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Best Things To Do in Kauai

The Garden Island offers an endless amount of outdoor activity, whether you're looking to hike, kayak, swim or relax on the beach. By and far the most popular attraction on the island is the one-of-a-kind Napali Coast, which is best seen on foot hiking the infamous Kalalau Trail or trekking the edges of Koke’e State Park. If you're looking for a little less adventure, consider visiting the lower-impact Wailua River State Park or taking a dip in the calm waters of Po’ipu or Kalapaki Beach. Those more interested in the underwater scenery will be in awe of the views from Hanalei Bay, Ke’e Beach or Tunnels Beach, the latter of which is considered one of the top spots for snorkeling on the island. 

How we rank Things to Do

Updated May 4, 2018

  • #1
    Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Park
    View all Photos
    #1 in Kauai
    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Waimea Canyon, aptly nicknamed the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific," should be at the top of every traveler's itinerary. This 14-mile-long, mile-wide and approximately 3,600-feet deep gorge is awash with spectacular scenery difficult to find elsewhere on the Hawaiian islands. Here, you'll find craggy red cliffsides and crested buttes blanketed

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  • #2
    Napali Coast
    View all Photos
    #2 in Kauai
    Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Napali coast is a 17-mile expanse of rocky, steep, but oh-so-gorgeous series of cliffs that stretch along Kauai's northwest shore. Travelers agree there's no better way to experience Kauai's natural beauty and eye-catching terrain than at Napali, so you should make plans to marvel at it –  either on foot,

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  • #3
    Polihale State Park
    View all Photos
    #3 in Kauai
    Beaches, Natural Wonders, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Natural Wonders, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Located on Kauai's west coast, Polihale State Park is the last beach before theNapali Coastbegins. On the northern tip of the beach, you can enjoy an eyeful of the edge of Napali's cliffs, and south of that, you'll have a whopping 17 miles of shore all to yourself. Because the

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  • #4
    Ke'e Beach
    View all Photos
    #4 in Kauai
    Beaches, Natural Wonders, Recreation, Swimming/Pools, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Natural Wonders, Recreation, Swimming/Pools, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Along withPolihale State Park, Ke'e Beach is the safest beach to access for prime Napali views. Ke'e Beach is conveniently situated at the Kalalau trailhead, offering beachgoers sweeping views of the Napali cliffs from the comfort of the sand instead of the muddy Kalalau Trail. Unlike Polihale State Park, there

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  • #5
    Tunnels Beach
    View all Photos
    #5 in Kauai
    Natural Wonders, Swimming/Pools, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Natural Wonders, Swimming/Pools, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you're looking for a great place to snorkel in Kauai, head to Tunnels Beach. Tunnels Beach is located on the north shore of Kauai in Wainiha, about 2 miles east of the Kalalau Trail and 9 miles west of Princeville. The beach offers an expansive reef that is suitable

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  • #6
    Kalapaki Beach
    View all Photos
    #6 in Kauai
    Beaches, Swimming/Pools, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Swimming/Pools, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Despite its close proximity to the airport, cruise port and multiplehotels, travelers maintain Kalapaki Beach is a relaxing spot. The beach is located on the west side of the island in Lihue, an area known for friendlier swimming conditions and easy access to amenities. Kalapaki is an especially swimmer-friendly shoreline

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  • #7
    Po'ipu Beach
    View all Photos
    #7 in Kauai
    Beaches, Swimming/Pools, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Swimming/Pools, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Po'ipu Beach is considered one of the most popular beaches in Kauai. This small shoreline situated on the southern shore of the island appeals to many types of beachgoers thanks to its golden sands, calm waters and convenient location in the heart of the Po'ipu resort area. Here, sun seekers

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  • #8
    Hanalei Bay
    View all Photos
    #8 in Kauai
    Beaches, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Hanalei Bay is located about 4 miles southwest of Princeville, one of the island's premierresort areas. Hanalei Bay is composed of three different beaches: Waioli Beach Park, Hanalei Beach Park and Black Pot Beach, the latter of which is sandwiched between the historic Hanalei Pier and the mouth of the Hanalei

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  • #9
    Wailua River State Park
    View all Photos
    #9 in Kauai
    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you want to experience Kauai's majestic rainforests without breaking too much of a sweat, then you'll want to add Wailua River State Park to your itinerary. This park is home to the only navigable river in Hawaii, allowing visitors to get an eyeful of the lush valley on a

    ...Read More »

Explore More of Kauai

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