Most people assume all of Hawaii is the same. But as I’m lucky enough to live here, I know that each island has it’s own culture, beauty, and uniqueness. It’s always fun to go play tourist on other islands and to get away from the hustle and bustle of Oahu.
This year, we took a long weekend over the Thanksgiving holiday to explore Kauai. However, I’m going to include pictures and recommendations from previous trips as well. So for any visitors from the mainland who are looking to spend a week or more on the island, I’ve got ya covered.
The first and maybe most obvious thing to do is visit the Napali Coast. You can do this by helicopter, boat, or by hiking.
I’ve yet to make it on the helicopter, but I’ve heard it’s absolutely incredible and would love to bite a chunk of change to do that next time I go.
I did get the lucky experience to tour it by private boat. We had a friend living on the island for the summer and she just happened to know a captain who was willing to take on a bunch of us crazy girls for the day. This was by far the most amazing experience I’ve had on Kauai to date.
Lastly, you can hike the Napali Coast. I’ve only hiked to the first point, about 2 miles into the 11 mile trail to Hanakapi’ai Beach. Both times it was raining but it was a beautiful hike none the less. To hike the entire coast, you’ll need to go during summer months and get a permit.
One of my other favorite must-do adventures is Queen’s Bath in Princeville. I’ve gone during different times throughout the year (March, July, October, November). And just about every time I’ve been able to jump in. However, I’d check the surf before you decide you want to go in for a quick dip. Summer time is usually safe but the winter months is when the swell picks up. There’s a death tally at the entrance for people who have lost their lives while exploring the pools.
This is a quick little hike down to the tide pools. However, if it’s been raining (which is pretty likely) be wary of the mud!
Located on the west side of the island is the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific’. You can also do a helicopter tour of the canyon in addition to hiking it. Since it rained (by rain, I mean DOWN POURED) we didn’t get to hike into it like we hoped. But the look-out points are pretty incredible on it’s own. Please note: you WILL lose cell service in the park. Make sure you grab a map (or download maps.me) if you do hike into the canyon.
For most tourists, Wailua Falls is a beautiful waterfall look out in Lihue. But with a little research, you can make it a quick 20 minute hike and get up close and personal. I would advise hiking shoes, as the trail is steep and muddy. We made the mistake of wearing flip flops and ended up having to hike the entire thing barefoot. When you park your car at the lookout, walk back down the street past the waterfall lookout. There will be an opening by the fence with a ‘Hazardous Cliff’ sign. Walk towards the sign until you find the path. We hiked to the base of the waterfall, but the path continues all the way behind the falls.
Our friend who was living on Kauai for the summer took us to this magical little spot: Kilauea’s Slippery Slides. We had to sneak past a guard, onto private property, and got eaten alive by mosquitoes but 10/10 would do it again. This is one of Kauai’s best adventures. A water park built by mother nature, indeed.
Hanalei Town is where you’ll find some of the best restaurants and cutest little shops. You can paddle board down the Hanalei River or take your lunch down to Hanalei Bay and hang out at the pier with the locals. It’s also great place for sunset and relaxing.