Top Things to do on Kauai

Easily one of the most beautiful places in the United States, Hawaii has an unforgettable natural beauty. The state is made of six main islands, and my latest adventure was to Kauai, the fourth largest of these islands.

Kauai earned its nickname, the Garden Isle, thanks to its lush tropical rainforest. And you’ve probably already seen the dramatic cliffs of the Napali Coast in countless movies and images!

Ready for a tropical escape? Here are the top things to do on Kauai.


Sunset over Poipu Beach

Lounge at Poipu Beach

Stumbling upon the shores of Poipu Beach Park, it was clear why Travel Channel rated this gem America’s Best Beach.. The area is made of three crescent-shaped white-sand beaches. While it can get crowded on weekends, it has anything and everything that you might want for a spontaneous day at the beach.

Poipu Beach has spots for swimming, snorkeling, or just lying out in the sun.

It’s also the perfect spot for serious surfers as well as total beginners. You can rent all kinds of gear there, and there’s a local surf school.

Whatever you do, don’t miss the Spouting Horn blowhole. This natural lava tube spits up seawater as high as 50 feet! But please please read the precaution signs!

Kauai Coastline

Snorkeling on the Napali Coast in Kauai

Sail and Snorkel Napali Coast

In the local language, Napali means “cliffs,” and you’ll quickly learn why they call it the Napali Coast. With breathtaking cliffs that jet 3,500 feet above the sea, the Napali Coast is best seen from the water.

I went with Holo Holo Charters for a day at sea off the Napali Coast. The catamaran is state of the art and it fits up to 45 people, so it feels incredibly spacious. The team at Holo Holo Charters fed us and took us to all the best snorkeling spots for a perfect day.

Hiking through Waimea Canyon

Hike Waimea Canyon

Known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, Waimea Canyon is an epic 10 miles long and reaches down as far as 3,600 feet. The rich, earthy shades of the canyon are made even more beautiful by a dotting of waterfalls and frequent rainbows.

There are hiking trails winding through Waimea Canyon that will give you a stunning vista, or you can head over to one of the two lookout points, the Puu Ka Pele or Puu Hinahina. Either way it’ll make for the perfect adventure!

View from Helicopter over Kaua'i

Aerial View over Kauai coast

Take a Helicopter Flight

While the view from the water was magical, there is nothing like seeing Kauai from above. I went on a trip with Island Helicopters and got some once-in-a-lifetime photo ops. Wherever you go in Hawaii, I highly recommend getting off the ground.

Flying over the Napali Coast had been a dream of mine for a while, and it did not disappoint! Really, the only way to take in the lay of the land and see the dramatic cliffs, lush rainforest, and endless shoreline of Kauai is in a helicopter.

This was one of my favorite things to do on Kauai!

 botanical garden

Walk Through McBryde Botanical Garden

This gorgeous tropical botanical garden is perfect for learning about and taking in the natural beauty of the local flora. And it’s more than just a pretty spot! McBryde Garden is part of a national network that fights to conserve thousands of endangered and threatened species of flora from all over the tropical world.

Whether you are a greenhouse goddess or totally clueless about plants, McBryde Gardens is worth a visit. Just be sure to bring bug spray!

Blonde wearing flower crown in Hawaii

Haku Class in Kauai

Take a Haku Class

Forget about traditional Hawaiian lei. I stopped by the Kealia Farm Market for a haku lei workshop and loved it. The workshop was taught by a lovely local woman named Elvrine Chow. She picked the flowers for my lei po‘o straight from her garden.

She taught me the traditional art of braiding flowers through raffia and coconut palm leaves.

The whole haku lei workshop experience was a cool way to connect with the local culture, and it was way more memorable than grabbing a lei at the airport. So, when you make it over to Kauai, go see Elvrine at Heavenly Hakus Kauai!



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Kiersten Rich
Kiersten Rich is the bikini-obsessed author of award-winning solo female travel and lifestyle blog, The Blonde Abroad, featuring travel tips, fashion, food, festivals and photography from around the world.