My husband (feels weird saying that) and I spent our honeymoon in Hawaii. We went to Kauai and Maui. This was my second time to Hawaii. The first time I went to the Big Island. Out of all three islands that I have visited, I like Kauai best. My husband feels the same. I wanted to share some fun things to do in Kauai if you are planning a trip soon. I wouldn’t say that this is a travel guide, more of some ideas. I always feel like you shouldn’t really write a travel guide unless you have been to the place several times and know a lot more. We were gone for a total of 12 days.
Since we were gone so long and Hawaii is super expensive we didn’t stay at the most luxurious resorts. We stayed at smaller resorts/hotels. In Kauai, we stayed at Kauai Shores Hotel. I thought it was pretty good for the money and would recommend it. Most hotels and resorts in Hawaii do have some sort of resort fee. This one had a cleaning fee. It was right on the ocean and had a nice little beach. We didn’t spend much time there but did eat a few meals in the sand.
Roosters and chickens are EVERYWHERE on Kauai
Waimea Canyon was one of my favorite things from the whole trip! It’s known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”. It is so enormous in person and pictures don’t really do it justice. This was the first thing that we saw because the first day we arrived it was raining, but wasn’t raining on this side of the island. It was really foggy though, so we had to come back the next day. You have to drive up a super winding road to get to the lookout spot, but it was worth it. There are a few pull-over spots where you can climb on some red rock formations. There are paths that go around throughout it. There are also tons of hiking trails around the area, but we didn’t have time to do any of them.
2. Kalalau Lookout and Trail
If you keep driving up the road from Waimea Canyon, you will come to Kalalau Lookout. There are also some other lookout spots, but this one is the best and most famous. It looks out over the NaPali Coast. There is a trail that leads from the parking lot of the Kalalau Lookout that is amazing. We hiked the whole thing. It’s only a little over a mile each way but it was one of the most difficult hikes I have ever done. The trail start out dry and smooth but soon becomes very muddy and covered in roots and holes. It was really cool. You WILL get muddy!
A helicopter tour is a good thing to do on any island of Hawaii but especially necessary on Kauai because much of the beauty is unreachable. We flew with Island Helicopters and did a tour of all of Kauai. With a tour you can get closer to all of the huge waterfalls (Kauai has SO many), see the NaPali Coast, Fly through Waimea Canyon, Mount Waialeale Crater, and all of the beaches. The Mount Waialeale Crater is the wettest place on earth and many of the helicopters will take you up close to the crater. There are tons of super tall waterfalls running down it. You can also see Jurassic Park Falls, the most famous waterfall from Jurassic Park. Some tours will even stop at the base of it and let you get out.
4. Wailua River State Park & Opaeka’a Falls
You can see Opaeka’a Falls without even doing any hikes. There is a lookout spot on the outskirts of the state park if that’s all you have time for. We didn’t really spend much time inside Wailua River State Park because we just didn’t have time. I hear it’s a really nice place to Kayak and hike though. There is a lot to see and do. If you are like us and are on a time crunch, you should at least see the falls.
5. NaPali Coast Boat Tour and Snorkel Trip
Manta ray swimming across the surface
breaching baby whale (also saw the mother breach)
Taking a boat ride along the NaPali Coast was my absolute favorite thing from the whole trip. The NaPali coast has been at the top of my bucket list for as long as I can remember. It’s a “must do” when in Kauai. There are a ton of different options. We did a 5 hour long snorkel catamaran tour. Although, we didn’t get to snorkel because the waves were too big. It was still amazing. A lot of the tours will also take you into the sea caves. The waves were too large for that too. If you want to do those things, I recommend you go in the summer. The reason a boat tour is necessary is because there are a lot of things you can’t see unless you hike the 22 mile trail. There are lava formations, secret beaches, caves, animals, valleys, and waterfalls. On the tour we saw 3 whales, 2 manta rays, goats, fish, sea turtles, a pod of spinner dolphins, and monk seals. I’ve also always wanted to see manta rays. I wasn’t expecting to see any so it made it even more exciting.
This beach was really empty. It’s a super nice bay with really blue water. There is plenty of parking too. I really enjoyed our time there because it was just so peaceful.
Hanalei Bay was my favorite beach. It was beautiful! There are tons of little shops and restaurants surrounding the beach as well. What makes it so beautiful is that it’s a bay with super blue water and is surrounded by green mountains. There is a long pier on the far side of the bay. It’s a really good place for beginner surfers to go. I wish we would have surfed but we didn’t because the waves were very small. We figured we would get another chance somewhere else but we never did. Parking there is a little complicated. There are some parking lots but they fill up really quickly. You can park in the street in some places.
8. Queen’s Bath
Queens bath is a lava rock formation. It’s basically like a big swimming pool. The waves were too big the day we went to swim. You have to walk down a pretty muddy trail, then walk down the rocks to the actual bath. It’s not in these pictures because the waves were splashing. The parking lot has only a few spaces so if you want to go make sure to get there really early (maybe by like 8 or 9am). If the gates are closed it means that the waves are too high to swim. Some people go around them but it’s not safe to go near the edge or in the water. Many people drown here.