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Things to do in Kauai

Things to do in  Kauai

Welcome to Kauai

Time has dramatically carved the landscape of Kauai, the northernmost and oldest of the main Hawaiian Islands. It has a more rural and intimate feel than neighboring Oahu, and still teems with authentic Hawaiian culture and heritage. Lush and enchanting, many of the aptly named Garden Isle’s natural wonders are seen only by air or water, and myriad tours and backcountry adventures abound. A first stop for many visitors is the western Na Pali Coast, where snorkel, kayak, and sunset sailing cruises navigate the waters beneath steep, brilliantly hued mountain ridges framing waterfalls and deep valleys. Some boat tours visit sea caves and nearby Niihau, the Forbidden Island, or ply the Pacific in search of spinner dolphins and migrating humpback whales. Back on land, coursing down trails on a mountain bike is an exhilarating way to explore Waimea Canyon—the Grand Canyon of the Pacific—and neighboring Koke'e State Park. Head east to the serene Wailua River for kayaking and hiking among fern grottos and hidden waterfalls. Down south, fly through the treetops on a Koloa zipline tour. And then, of course, there are Kauai’s heavenly beaches—Hanalei Bay and Spouting Horn are two of the island’s most scenic. Come evening, head to Luau Kalamaku for Hawaiian cuisine and Polynesian entertainment. And don’t be fooled by Kauai’s small size: There is a lot to do, so a multi-day tour may be the best way to see it all—or if you’re short on time, a helicopter tour reveals Kauai’s natural beauty from above.

Top 10 attractions in Kauai

#1
Hanalei Bay

Hanalei Bay

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Located on the north shore of Kauai, Hanalei Bay is one of the island’s most picturesque stretches of water. This crescent-shaped bay boasts over 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) of white sand beach backed by mountains, waterfalls, and laid-back towns and offers an array of watersports, including kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, and surfing.More
#2
Opaekaa Falls

Opaekaa Falls

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Kauai, is green, and Kauai is wet—and that's why it's so beautiful. Parts of the island receive over 400 inches of rainfall every year, and all that rain means the Garden Isle is dripping in dozens of waterfalls. While some of these waterfalls require trekking through mud just to gain a glimpse of their splendor, others ones such as Opaekaa Falls only require stepping out of the car. Tumbling just over 150 feet, Opaekaa Falls is a year-round waterfall that is guaranteed to be flowing. The falls usually feature two separate streams that splash their way down the cliff face, but after periods of especially heavy rain, the two falls can merge into a single, explosive cascade. Whatever the size, the best time to visit is usually in the late morning when the falls are bathed in sunlight—and if it happens to be cloudy day, the falls are so close and easily accessible it’s easy to pay another visit.More
#3
Kilohana Plantation

Kilohana Plantation

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A historic sugar plantation set in the Garden Isle's lush tropics, Kilohana Plantation is a hub for Hawaiian culture and history. Visit the estate—centered around a historic Tudor-style mansion—to see tropical orchards, take historic train rides, visit a rum distillery, sample restaurants, participate in a theatrical luau, and more.More
#4
Waimea Canyon

Waimea Canyon

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A geological kaleidoscope of reds and browns, Kauai’s impressive Waimea Canyon—at 14 miles (22.5 kilometers) long, one mile (1.6 kilometers) wide, and 3,600 feet (1,097 meters) deep—is Hawaii’s version of the Grand Canyon. In fact, some say Mark Twain was the first to lend it its nickname: the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Stop on its winding rim road for views of a far-below river, sheer drop-offs, spectacular views, excellent hiking, and waterfall-lined crevasses, all just a short way away from the Garden Isle’s legendary Na Pali Coast.More
#5
Wailua River

Wailua River

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Wailua River (Attraction - Kauai, USA)Protected by Wailua River State Park, the Wailua is the largest navigable river in the Hawaiian archipelago (a feature found only on the island of Kauai). As the 20-mile (32-kilometer) river meanders through a lush valley, it passes through jungle landscapes and past two notable waterfalls: Opaekaa Falls and Wailua Falls.More
#6
Anini Beach

