If you’re looking for a vacation that features every component of paradise you can imagine, you’ve probably already considered going to Hawaii.
However, there are multiple islands to choose from.
That said, Kauai is definitely one of the most enchanting islands in all of Hawaii.
Activities in Kauai will have you bursting with energy and an abundance of appreciation.
We’ve compiled a list of awesome things to do in Kauai just for you.
Things To Do In Kauai
1. Koke’e State Park
Head northwest in Kauai, and you’ll come to one of the best places in Hawaii for natural wonders.
You can enjoy sights that are both grandiose as well as ones that are a bit more subtle but still very moving.
There are more than a dozen hiking trails to choose from, and each will give you a distinct view of the park.
Coming to Koke’e State Park is one of the best things to do in Kauai for nature enthusiasts.
If you love trees, you’ll love seeing ones like the Acacia koa.
Then, there are the aerial views you get of the Na Pali Coast.
Rain can be heavy in this area, so make sure you’re packed with a poncho and/or umbrella.
If you really feel like roughing it in Kauai, you can spend a night camping at Koke’e State Park.
Spending time here is very satisfying and even quite emotional.
Koke’e State Park is definitely of the best places to visit in Kauai.
Address: Kokee Rd, Hwy 550, Kekaha, Kauai, HI 96796, USA
2. Queen’s Bath
It’s not very often that you hear the word “sinkhole” used in conjunction with something positive.
However, that’s the case when you’re at Queen’s Bath in Kauai.
This is one of the best spots to visit in Hawaii if you just want to unwind.
However, be advised: you’ll need to make a bit of effort to get here.
A tide pool/sinkhole in Princeville, Queen’s Bath is named for a now-defunct area in Kalapana.
You should indeed feel like royalty when you’re at this site.
You’ll need to reach it on foot, but it’s only about ten minutes of walking.
Once you reach Queen’s Bath, you’ll feast your eyes upon gorgeous waters and unique fish and feel the relaxation melt over you.
You should make sure to stay alert for rough waves, as there have been cases of people drowning or dying in other ways due to the intensity of these waves.
It’s best to not come here in the winter, as that’s when the waves are roughest.
This Kauai encounter must be savored in its full essence.
Address: Kapiolani Loop, Princeville, HI 96722, USA
3. Kalalau Trail
Among the top things to do in Kauai is to take a hike on the Kalalau Trail.
This goes along the Na Pali Coast and is so very swoon-worthy, you might never have another hike that matches it.
Although the Kalalau Trail is gorgeous, it also requires lots of vigilance, as the terrain can become difficult to navigate.
It’s 22 miles to the end of the trail and back, so it’s expected that you’ll bring some camping supplies with you if you want to see the entire trail.
Some of the trails, such as the one that reaches Hanaokoa Falls, are particularly tough to get through.
You’ll also have to go through the Kalalau stream in order to reach Kalalau Beach.
Points of interest like a massive waterfall make the Kalalau Trail one of the best Kauai attractions.
It definitely has some intensity about it, but if you’re able to take responsibility for yourself on your journey, you can make it through.
The Kalalau Trail is ideal for anyone who wants to see nature in a unique light.
4. Allerton Garden
One of the most fun things to do in Kauai is to visit Allerton Garden.
This is an 80-acre botanical garden lies on Kauai’s southern shore.
Father and son Robert and John Gregg Allerton bought the land from Queen Emma of Hawaii more than 80 years ago.
Since then, this area has been teeming with charm and wonderful plants.
All kinds of great plants can be seen at Allerton Garden.
There’s bamboo, palms, cassia, and plenty more.
When you’re touring the area, it might look a little familiar.
That’s because Allerton Garden has been used in filming some of the biggest films of all-time, including “Jurassic Park.”
Going to Allerton Garden can be one of the best activities you enjoy in Kauai.
Hawaii is so full of splendorous sights, and many of them can be found here.
Allerton Garden is open every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Different tours are available throughout the day.
There’s also the post-closing “Twilight Tour.”
Address: 4425 Lawai Rd, Koloa, HI 96756, USA
One of the best free things to do in Kauai is to go spelunking.
That’s just a fancy way of saying “exploring caves.”
There are lots of great caves on this island, and you don’t have to worry about your vacation budget caving in either.
Caves in Kauai are divided between “wet caves” and “dry caves.”
Wet caves are named as such due to featuring underground springs that contribute pools.
You should admire these from a relative distance, as they’re not good for swimming.
Some of the Kauai wet caves are Waikanaloa Cave and Waikapalae Wet Cave.
A great dry cave is Maniniholo Dry Cave.
When you’re looking for things to see while in Kauai, you need to come to the caves.
