A few months ago I wrote a post on my Maui musts and you guys loved it. What’s not to love about Maui? So I opted to share some more of my Hawai’i wisdom by highlighting my second favorite island (okay, maybe it’s tied for first. I mean, really, how does one rank paradise?) with this post on my Kauai travel musts.
As a Hawaii resident I am more-or-less a pro bono travel agent. Anytime anyone even distantly connected with me comes to the islands I get a text or email asking for the must see spots. And I totally get it. When you travel you want to make sure you maximize the vacation to get the most out of your money and time and who is better informed on the subject than someone local to that area.
The first time I visited Kauai was after I’d been living on the North Shore of Oahu for four months. At that point in my Hawai’i life I was convinced there was nowhere in the world more beautiful than the lush layers greenery surrounding the H3 on Oahu. Then I stepped out of the airport on Kauai to realize the majority of the island was just as alive with dense forest as that small strip on Oahu. I was instantly in love. This place truly is magical.
Kauai is certain to meet all your Hawai’i hopes and dreams, especially if you are on a time budget. Kauai is the smallest Hawaiian island so getting around is much more time and gas friendly. Honestly, a week is plenty of time to check off all your Kauai to-do’s-in fact, you can see most everything in just a few days. Kauai is also a great option to include in your trip if you plan to stop at more than one Hawaiian island. I highly recommend a few days in Kauai followed by a few days on either Maui or Oahu. Kauai travel is ideal for a variety of travelers, mostly, adventurers, leisure resort goers, site seers, families, & honeymooners.
Kauai Travel Musts
- Waimea Canyon
- Kalalau Trail (You can hike a few hundred feet, go the full 11 miles-each way, or stop somewhere in between.)
- I highly recommend hiking to Hanakoa Falls to get the greatest variety of views in a reasonable amount of time. If you do this plan on being on the trail for most of the day.
- A less time consuming option is Hanakapiai Falls. It is about half the distance but almost as rewarding.
- Na Pali Coast (If you aren’t up for a hike you can always take a helicopter or boat tour around the coast to take in one of the most beautiful sites in all of Hawai’i Nei.)
- Koke’e State Park
- Waipoo Falls
- Maha’ulepu Coastal Trail
- Spouting Horn
- Ke Ala Hele Makalae Bike Trail
- Kilauea Lighthouse
- Queen’s Bath
- Secret Beach Lava Pools
- Wailua Falls
- Opaekaa Falls
- Kayak or Paddle the Wailua River
- While you are on the river be sure to stop by the Fern Grotto
- And definitely take the time to hike over to Secret Falls
- Wailaleale Lookout (It’s the wettest spot on Earth!)
- Hee Fat Shave Ice (Because what is a trip to Hawaii’i without a shave ice? Or two. Or three.)
Kauai Travel Beaches: when visiting Hawai’i beaches remember to use proper ocean safety. The ocean is not to be trifled with. Read the warning signs, talk to the lifeguards, check the conditions, & remember, “if in doubt, don’t go out.”
- Glass Beach (Not a place to hang out, but definitely a great stop if you love sea glass like I do!)
- Anini Beach
- Po’ipu Beach
- Polihale Beach (Get ready for a spectacular sunset!)
- Tunnels Beach
- Hanalei Bay
- Kiahuna Beach
- Ke’e Beach State Park
- Salt Pond Beach Park
- Lydgate Beach Park
I know I said this before, but I feel obligated to remind all visitors to pack their aloha spirit on any Hawaiian vacation. The aloha spirit is strong in Hawai’i, but Kauai seems to have more aloha than most islands. Which is one reason it is such a charming destination. We love to share our piece of paradise with those that want to visit. I hope to see you in Hawai’i soon! Aloha!