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See all 113 things to do in Kauai


What to Do in Kauai: Must See Attractions

Kauai Attractions

Known as the "Garden Isle" for the lush, tropical greenery that blankets most of the island, Kauai is one of the most naturally beautiful places in Hawaii. In addition to beautiful beaches and luxurious seaside resorts, Kauai is home to plunging canyons, scenic waterfalls, and the towering Mount Wai'ale'ale, one of the wettest places on Earth. Outdoor and family-friendly activities like hikes, ziplining, and snorkeling are among the most popular things to do, but the flourishing island offers much more, including visits to famous movie locations and romantic getaways for couples.

Areas & Neighborhoods

Kauai is the oldest of the Hawaiian Islands, and its long history has helped create amazing sights throughout the island. When you're not unwinding at the many hotels that sit right along the shore, stray inland to find incredible, untouched nature and authentic Hawaiian heritage.

West Side

Kauai's West Side is entrenched in history and natural wonder. Discover Waimea Town, where Captain James Cook landed in Hawaii for the first time, and visit iconic Waimea Canyon, also known as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific." The plant-lined trails of Kokee State Park are perfect for an easy hike, and Kalalau Lookout serves as a beautiful climax for any trek.

East Side

Abundant groves of coconut palms earn the East Side its nickname of the "Coconut Coast." Home to the tourist hub of Kapaa and commercial center Lihue, the East Side of Kauai has its own share of idyllic landscapes and natural attractions, including the beautiful and gentle Wailua River, which offers amazing opportunities for freshwater kayaking.

North Shore

The North Shore is most famous for the Na Pali Coast, whose sheer emerald bluffs tower over the waves below. Whale-watching is a favorite pastime at Daniel K Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse, the island's northernmost point. Some of Kauai's best golf courses can also be found on the North Shore, where manicured greens overlook the Pacific Ocean.

South Shore

Journey to the South Shore to see Kauai's natural heritage, from the exciting blowhole Spouting Horn to Old Koloa Town, whose preserved plantation buildings offer insight into Hawaii's past. Also visit famous Poipu Beach Park, known for its inviting waters and the endangered Hawaiian monk seals that laze on shore.

What to See in Kauai

It's no wonder why Kauai is lauded for its beauty—from the multi-color walls of Waimea Canyon to Wailua Falls' postcard-perfect double cascade, Kauai boasts an abundance of spectacular sights to see. Take advantage of paths like Kalalau Trail and explore nature firsthand, or capture a different vantage of the island on a scenic helicopter flight. Experience the magic of a Hawaiian sunset for yourself, with Poipu Beach in the south and the Na Pali Coast in the north offering amazing spots to watch the sun go down.

Sightseeing in Kauai

Kauai has a wide range of relaxing and adventurous activities suited for all kinds of vacationers. Experience both the rivers and beaches by kayaking down freshwater Wailua River and sailing around the coast. Gentle waves at popular beaches like Poipu Beach and Hanaka’ape Bay are ideal for kid-friendly snorkeling trips and introductory scuba diving lessons as well. For more of a thrill, venture up the slopes of Mount Wai'ale'ale and go ziplining over the treetops. You can easily spend a day exploring Kauai's natural beauty—make your way to places like Waimea Canyon for a walk along the winding ridges, or hop aboard an ATV and go off-roading to hidden waterfalls through the rugged backcountry. After an outdoor excursion, slow things down and treat yourself to an indulgent spa package at the end of the day.

Things to Do in Kauai with Kids

Kauai is a superb place for a family escape. Bring the kids along and enjoy these popular family friendly experiences together:

Free Things to Do in Kauai

Touring on a budget in Kauai? Spend time instead of money on awesome experiences.

Mt. Waialeale - Let the natural surrounds restore your mind.

Keahua Arboretum - Find your green thumb and enjoy admiring the many and varied plants on show.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What to do in Kauai on a sunny day?

When the weather's fine, these outdoor activities really shine:

What to do in Kauai on a rainy day?

If it's pelting down during your stay, hang up your umbrella and dive into these entertaining indoor activities:

What is Kauai famous for?

Make a beeline for Na Pali Coast State Park and Waimea Canyon if you want to be wowed.

What should I not miss in Kauai?

If you'd like to experience the best of this destination, fit these attractions into your schedule:

  • Hanalei Bay
  • Poipu Beach
  • Princeville Golf Course
  • Lydgate Beach Park

Are there cheap things to do in Kauai?

If you're on a smaller budget, be sure to add the following thrifty activities and tours to your agenda:

What can you do in Kauai for free?

You could even leave your cash in the hotel safe for the day, because these attractions will cost you nothing at all:

  • Hanalei Bay
  • Poipu Beach
  • Lydgate Beach Park
  • Polihale State Park