sights. In fact, most tours involve getting wet, riding a horse or sliding on a zip line above the jungle. Kayak Adventuresand the Princeville Ranch Adventuresare two of the highest rated sight-seeing venues for thrill-seekers in Kauai.
Kauai is home to a lot of farms and plantations, so agriculture enthusiasts will love some of the special venues on this island. The Kauai Kunana Dairy Farm Tour includes a breakfast and refreshments as well as sampling of the farm's cheeses and fruits. Grove Farm Homestead is a former sugar cane plantation that is now open to the public as a historical venue. You can peruse the lovely gardens and tour the old family mansion and servants’ quarters. If you want to add a little shopping in the mix, stop by the Coconut Plantation Market Place or Anahola Farmers Marketto pick up some Luau supplies or load up on local wares and produce.
Kauai Top 10
10. Kauai Coffee Company offers a tour of its vast coffee plantation, and visitors receive fresh samples of favourite local blends.
5. National Tropical Botanical Gardens is a must-see for anyone who enjoys nature's most delicate and intriguing flora.
9. The Complete History of America (Abridged) is a comedic dinner theatre production and American History lesson wrapped up in one hilarious package.
4. The Kilauea Point Lighthouse and Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge offer stunning views of the ocean and Kauai’s landscape as well as an opportunity to enjoy wildlife.
8. Opaekaa Falls is another set of waterfalls with a splendid view for tourists. This fall is easy to access even for handicapped guests.
3. Lydgate State Park is a great place to take the whole family for swimming and outdoor playtime or a casual picnic in Kauai.
7. Wailua Falls are lovely natural landmarks in Kauai located in a slightly remote area. While the viewing stations are limited, the scenery is breathtaking and picture-perfect.
2. Waimea Canyon is said to rival the Grand Canyon with its colour palette, which is enhanced with greenery that you would not see in the Arizona desert.
6. Huleia National Wildlife Refuge is a wonderful site that you can access by hiking or boating.
1. Na Pali coast was the setting for the blockbuster Jurassic Park, but do not be afraid to venture out to this uninhabited paradise to enjoy Kauai’s pristine beaches.
- Grove Farm Homestead – Once a real plantation, now an historic site to visit.
- Kilohana Plantation – This sugar plantation dates back to the 1930s.
- Kilauea Lighthouse – A historic lighthouse popular with birdwatchers.
- Waioli Mission House – Built by missionaries in 1837 behind the Waioli church.
- Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park – Ruins of the fort built by Russians in the 19th century.
Kauai Art & Culture
- Luau Kalamaku – Hawaiian culture is symbolised by luaus such as this.
- The Complete History of America: Abridged – A comedy that first ran in London.
- McMaster Slack Key Concerts – You will both be entertained as you learn the history of the slack key and the ukulele.
- Kauai Community Players – A little theatre group in Kauai.
- Evolve Love Artists Gallery of Kauai – This is a small gallery of local artists.
- Kapaia Stitchery – This is a shop for quilters and sewers, but they will take your measurements and make you something to order.
- Mermaid Crossing – This is a quaint gift shop that has something for everyone on your list.
- Poipu Shopping Village – A great mall that features a dancing show on Tuesdays.
- Coconut Marketplace – A mall where you can grab a sandwich and do a little shopping.
- Yellow Fish Trading Company – This is an antique shop specializing in Hawaiian-made items.
Gay & Lesbian Kauai
- Anuenue B&B – This is a gay-owned bed and breakfast that caters to gay couples.
- Donkey Beach – Although there are ant-nudity laws, this is often a nude beach.
- Kauapea Beach – Known as the secret beach because it is a little difficult to access.
- Aloha Ever After – This is a gay-friendly wedding photographer to preserve your memories.
- The Pointe Bar – This is a great place to get a drink and watch the sunset.
- Na Pali Coast – The amazing coastline where you can swim, hike and see how the volcanoes have shaped the islands.
- Kalalau Trail – This is a scenic hiking trail that will give you a real workout.
- Waimea Canyon – This has been called the Grand Canyon of Hawaii.
