The beauty of Kauai is so extraordinary you cannot replicate it anywhere else in the world. Yes, you can come close to certain sights in many destinations. But when you add all the gorgeous sights together on this island, no other destination has the sheer volume of beauty as Kauai. In fact, it is the rushing waterfalls, lush vegetation, looming mountains, and jaw-dropping canyons that bring travelers like yourself to this island year after year. And once you consider all the outdoor family adventures, cultures and traditions, and delicious foods, you may find yourself never wanting to leave this piece of paradise to return home. Especially once you are experiencing the best things to do on Kauai!
Waimea Canyon has long been called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Volcanic flow created this massive canyon over the years. Its size is currently ten miles long and two miles wide. Add the thirty-six hundred feet of depth and it stands out from the rest of the scenery on the island of Kauai. There are two ways to see Waimea Canyon from the ground. The first is by car. It is the easiest way to see the entire canyon, since you can stop at multiple lookouts during your drive. The second option is to take one of the numerous hiking trails and walk. Some of the hiking trails are easy, while others are quite challenging. I recommend starting with the Cliff Trail Lookout and the Waipo’o Falls Trail.
Kipu Ranch is currently a working ranch with three thousand acres. While this ranch has been mainly a cattle ranch, for some time, it was used to grow sugarcane. There is no other way to explore this land that the Hawaiian monarchy once owned except by ATV. You must be with a tour guide during your visit to explore this ranch. The number of people allowed to visit the ranch each day is limited. However, if you plan ahead, you can learn about the history of this land, as well as all the movies filmed on the property. A couple of the most popular movies include Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Descendants, and The Lost World.
Do you have a long list of things to do while vacationing on the island of Kauai? Most likely, you do, and some of the things you want to do include hiking in a rainforest, riding a historic train, and attending a luau. Well, at Kilohana Plantation, you can do all those things and so much more!
You will want to have your day planned out prior to arriving at this plantation. If you don’t, it will be too easy to miss out on some of the activities. It is best to hike through the rainforest before enjoying a meal at the restaurant and tasting some island-made rum. Afterward, you can hop on the Kauai Plantation Railway for a two-and-a-half-mile train ride.
At the end of the day, you must attend the Luau Kalamaku. This is the best luau on the island. Since the show is performed in a circle, there are no bad seats. During the performance, you can watch fifty dancers and musicians show off their talents. While they are all amazing, I recommend you pay close attention to the fire knife dancer.
There are forty-three beaches on the island of Kauai. You can easily visit any of them during your stay and have a fabulous time. However, if you are looking for something specific within a beach, I have a couple of recommendations. Po’ipu Beach is perfect for families who want to swim, snorkel, and see turtles sunbathing on the sand. Salt Pond Beach Park is another family-friendly beach. It is all about the water sports over at Kalapaki Beach, though. If you want to learn how to surf or do a little wave riding or simply want to swim, canoe or sail, Kalapaki Beach is the spot for your family!
Gorgeous views, an abundance of wildlife, and the Kilauea Lighthouse are all waiting for you at the Kilauea National Wildlife Refuge. While the kids probably won’t be thrilled with a lighthouse constructed back in 1913, they will love the wide-open spaces for wandering around. Plus, the wildlife makes it an adventure! During your visit, you can potentially see the endangered Hawaiian goose, Hawaiian seabirds, Hawaiian monk seals, and green turtles. And if you plan your visit for the winter months, the humpback whales will be in the nearby water too.
If you are looking to see the island of Kauai from a different perspective, it is best to sign up for a helicopter tour. These tours are one of the best ways to see the waterfalls, Waimea Canyon, and the spectacular Napali Coast.
The very best hiking trails in Kauai can be found in Koke’e State Park. The most popular hiking trail is the Awa’awaphui Trail. This is a six-mile trail that offers gorgeous views of the Napali Coast once you reach the overlook. The Nua’lolo Trail is another fantastic hiking trail in Koke’e State Park. It is approximately seven and a half miles long and is challenging. You can tackle both trails in one day by doing the full loop. However, make sure you leave early enough in the day because it is a true daylong hike.
Another unique way to see the island of Kauai, especially the Napali Coast, is via boat. I can help you find a boat tour that is perfect for your family. Whether you want to snorkel, kayak, or simply take a scenic cruise, there is a boat tour along the Napali Coast for you!
There may be multiple waterfalls on the island of Kauai, but not many of them are easily accessible. You can actually drive to Wailua Falls. Make sure you take your camera with you, though, because you won’t want to miss out on having pictures of this majestic place.
Kids of all ages will love watching the water shoot up from the ground at the Spouting Horn Blowhole. This blowhole is similar to a geyser and is just as unpredictable. You never know when the water will erupt into the air, so you may need to wait patiently at the viewpoint for a little bit.
These are only a few of the best things to do in Kauai during your next family vacation. I have so many other ideas I can share with you as we are planning your Kauai itinerary.
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