Things to Do in Hawaii-Kauai
||Daytime temperatures range from the mid-70s to mid-80s, slightly warmer in the summer. The northeast trade winds provide refreshing breezes, rain usually falls only during the evening and early morning hours.
Kauai has a lush, rural feel and a laid-back lifestyle all its own. After all, Kauai is Hawaii's oldest island and, as first-born, has a legacy of paradise to uphold. And what a paradise! A trip around Kauai is a feast of green, tropical forest, cascading waterfalls, golden sand beaches and the time of your life. Your circumnavigation will be interrupted by one of the world's greatest natural wonders, the Napali Coast. Don't be daunted. Take to boat or helicopter to witness its 14 miles of vertical seamounts falling into a necklace of white surf spray. Your heart will skip a beat. Kauai does that to you over and over again. Welcome to Kauai - Hawaii's Island of Discovery.
Before dashing off to experience everything there is to do on Kauai, remember this island's main attraction is its natural beauty and the unassuming lifestyle of the people. Pace yourself and let the local culture sink in wherever you go. There's always something going on somewhere-free hula shows, coffee plantation tours, a ride on a slow boat up the river. You can rent a bike and fly down a mountain, find a kayak and paddle upstream, go diving, horseback riding, or sports fishing. You can go to a luau, take the kids to a discovery museum, listen to Hawaiian musicians strumming soft guitars or just stare at the moon. It's all good on Kauai.
On Kauai, you don't have to go far to find the kind of beach you're craving. There's more beach per mile of coastline here than on any other Hawaiian Island. Forty-three beaches in total, varying from quiet white-sand lagoons, to perfectly carved calm water bays, to expansive pounding ocean shores. Kauai is also Hawaii's water world. With rivers, waterfalls, and the deep blue Pacific, if it involves water, you'll find it here.
There's nothing like floating on a kayak in a cobalt sea where spinner dolphins, green sea turtles and schools of brightly colored fish frolic. And, in the winter, you may even spy a humpback whale.
Or take to the rivers. Kauai has the only navigable ones in the state. Explore the Wailua River, or travel up the Hanalei River like Indiana Jones through a federal wetlands bird refuge, or take a guided ocean kayak trip along the spectacular Napali coastline.
Depending on the time of year, you may want to rent a surfboard or take a surf lesson. Windsurf the breezy shores and fish the quiet ones. Or make like a fish yourself and scuba dive. Kauai's diverse coastal reef formations make for divine snorkeling or shore diving. Makua Beach (Tunnels) on the North Shore, and Koloa Landing and Prince Kuhio Park at Poipu Beach are among the best spots. Cave dives are also plentiful, as are the marine life you'll see. There are outstanding dives to be had throughout the island complete with dramatic underwater lava tubes, shipwrecks and fish-filled reefs. Niihau, with its 130-foot deep reef walls and abundant marine life, is considered by many to offer some of the best diving in Hawaii.
Kauai's laundry list of options for water-lovers is long. From the peaceful serenity of sailing into the sunset, to the thrill of a high-powered Zodiac raft ride up the Napali Coast, to cruising in a 13-foot Boston Whaler or Livingston for do-it-yourself boaters.
Since Kauai is the oldest of islands in this Pacific chain, it's no surprise that it offers such a breadth and depth of cultural and environmental experience -- a magnitude that is unparalleled even by its sister islands. Archaeologists speculate that the first "tourists" to Hawaii landed on Kauai perhaps as early as 500 A.D. The gentle Pacific Ocean trade winds that brought settlers from Marquesas, Tahiti, Samoa and other South Pacific islands were the same that eventually led Captain James Cook to make his first landing in Hawaii on the shores of Waimea, Kauai in 1778.
Koloa, on Kauai's southern shores, was a major whaling port as well as home to the state's first sugar mill. The sugar industry brought an influx of immigrants from Asia and Europe who have shaped much of Kauai's history and contributed to its cultural diversity. If you're a lover of culture, the legends, practices, crafts and dances of Native Hawaiians will intrigue and fascinate you. And you'll appreciate the contributions those diverse cultures have made, and are still making, to Kauai's history as well.
Soaking up Kauai's culture is as easy as soaking up its sun. Educational displays of the artifacts and contemporary crafts of the Native Hawaiians can be found at the Kauai Museum. Discover ancient sacred sites on the banks of rivers, near fishponds, in parks or set among the cliffs. Attend a luau show at one of the resorts to see the dances and hear legends of Kauai. Other places where Kauai's culture and beauty pervade are botanical and cultural gardens, the Kokee Natural History Museum, the Waioli Mission, and the charming historical towns of Hanalei, Hanapepe and Lihue.
Then again, you'll feel Kauai's rich history by simply being there. Just as Kauai was a favorite dwelling place for kings and high chiefs and a place of refuge for those who had broken a kapu (taboo), so shall it be for you.