- Hanakapiai Falls – A steep hike, but well rewarded with a view of the breathtaking falls.
- Tunnels Beach – This beach is known for being a great place to go snorkelling.
- Surfing is the sport created in Hawaii, and there are plenty of places that will teach you.
- Horseback riding is wonderful in the beautiful scenery of Kauai, and there are many stables that will organise a tour or give lessons.
- Hiking is one of the top things to do on Kauai.
- Kayaking beyond the waves is an exhilarating time.
- Diving and snorkelling are enormously popular here, with as much to see under the waves as there is on the island.
Garden Island Range and Food Festival features gourmet chefs who prepare delicacies from the produce and locally raised meats of Kauai.
Festival of Lights is abrilliant holiday tradition that includes a number of holiday decorating venues all over Kauai throughout the month of December.
Kauai natives celebrate their Polynesian heritage during the annual Coconut Festival in October. Everything featured in this festival has a coconut or Polynesian theme, including the food, entertainment and crafts.
Kauai Aloha Festival, which takes place in September, is one of the best events to experience traditional Hawaiian music, dance and storytelling.
The Kauai Marathon is a sporting event that takes place on the beautiful white Hawaiian sands. The marathon is held in September and proceeds will benefit local nonprofits dedicated to nature preservation.
The Point At Poipu is a bike ride that is organized each year to help raise money and awareness for HIV and AIDS research. It is not a race; it is a two-day self-paced nature ride.
Heiva I Kaua`i Ia Orana Tahiti is a two-day celebration of Tahitian culture that takes place in August in Kauai. Guests enjoy live entertainment, food and craft booths. Music and hula dancing are the main entertainment.
Koloa Plantation Days offer more than 20 family-friendly events that take place on Kauai during the last nine days of July. You can learn a great deal about Hawaiian history and culture, and enjoy food, hula performances, locally brewed beers, and music during this event.
The Hawaii Ocean Film Festival takes place in Kauai during July. The festival features films about oceanography, marine life, and cultural and entertainment themes related to the sea.
Kauai Music Festival is a four-day tribute to the musical arts complete with concerts, a songwriter's conference, and numerous informal workshops.
When to Go
Kauai has tropical weather, so all of the seasons are warm, although winter is a little cooler. The area is very wet as it is a swampland and rainforest.
Typical high temperatures in the summer are in the 80s F (mid-20s C), and they drop only a few degrees into the high 70s F (lower-mid 20s C) in winter.
It rains a lot on Kauai, and the average annual rainfall is more than 400 inches (1,000cm).
Lihue Airport is the main hub for flights to Kauai. Many major US and foreign airlines provide service to this airport. Taxis and shuttles are available to provide transport to your hotel.
Most people prefer to drive a rental car while staying in Kauai since this is a more rural island. There are two main highways, and both begin in Lihue. Route 50, named Kaumualii Highway, runs west, while Kuhio Highway, or route 56, runs north.
Tour buses are available in Kauai to provide transportation to main sights of interest, and there are taxis available in town as well.
The fertile, volcanic island of Kauai contains some of the most awesome scenery not just in Hawaii, but the world. From lush pastures of sugarcane and taro to fiery mountaintops, colossal canyons and rugged coastline, Kauai is magnificent. While you could conceivably spend all your time on the beach - Kauai has no less than 68 of them - no visit to Hawaii is complete without a foray into the myriad state parks that make up much of the islands.
Kauai has several to offer, the most notable of which are Na Pali Coast State Park and Waimea Canyon State Park. Nā Pali shelters pristine Kalalau Valley, home to splendid biodiversity, and starts from beautiful Ke'e Beach. The formation of remarkable Waimea Canyon is the result of incessant rainfall and seismic activity from the shield volcano Mount Wai'ale'ale over the course of eons. Like ever other sight on the island Kauai, it takes the breath away and has a permanent impact on visitors.
Attractions & Activities
Restaurant & Nightlife
The weather in Kauai is tropical and can shift dramatically from one region on the island to the next. The winter months comprise the rainy season and for the year, temperatures hover between 18°C and 29°C.
Hawaii - Kauai official guide