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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
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
#2
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
#3
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
#4
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
#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
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
#7
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
#8
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
#9
Kalalau Lookout

Kalalau Lookout

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The Napali Coast tops nearly everyone’s Kauai bucketlists with its sheer green undulating cliffs dropping directly into cerulean waters. The Kalalau Trail takes you back in and along Napali’s Valleys for 11 miles down to the beach and back up and out for another 11—a trip that takes most people at least two days to complete. Not for everyone. Enter the Kalalau Lookout, an easily accessible vantage from which to take in the deep expanse of Napali’s most recognizable Kalalau Valley and get a taste of Napali from land without all of the hiking. Sitting at an elevation of 4,000 feet, the lookout is perfectly positioned to take in the full two-mile-across valley and the ocean beyond.More
#10
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

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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RAFT ADVENTURE - Na Pali 1/2 Day Snorkel
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Kauai ATV Waterfall Tour
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Kauai ATV Waterfall Tour

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Private Kauai Helicopter Tour with No Middle Seats
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Entire Kauai Island Air Tour
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Entire Kauai Island Air Tour

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Koloa Zipline
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Koloa Zipline

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Kauai's Ultimate Guided Shore Snorkeling Adventure
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Deluxe Waterfall Safari

Deluxe Waterfall Safari

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Kayaking and Adventure Tour

Kayaking and Adventure Tour

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Luau Kalamaku with Plantation Owner's Dinner and Champagne Reception
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Kauai's Ultimate Whale & Dolphin Zodiac Boat Adventure
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Leila Na Pali Sunset Dinner Sail

Leila Na Pali Sunset Dinner Sail

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Kauai's Ultimate South Island Zodiac Boat Snorkel Adventure
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Ultimate Kauai Adventure

Ultimate Kauai Adventure

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Ni'ihau and Na Pali Coast Snorkel Boat Tour
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Half-Day Kayak and Waterfall Hike Tour in Kauai with Lunch
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Guided Kayak Adventure on the Wailua River
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Recent reviews from experiences in Kauai

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Love this experience!
Jamie_H, Nov 2021
Wailua River Kayak and Sacred Fall Hike Adventure
The Kayaking was great, the hike (more like a trek to the waterfall) was amazing and our tour guide Mike was so knowledgeable about the plants, animals, and history of Kauai.
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Not so secret falls - go early!
Cynthia_G, Nov 2021
Half-Day Kayak and Waterfall Hike Tour in Kauai with Lunch
The river was lovely to kayak, the hike was fun through the forest and the falls were spectacular.
star-5
Brian was very...
Laura_E, Nov 2021
Wailua River and Secret Falls Kayak and Hiking Tour
Have you stood behind a waterfall in a rain forest?
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Great way to see the island
George_G, Nov 2021
Kauai ECO Adventure Helicopter Tour
Live the Jurassic Park experience, see the waterfalls, and all of Kauai!
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Amazing Adventure! Best Way To See Kauai!
TayyabQasmi, Nov 2021
RAFT ADVENTURE - Na Pali 1/2 Day Snorkel
Best way to see Kauai :)
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So worth it!
Emily_B, Nov 2021
Epic Air Kauai Helicopter Tour
The only way to see the true beauty of Kauai without backpacking.
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Great dive
Jessica_D, Nov 2021
Kauai's Ultimate South Shore 2 Tank Dive (Certified Divers Only)
The shore dive is a prefect way to see some of Hawaii's wildlife without a long excursion.
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Unforgettable Experience
Joshua_K, Oct 2021
Wailua River and Secret Falls Kayak and Hiking Tour
Our guide Brian was amazing, swimming in the waterfall after a great hike was unforgettable.
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Recommended Activity
Bryan_H, Oct 2021
Wailua River Kayak and Sacred Fall Hike Adventure
The kayaking and hike were a great mix of activities.
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Spectacular trip
M_M, Oct 2021
RAFT ADVENTURE - Na Pali 1/2 Day Snorkel
Waterfalls, sea caves, beautiful coast line, mountains/cliffs, dolphins, turtles.
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Awesome excursion
Heidi_C, Oct 2021
South & East Kauai - History-Legends & Waterfalls - 6 hrs.
If you’re looking to see Kauai and have no car this is way to go our tour guide was Excellent Highly recommend.
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The Most Fun We Had all Week
Rodney_P, Oct 2021
Kauai ATV Waterfall Tour
The ATVs themselves were awesome and everyone laughed and screamed our way through a muddy and wild roundtrip to the secluded waterfall.
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A Perfect, Relaxing Afternoon
Michelle_O, Oct 2021
Na Pali Sunset & Sightsee Boat Tour
This is the perfect choice to see the Na Pali coastline!
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Dirty fun!!!!
Sullivans, Oct 2021
Kauai ATV Waterfall Tour
The waterfall is beautiful with lots of time to enjoy the surrounding beauty.
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Best way to see all of Kauai!
Lauren_H, Oct 2021
Amazing Air Kauai Helicopter Tour
Our pilot, Kelby, was amazing, had excellent taste in music, and ensured we all were able to see the views!
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We were able to see some...
Callie_W, Oct 2021
Secret Kauai Tour
We were able to see some cool spots that we wouldn’t have known about without our guide DJ.
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Amazing!
Meghan_F, Oct 2021
Guided Kayak Adventure on the Wailua River
Beautiful views from the river and the waterfall.
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Best way to see the whole island
Taylor_L, Sep 2021
Deluxe Waterfall Safari
If you come to kauai, this is the best way to see the whole island!
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The crew were excellent. ...
Nancy_H, Sep 2021
Na Pali Sunset & Sightsee Boat Tour
Very knowledgeable about Kauai, history, activities and they all are professional in all tbey do.
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Awesome journey and destination
Ronald_J, Sep 2021
Guided Kayak Adventure on the Wailua River
The falls were spectacular if not a little cold.
Frequently Asked Questions
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