There are so many things to do in Kauai. I could write about Kauai for four days straight and still have more to talk about. There is nothing quite like it.
My family has traveled a whole lot, mainly to tropical places. We’ve been fortunate to see the world and experience different cultures. My Dad traveled for work and was able to take us on some pretty incredible vacations. We went as an entire family to Kauai several years ago and I found my favorite spot on earth. Since then I’ve been back a few times – with just Josh, on a girls trip and just got home from a holiday trip. It was so amazing that we didn’t want to come home!
Things to Do in Kauai
When I went to Kauai on the girls trip a few years ago, we went zip lining. It was my first experience. I don’t love heights too much but zip lining in Kauai was incredible. I loved it so much that when we just went back as a family, we took the kids too. There are several options on the island but both times I used Skyline Eco Adventures. The guides were great, walks not bad and had breath taking views.
- 4 Wheeling Tour at Kipu Ranch
When we asked our kids their favorite activity on this trip, they both said Kipu Ranch. Not only is it tons of fun (being in a side by side is always fun!), but it’s incredibly beautiful. The guides there are the best on the island. Josh and I went on our trip alone and then knew they would have a blast going with us. Both times, the guides were super funny, knowledgeable, and all around awesome. Don’t miss out on this!
- Waimea Canyon
Said to be the “Hawaiian Grand Canyon” – this canyon is absolutely incredible. It’s definitely a touristy spot but worth the drive. When we went the waterfalls there were beautiful and there was even a rainbow.
- Polihale Beach
We lucked out on this breathtaking beach from our rental car attendant. She told Josh all about it as we rented a jeep. She said all the locals hang out there. The one draw back is that it’s 5 miles on an unpaved road. It was bumpy. But definitely worth it. I was really grateful we were in a jeep but there were all kinds of cars making their way out there!
It’s the farthest you can go via vehicle from the south side of the island up the Na Pali Coast.
Obviously there are A LOT of beaches in Kauai. Our resort was on Poipu Beach and it was great. Lawai Beach is fun with the turtles and a great spot right next to the Beach House. You really can’t go wrong at any beach on the island though.
- Golfing at Poipu Bay Golf Course
Josh and Drew got to go golfing on this trip and they couldn’t stop talking about it. They said the course was absolutely incredible. They were originally just going to do the first 9 holes but then decided to do the entire course once they were there. If golfing is your thing, don’t miss out on this course. And do yourself a favor- get the Poke Bowl from the clubhouse there. It is pure heaven!
- Tree Tunnel Road
While this wouldn’t be considered an “activity” per-say, it is a must see in my book. It is my favorite drive on the island. I took lots of video and pictures of it and nothing does it justice. The original 500 trees were planted in 1911 as a gift to the community from Pineapple Baron Walter McBryd. What a gift it was!
- Escape Room
Escape Rooms are all the rage right now (do people even use that phrase still? I might have just aged myself 10 years…). They are everywhere. After doing on over Thanksgiving in Big Bear, Josh found one on our first day in Kauai. It was rainy and the ideal day to do this activity. Escape rooms are pretty new on that island but the one we went to was cute and we escaped (barely!).
- Na Pali Coast Hikes (Kalalau Trail)
You will never find a hike quite like the ones up the Kalalau Trail. It provides the only land access to this part of the rugged coast. There are a few options – 2 miles, 4 miles, 5 miles and 11 miles. Josh and I did the 4 mile one on our trip a few years ago. He did the longer one with our oldest son when we went with my family 7 years ago. Unfortunately we couldn’t do it this time because all of the trails were closed due to weather. My suggestion if you want to do a hike is to check the site before going over. You definitely need good hiking or tennis shoes, some snacks, appropriate hiking clothes. I had a hat and a windbreaker with a pocket.
- Limahuli Garden
This was another spot that we happened upon because the hike wasn’t an option for us this go around. What a treat! It was so incredibly beautiful and relaxing. They have guided or self guided tours. We did a self guided tour and I was glad because our kids went through it quickly. They probably would’ve been bored with a guided tour.
