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Tried & True Things to Do in Kauai

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Found this guide helpful

I've been to Kauai twice, most recently summer 2014, and loved it both times. It is an incomparably gorgeous garden spot, wide open for exploring. It is quieter, less developed and more pristine than some of the other islands. If you are adventurous, there's much to do and see, much of it free; and the things that cost are well worth the investment. What follows are some tried and true opportunities.

Good for
  • Nature Lover
  • Foodie
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Beach Goer
  • Thrifty Traveller

19 Places

5 City Tips

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Map

19 Places

Kauai Backcountry Adventures

Eco Tours

Waimea Canyon State Park

Canyons, Parks, State Parks

Sleeping Giant Trail

Hiking Trails, Lookouts

Kayak Wailua

Kayaking & Canoeing

Capt Andy's Sailing Adventures

Boat Tours

Na Pali Coast State Park

Nature & Wildlife Areas, State Parks

Allerton Garden

Gardens

Poipu Beach Park

Beaches, Parks

Tunnels Beach

Beaches

Keoki's Paradise

Restaurants

Roy's Poipu Bar & Grill

Restaurants

Merriman's Poipu

Restaurants

The Mediterranean Gourmet

Restaurants

Pizzetta

Restaurants

La Spezia Restaurant and Wine Bar

Restaurants

Kountry Kitchen

Restaurants

Lappert's Hawaii

Restaurants

Brennecke's Beach Broiler

Restaurants

The Shops at Kukuiula

Gift & Speciality Shops

eheyman's City Tips

  • If you purchase jars of exotic fruit jams, chutneys, or the locally distilled rum, do NOT try to take it home in your carry on. TSA keeps anything over 3 ounces.
  • Many hotels offer amazing views, art, architecture, restaurants, shopping & amenities. They are open to visiting, exploring & enjoying what they have to offer. If in doubt, ask.
  • If you need or forgot something, the Costco by the airport has a HUGE selection of low cost necessities, local souvenirs & products MUCH cheaper than you'll find in town>
  • > (Costco, pt 2) including towels, snorkeling gear, underwater digital cameras, beach wear, and macadamia nuts gift sets.
  • Check out the numerous farmers markets for free samples of exotic local produce.
  • Kauai Backcountry Adventures
    Eco Tours
    See more photos
    eheyman Says:

    The only way to see private parts of the interior, with a bonus activity (fluming) that cannot be beat.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Trendsetter
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • You WILL get wet. That's part of the fun.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 2 things to do in Hanamaulu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Mountain Tubing Adventure 13/11/2018
    • Tubing adventure 13/11/2018
    • Kauai Backcountry Adventures
    Address:
    Highway 56
    Hanamaulu, Kauai, HI 96715
    Phone:
    +1 808-245-2506
    Other:
  • Waimea Canyon State Park
    Canyons, Parks, State Parks
    See more photos
    eheyman Says:

    Incomparably beautiful sights that are a major reason for visiting Kauai. Avail yourself of the many, many hiking trails, and especially be sure to stop at the overlooks.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Timing is everything, and unpredictable. Plan to return if the valley is fogged in; or wait. When the fog lifts, you are in for spectacular vistas.
    • Drive the full route, all the way to the top. It's worth it.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 17 things to do in Waimea
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Grand Canyon of the pacific 12/11/2018
    • Wedding 09/11/2018
    • Waimea Canyon State Park
    Address:
    Waimea Canyon Dr
    Waimea, Kauai, HI 96796
    Phone:
    +1 808-274-3444
    Other:
  • Sleeping Giant Trail
    Hiking Trails, Lookouts
    See more photos
    eheyman Says:

    A great hike, not too strenuous with some wonderful views. For the intrepid, there's an additional spur at the end.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Carry water, and expect to be in and out of shade during the hike. There's some long up-hill parts (not daunting, but a little steep) so a walking stick helps.
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 18 things to do in Kapaa
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Nice Hike 11/11/2018
    • Senic Trail Easy for older people 07/11/2018
    • Sleeping Giant Trail
    Address:
    Haleilio Road
    Nonou West Trail
    Kapaa, Kauai, HI 96747
    Phone:
    +1 808-464-0840
    Other:
  • Kayak Wailua
    Kayaking & Canoeing
    See more photos
    eheyman Says:

    This is a spectacular adventure that combines kayaking with a jungle hike to a waterfall and lagoon. It poured the day we did it, and added to the fun. The guide is knowledgable, capable, and knows the path; so stay close.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Rain or shine, YOU WILL GET WET; hike fords a river and a trek though mud flats. Either bring shoes you don't mind tossing away, or use the throwaways they offer for free.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 52 Tours in Kapaa
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Heather and Charlie from Boston 12/11/2018
    • First time Kayaker 09/11/2018
    • Kayak Wailua
    Address:
    4565 Haleilio Rd
    Kapaa, Kauai, HI 96746-1312
    Phone:
    +1 808-822-3388
    Price range:
    US$50 - US$50
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    07:00 - 21:00
    Other:
  • Capt Andy's Sailing Adventures
    Boat Tours
    See more photos
    eheyman Says:

    A great way to see Na Pali Coast, snorkel AND get fed!

