Kauai is the perfect getaway destination. It’s the fourth largest Hawaiian Island and boasts a population of 67,000 people. Kauai is less traveled than the other popular Hawaiian locations – Maui, Honolulu, and Oahu – but don’t let that dissuade you, Kauai has plenty to offer.

We visited Kauai in 2013 for our honeymoon. Since then, we sent about a half dozen friends and acquaintances to the island to discover this treasure for themselves. Here is a list of our top recommendations if you go!

Guide Book

Before I go on about the cool activities to do, you may want to invest in the Kuaia Guide book. It’s easily the best guide book you can get for the island. 


We rented two pairs from Boss Frogs for a whole week. They’re all over the island – approximately $70 a week/person. Just left them in our car and took them to every beach on the island. Boss Frogs also has plenty of other beach gear that you can rent for your visit as well. Hint – it’s a bit easier to enter the ocean in deeper water that is not turbulent.

Kayak the Wailua River

There are plenty of guides that you can book for kayaking the river, but the guides are not necessary. Here is the link to the group we used. If you go alone, just go up the river and stay to the right where it forks. You’ll be able to see where the guides take everyone to the falls. The size of fall is based on rainfall – it was kinda sad when we saw it because there was a drought – $40-60 a kayak. You can also get a paddleboard if you prefer.

Waimea Canyon

Waimea Canyon is awesome! You have to go see it. It’s like a baby Grand Canyon, and there are plenty of hikes. There are also a few lookout points for those who do not want to hike. If you go, drive all the way to the end for a spectacular experience.

Deep Sea Fishing

If there were ever a place to go deep sea fishing, Hawaii is the place to do it. The biggest game fish are all found in Kauai – swordfish, marlins, tuna – you name it they have it. If you’re lucky, you might even see a whale shark or migrating whale. When we went fishing, we got to take home about 15-20lbs of fresh tuna, which kept us fed for the whole week. 


We booked a place on the south side right next to Poipu Beach called, Surf School. It was a blast- $70ish per person. Very easy. The north shores have the big waves. I personally think the north shore beaches are prettier, but the south beaches offer calmer waves, which are perfect for beginners like Katy and me.

Hike Sleeping Giant

Located right next to Wailua River in Kapaa, Sleeping Giant is a 2 mile hike. If you see it from a distance, you’ll know why it gets its namesake. Make sure to stay on the trail, as there are a lot of goat paths. A goat’s path is a trail created by goats – it looks just like the trail but leads to nowhere. Once you make it to the end of the trail there is a picnic area and a sign that says it’s the end of the trail. IGNORE IT. Go about 0.1 miles more to see an awesome 360 view. A local told us about it and took us to the spot. Best view we had of the entire island.

Sunset Cruise

One of the best ways to see the epic Nāpali Coasts is to take a sunset cruise. Blue Dolphin is the company we used. They were great, Hawaiian food, tons of breath taking sights of the Nāpali Coast, beer and cocktails. $100-150 per person. The salted pork is particularly good.

Other items to put on your list:

Tree tunnel in Koloa. We loved it – but it may not be worth a trip in itself.

Go to Spouting Horn. Just like old faithful, but with the ocean.

Check out one of the Botanical Gardens on the island. Kauai is know as the garden island. 

See dozens of turtles in the small cove between the Puuholo Road and Ho’onani Road. in Koloa near Poipu Southside. It’s unmarked, and there is a small access ramp next to the right on Ho’onani Rd. Go down and take a right into the cove. just walk along the coastal rocks. Here is the precise location: The turtles come into the cove each day to wash their faces in the freshwater stream at the point of the cove.

Hints: Do not drink coffee when you are going to the beach, getting on a boat, or snorkeling.  You’ll be more prone to becoming seasick. Bring some earplugs for the chickens, and leave them alone. Some of those birds are pretty scary. They escaped after a bad storm and now they run all over the island and wake people up at 5 am. We were lucky. Our place, Coastline Cottages, somehow escaped all the chickens.

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