Kauai – What to Do & See

You don’t have to break the bank to enjoy a Kauai vacation. Kauai has some of the best free sights and things to do in Hawaii, so make sure you read my article that lists the best Kauai budget activities and sights – with suggestions for all the top Kauai sightseeing spots. By following that list and throwing in some beach or pool time, you’ll definitely catch some of the best scenery and have a great Kauai vacation. Also, see our recommended itinerary for one-week on Kauai.

Of course, there’s more to do beyond that list of Kauai budget friendly activities. What else is there to do beyond enjoying the sights or relaxing on a beautiful Kauai beach? Here are many more ideas for enjoying Kauai:

Na Pali Coast
View of Na Pali Coast From a Boat Tour

– Helicopter Tour of the island– Kauai is the best Hawaiian Island, in our opinion, for taking a Helicopter Tour.  See my tips for choosing a Helicopter tour in Hawaii along with our review of Safari Helicopters and a guest review of Blue Hawaiian Helicopters. To get an idea of what you’ll see from a helicopter tour of Kauai, see a virtual Kauai island tour.

– See the amazing marine life around Kauai by snorkeling, scuba diving or trying snuba. Consider taking a sight-seeing and snorkel trip to the Na Pali Coast. Conditions permitting there are several great beaches with good snorkeling. For some snorkeling tips see suggestions from our friends at Tropical Snorkeling.

– Golf at one of the many top notch courses with beautiful Kauai scenery.

– Kayak – Kauai is unique within the Hawaiian Islands in that if offers river kayaking as well as sea kayaking. One of our favorite kayaking excursions it the relatively easy paddling up the Wailua River to see Secret/Sacred Falls. The Hanalei River is also good for kayaking. For the experienced kayaker the Na Pali Coastline (in season) may be one of the greatest sea kayaking adventures on earth.

– Tubing down an irrigation ditch in Kauai is great fun. See our review of this mountain tubing activity.

– Ziplining – Kauai has several zipline companies. See my review of Princeville Ranch Zip ‘n Dip Tour. Also read my advice for ziplining in Hawaii

– Pamper at a spa. We haven’t tried many spas in Kauai, but we really enjoyed our visit to Anara at the Grand Hyatt Kauai resort in Poipu.

– Sample Hawaiian food and see a Polynesian dance show at a Kauai Luau. If a luau is not in your budget, catch a free Polynesian dance show.

– Take a Boat Tour – the Fern Grotto and the Na Pali Coast are popular boat tours. See our review of Na Pali Coast Sunset Sail with Blue Dolphin Charters

– Go humpback whale watching during the peak months of January through March. (Tip: note that some Na Pali Coast tours for snorkeling and sunset can essentially double as a whale watching tour.)

– See one of the many reasons Kauai is called the Garden Isle by touring a National Tropical Botanical Garden. Kauai is home to three NTB gardens. We’ve toured the Allerton Garden near Poipu.

– Take an ATV tour into Kauai’s back roads and paths. We’ve taken an ATV tour with Kauai ATV.

– Go horseback riding.

– Go biking. There’s a nice, relatively level oceanside path for walking and biking in Kapaa. For a more thrilling ride, take a downhill bike tour of Waimea Canyon.

– Hiking – our two favorite Kauai hikes are the Kalalau Trail and the Waimea Cliff/Canyon Trail.

– Take a tour to see famous movie and television settings filmed on Kauai.

– Taste Kauai-grown coffee and tour the farm at Kauai Coffee Company.

– Visit a farmers market to taste local produce and try tasty treats.

Go  back to the main page of the  Kauai Vacation Guide.

  1. paul murdoch says:

    please send us your magazine

    1. Sheila Beal says:

      Paul – we don’t offer a magazine.

  2. Did you rent a car during your stay to go to do activities? Would you recommend renting a vehicle?

  3. Where is there hand gliding?

    1. Sheila Beal says:

      We are not aware of hand gliding tours on Kauai. There are tours on Oahu, though.

  4. I would like to do an overnight sea kayak on the nepali coast with my daughter in a double kayak. can you recommend an outfitter that could set us up with equipment/permits (if needed)? Potentially would have guide with us…need to learn a bit more about conditions.


    1. Sheila Beal says:

      We have only heard of same-day sea kayak tours of the NaPali Coast. Perhaps check with Kayak Kauai, who was the first company to create these tours.

  5. Aaron Leininger says:

    Do you have any type of kid friendly tour suggestions on Kauai? (6 y.o.)

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