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Beach Goer
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • They provide clean snorkel gear.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 14 things to do in Eleele
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A wonderful tour 13/11/2018
    • Wonderful Time 13/11/2018
    • Capt Andy's Sailing Adventures
    Address:
    4353 Waialo Road #1A
    Eleele, Kauai, HI 96705
    Phone:
    +1 808-335-6833
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    06:30 - 18:00
    Other:
  • Na Pali Coast State Park
    Nature & Wildlife Areas, State Parks
    See more photos
    eheyman Says:

    Along with Waimea Canyon, one of the reasons people come to Kauai. Spectacularly gorgeous unsullied paradise accessible only by boat, hiking (strenuous hiking), or helicopter.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 1 things to do in Wainiha
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Best part of island. 06/11/2018
    • Amazing 29/10/2018
    • Na Pali Coast State Park
    Phone:
    +1 808-335-6833
    Other:
  • Allerton Garden
    Gardens
    See more photos
    eheyman Says:

    Gorgeous private garden provides a guided tour through local flora.

    Good for
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 17 things to do in Poipu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful highly recommended. 09/11/2018
    • Beautiful gardens 06/11/2018
    • Allerton Garden
    Address:
    4425 Lawai Road
    Poipu, Kauai, HI 96741
    Phone:
    +1 808-332-7324
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Poipu Beach Park
    Beaches, Parks
    See more photos
    eheyman Says:

    A great place to snorkel, especially with kids. Ample parking provides easy access; gentle water. Not the prettiest setting, but a great location to swim.

    Good for
    • Beach Goer
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Look for the sea turtles. They're there.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 17 things to do in Poipu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Lifeguard on duty 13/11/2018
    • So many people! 10/11/2018
    • Poipu Beach Park
    Address:
    Hoona Rd
    Poipu, Kauai, HI 96756
    Phone:
    +1 808-742-7444
    Other:
  • Tunnels Beach
    Beaches
    See more photos
    eheyman Says:

    Spectacularly gorgeous place to snorkel, literally at the end of the road. Good parking, easy access, calm water; incredible seascape.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Beach Goer
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Look for the sea turtles. They're there.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #27 of 239 things to do in Kauai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Not accessible by road until further notice. Road Closed 09/11/2018
    • Best snorkeling on the island!! 02/11/2018
    • Tunnels Beach
    Address:
    7640 Kuhio Hwy
    Kauai, HI 96714
  • Keoki's Paradise
    Restaurants (American, Bar, Seafood, Polynesian, Hawaiian)
    See more photos
    eheyman Says:

    Great food in a whimsical (but fabricated) island garden setting.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • There's a reason it's known for its fish. And the lava pie.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #36 of 453 restaurants in Kauai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Vacation 12/11/2018
    • Awesome vacation 10/11/2018
    • Keoki's Paradise
    Address:
    2360 Kiahuna Plantation Dr
    Poipu, Kauai, HI 96756-9552
    Phone:
    +1 808-742-7534
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    11:00 - 22:30
    Other:
  • Roy's Poipu Bar & Grill
    Restaurants (Seafood, Asian)
    See more photos
    eheyman Says:

    Higher end dining, exquisitely prepared, and so much better than the stateside branches.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • The fish. Go for the fish.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 restaurants in
    • Location Closed 22/04/2018
    • Family dinner 19/03/2018
    • Roy's Poipu Bar & Grill
    Address:
    2360 Kiahuna Plantation Dr
    Poipu Shopping Village
    Poipu, Kauai, HI 96756-9552
    Phone:
    +1 808-742-5000
    Price range:
    US$20 - US$40
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    17:30 - 21:30
    Other:
  • Merriman's Poipu
    Restaurants (American)
    See more photos
    eheyman Says:

    A great alternative to the higher priced restaurant upstairs; lighter faire.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • I returned for the fish tacos. They are that good.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #113 of 453 restaurants in Kauai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • The food is good the service isn’t 11/11/2018
    • Fine dining with a view 11/11/2018
    • Merriman's Poipu
    Address:
    2829 Ala Kalani Kaumaka St # G-149
    Koloa, Kauai, HI 96756-8571
    Phone:
    +1 808-742-8385
    Price range:
    US$25 - US$100
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    17:30 - 21:00
    Other:
  • The Mediterranean Gourmet
    Restaurants (French, Lebanese, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern)
    See more photos
    eheyman Says:

