Aloha! If you are here today is probably because you are planning a trip (or maybe just thinking about it) to the Hawaiian islands, and I can’t wait to inspire you to do so! If wilderness and adventures are what you are looking for, Kaui island is right for you! I have created a full Kauai travel guide with everything you need to know to enjoy this island to the fullest.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Where are located the Hawaiian islands?
The Hawaiian islands are composed of eight major islands: Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Big Island, Lanai, Molokai, Niihau, and Kahoolawe. Overall the archipelago has much more isles and atolls, but they are uninhabited. The Aloha state, located 2’000 miles West of the California coasts right in the middle of the Pacific ocean, has 1,4 million residents. English and Hawaiian are the two official languages. Each island is different and unique to the other with its scenery.
When to visit the Hawaiian islands?
The Hawaiian islands can be visited all year round offering nice temperatures between 20°c and 35°c. However, some periods of the year are more propitious to visit with notably less risk of tropical storms. Consequently, I strongly advise you to visit the archipelago between May and June. In my opinion, this is the best time of the year to discover the islands as the weather is mostly dry and not too hot. Above all, the locals and the rest of the US are not on summer break just yet. Therefore, most of the famous places are not too crowded at this time.
“In case you cannot visit the Hawaiian islands during this period, just try to avoid April (spring break) as well as July and August (summer break).“
How long to stay on Kauai?
Alright, to discover the top attractions of Kauai, I strongly recommend staying on the island for at least six days. Indeed, there are various things to do, so you won’t get bored! Of course, if you can slowly travel, I would highly suggest spending three weeks on Kauai to experience all the secret parts and hidden gems.
However, if you have limited time available, you might cut your trip to four full days, but be prepared that it may be not relaxing at all.
Where to stay on Kauai?
Due to the small size of the island and the fact that 80% of its land is uninhabited, you can easily stay at one single place during your time in Kauai. This option is the best deal in case you are going to rent a car or are willing to take public transportation to explore the island. Accordingly, I strongly advise you to stay at Kapaa because of its strategic location. Otherwise, if you prefer getting surf vibes, I would suggest staying at Hanalei.
In terms of accommodations, Kauai does not offer a lot of possibilities as the island is sparsely inhabited. This is the reason why we booked there the only hotel on our journey through the Hawaiian islands. If you decide to do the same, I cannot recommend enough ISO hotel which offers good prices great services, and beautiful ocean views.
“Since Kauai is the wildest island of the archipelago, it is more convenient to stay at Kapaa town which has all you need such as a supermarket, food courts, restaurants, and nice hotels.“
What to do on Kauai?
As mentioned, Kauai has so much to offer with lots of diverse activities and different types of landscapes! Hence, throughout the next paragraphs, I share the must-dos you should visit during your trip to this heavenly island.
Kuilau Ridge Trail
Located on the East side of Kauai, the Kuilau ridge trail is a simple hike through the most amazing rainforest of all time. Along the way, you can feel the power of nature surrounded by vast tropical fauna and flora. Consequently, this is my favorite hike on the island without a doubt!
“As the trail is located in the most humid part of Kauai, I advise you to take insect repellent in your bag.“
few parking spots available
at the entrance of the trail
4,5 miles / 7,2 km (return)
Wailua falls are one of the most spectacular falls on Kauai. On top of that, they are easily accessible as you can see them directly from the road. The viewpoint is located above the waterfalls, next to the parking. The falls are made of three main streams dropping from 84 feet / to 26 meters. How impressive is that!
“If you want to be a bit more adventurous, you can even hike down the falls through the forest, but keep in mind that the trail can be very slippery and dangerous.“
free parking spots next to the lookout
0,3 miles / 0,5 km (return)
Anini Beach Park
The North shore of Kauai is filled with lots of magnificent beaches and Anini Beach Park is one of them. Indeed, it is the best place to enjoy tranquility and is also an excellent place to snorkel in shallow waters. Therefore, this little paradise is perfect for families with kids. Even though there is no lifeguard along the beach (like most of the beaches on the Hawaiian islands), Anini Beach Park is considered one of the safest on the island.
“As time will pass by quickly and the sun is strong, I advise you to put on a snorkeling sweater.“
free parking spots available along the road
As mentioned before, Hanalei is the ideal place on the North shore to enjoy surf vibes! In addition to the great Taro valley you can see on your way to the town, Hanalei is home to one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Hanalei beach is a gorgeous golden sand bay surrounded by lush jungle and green mountains. Moreover, this heavenly beach is the perfect location to catch waves or, for the less sporty ones, to farniente and shop in the town.
“I highly recommend spending a full day in Hanalei to enjoy the natural scenery, eat well, do the shopping, and lay on warm sand!“
paid parking spots around the town
Waimea Canyon state park
Famously known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific Ocean, Waimea Canyon State Park is a true treasure. On top of that, the park can be enjoyed through two awesome hikes (Kukui trail and Iliau nature loop). Of course, no need to hit the trails to observe the canyon as several viewpoints along the road offer incredible sights.
“Waimea Canyon has nothing to envy towards the famous Grand Canyon in Arizona! So colorful!“
US$ 5 per person
US$ 10 per vehicle
Awa’awapui trail is a steep hike through Kokee State Park’s forest. Honestly, it is quite challenging but worth all the effort as the end of the hike offers an incredible view of the famous Na Pali coasts.
“Kokee State park is full of amazing hikes, so be sure to explore all parts of it if you have more time!“
US$ 5 per person
US$ 10 per vehicle
6,5 miles / 11 km (return)
Sleeping giant trail
Let’s continue with another hike in the heart of Kauai called Sleeping giant trail! This abrupt hike offers a fantastic 360° panoramic view of the top of the mountain. In other words, the trail goes uphill all the way, which requires a certain level of fitness!
“Note that the area is well-known for wild boar hunting. Therefore, you must register at the entrance of the trail and stay at all times on the trail.“
free parking spots at the entrance of the trail
8:00 am to sunset
3,9 miles / 6,5 km (return)
Kayaking on Wailua river
Located along the island’s East side, Wailua river is the perfect place for sporty gateways! Hence, my husband and I did a kayaking guided tour and it was such a fantastic moment into nature as the tranquil waters are surrounded by jungle and gorgeous waterfalls! On top of that, we had so much fun chasing the secret Opaeka’s falls through the lush forest.
“The tour we booked was a combination of lots of paddling and a bit of walking, so I advise you to put your swimsuit on and waterproof shoes.“
US $ 75 per adult
US $ 75 per child
4,5 to 5 hours
Where to eat on Kauai?
Kauai is filled with many food options for every budget and every taste. Here are my top 3 favorite places where to eat and enjoy great cocktails on the island.
- Thaiti Nui, located at Hanalei, (Thai restaurant $) – amazing lunch offers!
- Lava lava beach club, located at Kapaa, (Hawaiian restaurant $$) – great for a festive night directly on the beach!
- Bull Sheld restaurant, located at Kapaa, (Hawaiian restaurant $$$) – perfect for a fancy and romantic night by the beach!
To sum up, Kauai is the ideal location to enjoy magnificent wild scenery from lush green forests to canyons. Most importantly, Kauai island is perfect for all nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts!
Indeed, I had the chance to visit this paradise island in May 2019 with my hubby and it was one of our favorite travels. That is to say, I hope I have inspired you to visit Kauai someday soon and that you will love it as much as we did!
Moreover, you should click here to check out all my posts related to the Hawaiian islands.
Finally, feel free to contact me at any time, if you have any questions. It would be great to share with you!
Sending you lots of Love,