6. Wailua Falls
If you love retro television, you might already know of Wailua Falls.
You can see it during the opening of “Fantasy Island.”
Beyond this claim to fame, this Kauai waterfall is one of the top places to visit in Hawaii.
To see this 173-foot waterfall, you’ll need to navigate with care.
You’ll need to travel a bit from the parking lot to experience a less-elevated climb.
You can also go for a swim below the falls
There are two tiers to Wailua Falls, which help to double its beauty.
This is one of the most breathtaking Kauai attractions.
The sound of the water flowing and the sights of the surrounding area make for such a great experience.
Address: Maalo Rd, off Hwy 580, Lihue, Kauai, HI, USA
7. Hanalei Bay
The beaches and mountains are some of the best parts of Kauai.
You can experience both of these at Hanalei Bay.
The biggest of the bays on Kauai’s north shore, Hanalei Bay is full of scenery and opportunities for fun activities on the water.
You can go for a great swim in Hanalei Bay as well as stand-up paddle-boarding and surfing.
The waves are at their best in wintertime.
If you’re interested in treasure hunting, you might be fascinated to know about the “Pride of Hawaii,” a sunken vessel owned by King Kamehameha II, which was excavated by the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian.
Hanalei Bay gives you so much of the greatness of Kauai. It’s also a fantastic place to take photos.
When you come to Hanalei Bay, you’ll see why it’s seen as one of the top Kauai attractions.
8. Fern Grotto
If you have romance on the mind, one of the top 10 things to do in Kauai is to come to Fern Grotto.
Visitors come to this site, a grotto rich with ferns, because of how much glory it possesses.
It has gone through some challenges, but perseverance and preservation have helped it to survive as one of the top parts of Kauai.
A great way to see Fern Grotto is through a boat tour.
The grotto can only be accessed in this way, but it can also be sighted from the observation deck, where many weddings take place.
This is because of safety.
There has also been a lot of damage suffered due to hurricanes. You’re not permitted to physically enter the grotto.
Although Fern Grotto might not be what it was once, it’s still a very beautiful part of Kauai.
Coming here should be on your Kauai to do list.
It’s definitely one of the coolest points of interest in Hawaii.
Address: Kapaʻa, HI 96746, USA
An area fit for royalty, Princeville is a great place for fun in Kauai.
Named for Prince Albert Kamehameha, who tragically died at the age of four, Princeville honors his memory quite beautifully.
This village gives you maximum Hawaii luxury.
When planning your trip to Kauai, you might choose to stay at the Princeville Resort.
This lodging will hopefully give you everything you anticipate for living in paradise.
There are lots of great ways to unwind in Princeville, such as going to the spa and playing golf.
Going to Princeville makes for a Hawaii experience that grows more pleasurable by the moment.
Even if you’re not able to spend all of your time here, you should definitely plan a visit to Princeville.
It’s got lots of fun and great people to share unforgettable experiences with.
10. Na ‘Aina Kai Botanical Gardens
A baker’s dozen of gardens can be seen at the Na ‘Aina Kai Botanical Gardens in Kauai.
Encompassing 240 acres, these gardens have some of the most striking vegetation you might’ve ever seen.
At Na ‘Aina Kai Botanical Gardens, your eyes can be opened impossibly wide by all of the wonders surrounding you.
All kinds of tours can be enjoyed at these Kauai gardens.
There’s the “Beach Walk” which takes you through the Formal Gardens and Kaluakai Beach.
There’s also “The Family Tour,” which goes through the Formal Gardens and Children’s Garden.
If you like challenges, you should try to make your way through the Poinciana Maze.
Prices vary for the tours at Na ‘Aina Kai Botanical Gardens.
However, you can be sure that they are worth their price.
These gardens are open Monday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Address: 4101 Wailapa Rd, Kilauea, HI 96754, USA
Exploring other areas of Hawaii? Why not check out some of the top things to do in Maui?
11. Larsen’s Beach
The reputation of Kauai as one of the most beautiful places in the US is helped by tourist attractions like Larsen’s Beach.
If you believe that you’ve already seen every beach you need to, you should quickly have your mind changed by Larsen’s Beach.
It’s sort of a hidden gem, but it might not stay that way much longer if word continues to spread.
Once you reach Larsen’s Beach, you’ll see why it’s such a special part of Hawaii.
The white sand is remarkable and heavenly.
It’s also used as a nude beach, so you might see some very free people, depending on when you come.
Larsen’s Beach is one of the most meditative spots in Hawaii.
If you need to clear your mind, you should definitely come to this beach.
It can also be a great area to explore with your spouse or partner.