    Excellent cuisine with great views, and a great place to unwind after a day at Tunnels Beach.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    Tips
    • The appetizers are excellent and quite reasonably priced. You can make an inexpensive meal of them, like tapas.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 restaurants in
    • No longer open 14/08/2017
    • New place. Bad food 08/08/2017
    • The Mediterranean Gourmet
    Address:
    5-7132 Kuhio Highway
    Hanalei Colony Resort
    Hanalei, Kauai, HI 96714
    Phone:
    +1 808-826-9875
    Price range:
    US$14 - US$32
    Hours:
    Tue - Sun
    12:00 - 20:00
  • Pizzetta
    Restaurants (Italian, Pizza)
    See more photos
    eheyman Says:

    Excellent Italian food in Koloa Town, well worth the visit.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #76 of 453 restaurants in Kauai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Delicious pizza and drinks! 13/11/2018
    • Great Italian restaurant in Koloa Old Town 12/11/2018
    • Pizzetta
    Address:
    5408 Koloa Rd
    Koloa, Kauai, HI 96756-9421
    Phone:
    +1 808-742-8881
    Price range:
    US$8 - US$20
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    11:00 - 21:00
    Other:
  • La Spezia Restaurant and Wine Bar
    Restaurants (Italian, Wine Bar)
    See more photos
    eheyman Says:

    Excellent Italian food in Koloa Town, a tad more formal than Pizzetta (which is just down the block) but also a bit more elegant and refined.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    From the community
    Ranked #28 of 453 restaurants in Kauai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Don't miss this place! 12/11/2018
    • Excellent Italian Meal at Reasonable Prices 10/11/2018
    • La Spezia Restaurant and Wine Bar
    Address:
    5492 Koloa Rd
    Koloa, Kauai, HI 96756-9421
    Phone:
    +1 808-742-8824
    Price range:
    US$8 - US$25
    Hours:
    Sun
    08:00 - 13:00
    Sun - Sat
    17:00 - 22:00
    Tue
    08:00 - 11:30
    Wed
    08:30 - 11:30
    Thu - Sat
    08:00 - 11:30
    Other:
  • Kountry Kitchen
    Restaurants (American, Cafe, Hawaiian)
    See more photos
    eheyman Says:

    A local foodie adventure on many people's "must-do" list - comparable to IHOP or Denny's faire but so much better and with an Island twist.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • The pancakes are massive.
    From the community
    Ranked #48 of 453 restaurants in Kauai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Hearty portions! 12/11/2018
    • Best Crispy Hashbrowns! 08/11/2018
    • Kountry Kitchen
    Address:
    1485 Kuhio Hwy
    Kapaa, Kauai, HI 96746
    Phone:
    +1 808-822-3511
    Price range:
    US$10 - US$10
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    06:00 - 13:30
    Other:
  • Lappert's Hawaii
    Restaurants (Hawaiian)
    See more photos
    eheyman Says:

    Ice cream to die for. It's that good. Really. And only available here.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Multiple locations, so you have no excuses to try at least once.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #18 of 453 restaurants in Kauai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • All time favorite ice cream in Kauai 11/11/2018
    • Great treat 10/11/2018
    • Lappert's Hawaii
    Address:
    4425 Ala Kalanikaumaka
    Kukuiula Shopping Village
    Koloa, Kauai, HI 96756
    Phone:
    +1 808-742-1272
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    06:00 - 23:00
    Other:
  • Brennecke's Beach Broiler
    Restaurants (American, Bar, Seafood, Soups, Hawaiian)
    See more photos
    eheyman Says:

    Pub faire across the street from Poipu beach; views during the day; nothing spectacular but well done for what it purports. Gets crowded, but you can stumble in after a long beach day after the rush and get in.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Beach Goer
    • Senior
    • Family
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #108 of 453 restaurants in Kauai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great view and location 13/11/2018
    • Fun fare after snorkeling 12/11/2018
    • Brennecke's Beach Broiler
    Address:
    2100 Hoone Rd
    Poipu, Kauai, HI 96756-9716
    Phone:
    +1 808-742-7588
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    11:00 - 22:00
    Other:
  • The Shops at Kukuiula
    Gift & Speciality Shops
    eheyman Says:

    Upscale open mall with some great dining opportunities; and a market with lots of local produce and an amazing selection of beers.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Family
    Tips
    • Farmers market some days. Check their schedule.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 16 Shopping in Koloa
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Nice Upscale Shopping Area 16/10/2018
    • Stroll, Eat, Shop 13/09/2018
    • The Shops at Kukuiula
    Address:
    2700 Ke Alaula St
    Koloa, Kauai, HI 96756-8588
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 21:00
    Other:
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