- Hanalei Pier
This pier is gorgeous. People go to the beach to hang out, there are stand up paddler boarders there and kayakers but we’ve been just to walk along it. Going at sunset is especially pretty.
- Kilaeua Lighthouse
This lighthouse is like a scene from a movie. Though we’ve only driven up to it before, it’s a beautiful and kick stop.
Places to Eat in Kauai
First a note about food on Kauai – it’s expensive. There’s no other way to put it. One of the first things we do when we get there is go to Costco, Walmart (really close to the airport) or a local grocery store to stock up on breakfast foods, snacks and drinks. We didn’t eat out for breakfast at all and we had lots of drinks and snacks. Most of our eating out was for dinner. We accidentally went to a farmer’s market on Wednesday at the Kukuiula Shopping Center and it was magical. ALL of it. I highly suggest going there if at all possible but there are other farmer’s markets all week in different spots.
Incredible macadamia nut roll and sugar loaf pineapple from the farmer’s market
There are 3 Bubba’s Burgers on the island and we’ve been to all of them. There happened to be one very close to our resort on this trip and it was our kids preferred place to eat. They have good burgers – try the Kauai Burger and the chili cheese fries are good too! $
A trip to Hawaii isn’t complete until we get to Lappert’s. One of our first stops was to a shopping center that had Lappert’s and I didn’t waste time in getting coconut pineapple ice cream in a waffle cone. Mmmmmm….. $
- Jo Jo’s Shave Ice
There are shave ice spots all over but Jo Jo’s is so good. Their servings are the size of your head – so don’t order a big one! My kids got multi color/flavored ones but I loved my Coconut Pineapple Mac Nut shave ice (do you see a theme here? Yes I love coconut pineapple!). $
- Tide Pools at the Grand Hyatt
This was Josh’s favorite restaurant. He had the “Hawaiian Catch” and said it was the best meal he had in Kauai.
I enjoyed my prime rib but liked the mashed potatoes that came with it even better. The location was beautiful, right on some tide pools with an incredible view of the beach. We were there at sunset and it was heavenly. $$$ This was one of the more expensive places we ate.
- Eating House 1849 by Roy Yamaguchi
Josh and I ended up here on New Year’s Eve. What a good choice that was! I loved the style of the restaurant and it was a fun environment for the holiday. We had crab cakes and calamari for appetizers. I had the Hapa Burger and it was good. Josh had Grilled Beef Short Ribs. We then had an awesome dessert!
$$$ This was also expensive but worth it!
- The Green Pig
The girls and I went to the Green Pig on our last trip. It was insanely good. So good that that was one of my requests for food on this trip. We finally made it there only to find out that they were out of pork belly (!!!) and that it would take 30 minutes to make anything. We didn’t have the time to wait. I was so so so sad. Know that they are closed on Mondays and only open from 11am-4pm.
- Kalapaki Beach Hut
We went here on our way to the airport to go home. I wish I knew about it sooner. One of the best hamburgers I’ve ever had!! I got the bacon and cheddar cheeseburger. But all of them looked amazing. We’ll definitely be back next time. $
Aloha Spice Company
If you go to Kauai, do yourself a favor and stop here. It is the perfect spot for souvenirs that you won’t regret buying. While it’s a little bit of a drive, Hanapepe is such a charming town. We enjoyed shopping along the small main street and the highlight was Aloha Spice Company. There are so many types of spices, salts, and more. If you get nothing else, GET THE PEANUT BUTTER. You will never be the same. They have Macadamia Nut Honey Coconut Peanut Butter or Cocoa Peanut Butter. You can find this on the island in some stores too.
I found this adorable store on New Year’s Eve (when we ate at Eating House 1849) and went back two more times. It has everything Kauai and the cutest style on the island. I wanted one of everything. Luckily they have an Etsy shop and are opening an online store soon. I can’t wait!
Have you been to Kauai? Do you have any tips for me? I’d love them for our next trip. We can’t wait to go back!