Anini Beach

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A sprawling expanse of reef—1,600 feet at its widest and one of Hawaii’s longest spanning two miles—looms just off the thin strip of white sand at Anini Beach. Parrotfish, moray eels, trumpet fish, needlefish, pufferfish and much, much more color the clear waters, popping against the drab coral rock. A thin sandbar beyond the residential area on shore often hosts fishermen and waders searching for seashells within view of the lighthouse and offshore Island at Kilauea Point in the east.Despite steady winds that whip up light action for windsurfers that sometimes cruise its length, the coral acts as a protective barrier for the shallows making Anini one of the calmest and best snorkeling beaches on Kauai’s North Shore.More
#7
Na Pali Coast

Na Pali Coast

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With steep emerald cliffs, lush valleys, and remote cascading waterfalls, the Na Pali Coast is one of Hawaii’s most beautiful regions, and no visit to Kauai is complete without a visit to this magical coastline. There are only three ways to explore the Na Pali Coast—by air, by sea, and on foot—and each offers its own unique perspective.More
#8
Spouting Horn

Spouting Horn

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When the island of Kauai erupted from the sea between 4 and 5 million years ago, parts of the coastline were riddled with tubes where molten lava once flowed. One of those spots is the Spouting Horn on the island’s southern coast, where waves are channeled into the tube before violently erupting in a saltwater geyser over 50 feet in the air. Compared to other Hawaiian blowholes, what makes Kauai’s Spouting Horn unique is the guttural moan that precedes the powerful eruption. A second, smaller hole in the rocks funnels air as opposed to water, and the result is a sound that makes it seem like the rocks themselves are groaning. No wonder Hawaiians believed that amo’o was stuck inside of the rocks—a mischievous lizard of Polynesian lore that can still be heard to this day. Once finished admiring the geyser and feeling the ocean’s fury, peruse the homemade souvenir stalls erected by local vendors. Even if you don’t find that perfect give to bring back from your Hawaiian vacation, the locals are always a good source of friendly conversation.More
#9
Wailua Falls

Wailua Falls

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A prize of the Garden Isle, the dual curtains of Wailua Falls cascade into a glistening pool surrounded by lush tropical forests and—if you catch it at the right moment—dancing with rainbows. The picture-perfect falls got their fame when they were featured in the TV show “Fantasy Island” and they are now on the must-visit list of many Kaui vacationers.More
#10
Mt. Waialeale

Mt. Waialeale

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Be prepared for more colors of green than you’ve ever seen before in the area surrounding Kauai’s central Mt. Waialeale—it’s one of the wettest places on planet Earth, receiving more than 450 inches of rainfall each year. It’s dominating sheer green 5,066 cliff wall has also been called the Wall of Tears, for the many waterfalls that fill its crevices and stream down its face during frequent rains. And, if the setting looks familiar, that could be because it starred as the backdrop for opening scenes of the original 1992 Jurassic Park movie. To get to the base of Waialeale, and to the the Wailua River, you’ll have to take a 4x4 down the bumpy Wailua Forestry Management Road and then trek in. Alternatively, several helicopter tours take you much closer to its cliff face—and its waterfalls—than you could easily get to on a hike.More

Trip ideas

Top Hiking Trails on Kauai

Top Hiking Trails on Kauai

How to Get Off the Beaten Path on Kauai

How to Get Off the Beaten Path on Kauai

Best Beaches on Kauai

Best Beaches on Kauai

Top activities in Kauai

LUCKY LADY - Deluxe Na Pali Morning Snorkel Tour
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Na Pali Sunset & Sightsee Boat Tour
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Kauai ATV Waterfall Tour
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Kauai ATV Waterfall Tour

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$162.30
Koloa Zipline

Koloa Zipline

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$166.43
Entire Kauai Island Air Tour

Entire Kauai Island Air Tour

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$145.00
Deluxe Waterfall Safari
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Deluxe Waterfall Safari

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$289.00
Leila Na Pali Sunset Dinner Sail

Leila Na Pali Sunset Dinner Sail

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$183.35
Ultimate Kauai Adventure

