Five Adventures to Spice Up Your Hawaiian Vacation

We have a guest post today written by Donna Hull — a baby boomer travel expert. Donna shares her ideas for adventurous activities for Kauai and the Big Island. 

Is lounging on a beach to the soothing sounds of the surf crashing onto shore your idea of a Hawaiian vacation? Or, perhaps you picture yourself sipping a tropical drink as the sun dips into the Pacific Ocean on a warm, tropical night ripe with the fragrance of plumeria blooms. Although rest and relaxation are an important part of a trip to Hawaii, too much of a good thing makes for a dull trip. Why not try one of these five adventures to spice up your Hawaiian vacation?

Do it all on Kauai

You literally can do it all, or almost, on a combination paddling, hiking and ziplining adventure with Outfitters Kauai. The day begins with a 2-mile paddle up the Hule’ia River followed by a hike to a waterfall and swimming hole. Want to swing like Tarzan into the water? Here’s your chance. Later, zip above the forest canopy on a tandem zipline, or go solo. You’ll be ready to relax on the motorized canoe ride back to the starting point.

Your ride to paddling, hiking and ziplining adventure on Kauai

Experiencing the wildly scenic Na’pali coast is a challenge. You can do it the hard way by backpacking on a rugged multi-day hike or choose the easy way and book a catamaran cruise with Kauai Sea Tours. The day begins at 7 a.m. with an onboard breakfast of pastries and coffee while the catamaran leaves Port Alan, in Eleele on Kauai’s West coast. As the boat slips by sugar cane plantations and remote beaches, the Captain talks about the area’s history and culture. Spinner dolphins are your unofficial escort to the rugged Na Pali cliffs, sea caves and hanging valleys. The half-day trip includes a snorkeling stop and lunch. Reward yourself with a complimentary mai tai on the ride back to port.

A great way to see the Na’pali cliffs on Kauai is from the water.

Who knew that learning about history could be so much fun? But, that’s what you’ll discover on a tubing excursion with Kauai Backcountry Adventures. As your innertube spins and twirls down an old irrigation canal, learn about the history of the former sugar plantation. Kauai Backcountry Adventures provides transportation, guides, equipment—including a hard hat with headlamp plus gloves—and lunch. Why do you need a headlamp? Have you ever floated through a tunnel? You’re going to squeal.

Adventures on the Big Island

How many times has horseback riding been a part of your Hawaiian vacation? On a Waipi’o Horseback Adventure with Naalapa Stables, explore a remote valley on the Big Island’s northern Hamakua coast. The two-hour ride introduces Hawaiian history, fauna and culture as you ride beside taro patches while learning about the 1946 tidal wave that wiped out life in the valley. Wild horses, waterfalls and riding horseback through a river—what more could you want?

Discovering the isolated Waip’io Valley by horseback

Combining a zodiac ride to watch for sea life with snorkeling at Kealakekua Bay is one thrilling Big Island adventure. The Captain Zodiac tour begins at the pier in Kona. Take a seat on the side of the zodiac, hold onto the rope and prepare yourself for a fun, bumpy ride that might include whale sightings, or perhaps a hammerhead shark. At Kealakekua Bay, discover a Marine Life Conservation District that protects a coral reef so alive with colorful sea life that the captain will have to drag you out of the water for the ride back to Kona. On the way, the zodiac travels close to the shore for views of lava tubes and sea caves.

After zipping, tubing, horseback riding and snorkeling through Hawaii, you’ll be ready for rest and relaxation on the beach. Now where’s that mai tai?

Boomer travel and lifestyle authority Donna Hull is the author of My Itchy Travel Feet: Breathtaking Adventure Vacation Ideas. She also publishes My Itchy Travel Feet, the baby boomer’s guide to travel, the go-to site for active boomer travel.


  1. We did the all day tour with Outfitter Kauai and had a great time. We paddled from the Lihue area, then hiked, road the tractor, ate, zip lined, swam, hiked some more and then back to Lihue area by boat. Our guides talked about the things we saw in the forest, how coffee made it to Kauai, identified birds, plants and trees. They were also very good with kids. I have recommended them to friends.

  2. I want to do ALL of these! I have heard about the tubing, but the other ones are new to me. We hope to go back to Hawaii and I definitely will put these on our to-do list

  3. This trip sounds awesome. We visited Hawaii once when I was a baby and my husband and I was hoping to go back for our 25th. Maybe our 30th!

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