If you're planning a family vacation, Kauai is the perfect place. This unique corner of the tropics is a virtual playground for children. Family-oriented accommodations, activities and restaurants make your trip safe, easy, fun and economical.
On Kauai, it's easy to play outdoors from dawn until dusk. Hop on a horse, bike, boat, or boogie board. Pack a picnic and head to the park or one of the many beautiful gardens. Take a magic carpet ride in your rental car to faraway canyons or back in time to historical attractions. Take a "Wonder Walk" through the giant redwoods at Kokee State Park. Then again, the beach is always a family-pleasing option. Lydgate Park in Wailua and Poipu Beach Park on the South Shore are the calmest children-friendly spots.
The Kauai Children's Discovery Museum in Kapaa isn't just for children. Interactive exhibits, virtual reality games, and hands-on science and art activities will delight adults as well. On Saturdays, the Starlight Planetarium Program tells how the Polynesian voyagers used the stars, winds and ocean to navigate their canoes across the Pacific.
Most of the major resorts on Kauai have programs for kids that include fun and educational activities like Hawaiian crafts and cultural activities, fishing, beach games, nature walks, surfing lessons, sand sculpture contests, coconut frond weaving, tide pool explorations, tours of historic sites, and fieldtrips led by local naturalists and other experts.
As you can see, the traditions of the many cultures that make up life on Kauai center around ohana (family). Here, children are not only welcome, they're celebrated
Golden beaches, the bluest ocean, soaring vertical green mountains and the ever-present sweet fragrance of exotic flowers inspire relaxation. Now add the healing spirit of aloha and a resort spa experience and you're a new person.
Treat yourself to a Hawaiian lomi lomi massage , seaweed body masque, ti leaf wrap, botanical bath, mango manicure, or soothing pedicure. They're available at such amazing locales as The Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa, Kauai Lagoons Resort, Sheraton Kauai, Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club, and Princeville Resort. These resorts also offer fitness centers to get the heart and muscles pumping. Memberships and single visits are generally available for members and non-members alike.
For a nominal fee, you're invited to use the Kauai Athletic Club where you can swim, play racquetball, lift weights, soak in the whirlpool, or hit the steam room and sauna. Your visit includes yoga, cardio kickboxing, spinning, and aerobics classes if you find you're feeling especially energetic.
Kauai has always been a place of re-discovery for love, adventure and culture. But, you'll be amazed when you experience what it does for the mind, body and soul.
Kauai is called The Garden Island for good reason. The landscape is lush and unspoiled, colorful and peaceful. Now go tear it up. Not in the literal sense, of course, with adventure. Kauai's spectacular natural environment and easy accessibility makes it a perfect destination for today's adventure-seeker.
Take an invigorating mountain bike ride down Waimea Canyon Road, an interpretive nature ride through the native forests of Kokee State Park, or just a leisurely cruise on the beach. You can rent mountain bikes, and take guided tours, on the island's north, south and east shores.
Kauai is also a hiker's paradise. The rewards are unparalleled views, tropical vegetation, streams, waterfalls, swimming holes and most of all, exquisite isolation. The Napali Coast/Waimea Canyon/Kokee region has the most extensive network of trails, and there are a few others near the Wailua River. Altogether, there are 28 named trails totaling 45 miles, rich in native flora and fauna, some of which is found nowhere else in the world. Kauai's mountainous interior is also accessible by helicopter. Ride the skies into the waterfall-lined crater of Mt. Waialeale, or skim through a twisting valley of the Napali coastline. Helicopter flight seeing tours are available from Lihue, Port Allen and Princeville.
Horseback ride through the long sandy beaches of Poipu and Waimea to the lush mountain valleys outside of Princeville. On the North Shore, you can ride to a mountain waterfall. Take an oceanside journey near Waimea while watching the sun sinking slowly over the "Forbidden Island" of Niihau. At Poipu Beach, take a leisurely breakfast trail ride with ocean and mountains as your entourage.
Kauai's water adventures are also extraordinary. They include kayaking, scuba diving and snorkeling, fishing, sailing and motor boating. (See water sports). Kauai adventure companies cater to travelers of all levels of expertise and athleticism. They're as exhilarating as you want. By land, by sea, by air, Kauai is a refreshing fantasy full of adventure and discovery.
Imagine a balmy evening lit by a full moon and the sparkle of a thousand stars. Imagine a plumeria-scented breeze that caresses the skin like a gentle kiss. Imagine a brilliant double rainbow over jade-colored mountains. Settings like these were made for lovers.
Play tag in the surf. Steal a kiss along a mountain trail. Toast every sunset with champagne. Slip off your shoes and walk hand-in-hand on a quiet palm-fringed beach. Dine in a fanciful plantation estate. Doze to the sound of the surf while resting in each other's arms. Every romantic thought you have can come true on Kauai.
Kauai can't help but inspire romance.