Ultimate Kauai Adventure

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$309.00
Kayaking and Adventure Tour

Kayaking and Adventure Tour

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$139.00

Recent reviews from experiences in Kauai

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An amazing day
Amanda_H, Jul 2021
LUCKY LADY - Deluxe Na Pali Sunset Snorkel Tour
Crew was fantastic and we really got to see the beauty of Kauai!
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Amazing day!
CHRIS_H, Jul 2021
LUCKY LADY - Deluxe Na Pali Morning Snorkel Tour
We were lucky to see a huge pod of spinner dolphins!
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Fabulous trip!
Sheila_R, Jul 2021
Amazing Air Kauai Helicopter Tour
It was easy easy to see wherever you sat in the helicopter.
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Amazing!
Olivia_M, Jul 2021
Deluxe Waterfall Safari
Seen great views of Kauai and all the amazing waterfalls.
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Wow! Breathtaking!
Perry_H, Jul 2021
Amazing Air Kauai Helicopter Tour
Got to see all of the island.
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A fantastic way to see Kauai
Katrina_H, Jul 2021
Best of Kauai Tour by Land, River and Optional Air
We didn’t have a car, so this was a great way to see the island with hotel pick-up included.
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Best day ever
Samantha_C, Jul 2021
Koloa Zipline
Give great recommendations for food and places to visit.
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Fantastic crew and tour!
Amy_M, Jul 2021
Na Pali Sunset & Sightsee Boat Tour
The captain took us to a great waterfall sight and gave us all a great experience we will never forget.
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Awesome!
Sarah_W, Jul 2021
Kauai ECO Adventure Helicopter Tour
Totally amazing trip, enjoyed viewing so many waterfalls, the Napali Coast, & so much more; the pilot was awesome as well, he has so many years of experience, so worth it.
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Secret Kauai is really a secret 🤪
Rosella_C, Jun 2021
Secret Kauai Tour
Simon the tour guide gave us a lot of information about the flora, animals, where to find attractions that are not easy finds - location of Green Turtles, tortoises and hanging out places of turtles.
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Breath taking experience.
Stacy_W, Jun 2021
Na Pali Sunset & Sightsee Boat Tour
Holo Holo Charters is a great company to go with when booking a sunset cruise to see the NaPali coast.
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Fabulous!
Laura_L, Jun 2021
Kauai ECO Adventure Helicopter Tour
What a beautiful way to see Kauai!
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Experience Like No Other
Cody_C, May 2021
RAFT ADVENTURE - Na Pali 1/2 Day Snorkel
It is perfect for adventurous people that want to see the island up close and personal.
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Great!!!
Tania, Apr 2021
Wailua River Kayak and Sacred Fall Hike Adventure
It was a beautiful Waterfall at the end of the hike.
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Amazing adventure!
Sharon_G, Apr 2021
Wailua River Kayak and Sacred Fall Hike Adventure
Prefect hike to a beautiful waterfall and the kayaking was great!
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Incredible trip!!
Cathy, Jul 2021
RAFT ADVENTURE - Na Pali 1/2 Day Snorkel
There would be no other way to see this part of Kauai for us.
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Best Paddle board and hike
Navin, Jul 2021
Secret Waterfall Paddle Board Adventure with photos
The place is amazing with lush green vegitation, the secret waterfall was worth the hike.
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Amazing Private Tour!
Sylvia_M, Jul 2021
Kauai Private Tour : Waimea Canyon and Southside
Our tour guide/driver Bobby made the tour memorable and extra special by making sure we got to see the best views and was very patient with us in making sure we captured these special moments on camera with his sophisticated photography skills!
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Breathtaking- at a loss for words
Stephen_V, Jul 2021
Epic Air Kauai Helicopter Tour
We got to see the whole island in 1 hour, and the highlight for us was flying deep into the Waimea Canyon and into the Na'Pali coastline to experience them in a way you just can't from a lookout.
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Exceptional Adventure!
Debbie_T, Jul 2021
Kayaking and Adventure Tour
I’d highly recommend renting an SUV for your entire visit to Kauai; lots of outdoors activities with some treacherous roads.
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