Address: Larson Beach Road, Kilauea, Kauai, HI 96754, USA
12. Grove Farm Museum
Sugar cane is one of the biggest exports in Kauai and other parts of Hawaii.
At Grove Farm Sugar Plantation Museum, you can not only witness a gorgeous plot of land that’s still used for agriculture, but you can also learn about the incredible history of an incredible crop.
Tours of Grove Farm Sugar Plantation Museum take you through an area with more than 150 years of history behind it.
You can find out about the cultivation of sugar and see magnificent attractions like gardens and farm animals going about their business.
Try to think of questions that you might want to ask during the tour.
Groove Farm Sugar Plantation Museum is one of the sweetest experiences you can have while in Kauai.
It’s open for tours on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. These occur at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and last for two hours.
You’ll be asked to donate $20 for adults and $10 for children, age five to 12.
Address: 4050 Nawiliwili Rd, Lihue, HI 96766, USA
13. Kilauea Lighthouse
One of the best things to do in Kauai is to go to Kilauea Lighthouse.
It has sat on Kilauea Point for more than a century.
It has gone through a lot of changes in its history including becoming automated.
However, it remains one of the must see parts of Kauai.
Aside from the lighthouse, there’s also wildlife refuge to see distinct creatures like wedge-tailed shearwater and Laysan albatross.
The area lets you take in the North Shore coast in a phenomenal fashion.
It’d be so wonderful if all tourist attractions everyone could be as great as Kauai ones like this.
Kilauea Lighthouse serves multiple purposes, from navigation assistance for ships to being a great place to wander about and cherish the moment.
It’s open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
It costs $10, but those 15 and younger get in for free.
This Kauai lighthouse shines bright as a symbol of the region’s strength.
Address: 3580 Kilauea Rd, Kilauea, HI 96754, USA
14. Waioli Huiia Church
The land of Hawaii is so incredible, it deserves to be fitted with buildings that are just as noteworthy.
Coming to the Waioli Huiia Church is one of the best things to do in Kauai.
It’s a one-of-a-kind sightseeing opportunity.
Waioli Huiia Church is nearly 200 years old.
It started as a mission and has continued to be a refuge for the faithful and those who are looking to renew or begin a bond with Christ.
It has an amazing juxtaposition, as it sits in front of waterfall-rich mountains.
Hurricanes haven’t been enough to stop Waioli Huiia Church from being one of the top points of interest in Kauai.
If you’re looking for things related to faith, you have to check out this church.
Attending a 10 a.m. service on Sunday is one of the best free things to do in Kauai.
Address: 5 Kuhio Hwy #5363A, Hanalei, HI 96714, USA
15. Wailua River State Park
A great attraction in the eastern part of Kauai is Wailua River State Park.
You can explore the mighty Wailua River via boats, including kayaks and motorboats.
You can also see points of interest at this park that resonate greatly with those seek to know more about Kauai history.
The Wailua Complex of Heiaus is part of Wailua River State Park that gives a very unique education.
Some of the most significant parts of this complex include Holoholoku Heiau, meant for birthing and Bellstone, meant for announcements of birth.
Seeing these is one of the most unique things to do in Kauai.
Going to Wailua River State Park is especially fun if you enjoy activities like water skiing.
During a visit, you should do your best to give your respects for the land and the great people that have come before you to make it what it is.
This wouldn’t be one of the best parts of Kauai without others spreading positive influence upon it.
Address: Highway 56, Wailua, Kauai, HI, USA
16. Ha’ena State Park
The Kuhio Highway reaches its terminus at Ha’ena State Park, but the wonder of Kauai doesn’t stop here.
This is one of the most historically dense areas of Hawaii, with many points of interest going back to ancient times.
You can have beach excursions at Ha’ena State Park.
Ke’e Beach is great for snorkeling. However, you should be careful to avoid intense currents and waves during the winter.
The same goes for Haena Beach.
If you want to go hiking, you can take the 11-mile Kalalau Trail or the two-mile Hanakapia Falls trail.
You can also see the wet caves, which are estimated to be some 4,000 years old.
Ha’ena State Park is open every day from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
There’s no admission for Hawaii residents, but non-Hawaii residents get in for one dollar a person.
Address: End of Kuhio Highway, Hwy 56, Kauai, HI 96714, USA
Although Kapa’a the most populated town in Kauai, it’s not as though it’s a metropolis that takes you away from the relaxed charm and natural features of the island.
Kapa’a moves at a lovely pace.
It’s the perfect place to be for tourists who want to find out all about the Kauai way of life.
With a population less than 11,000, Kapa’a, Hawaii is full of small-town heart.
You can stay here long-term, at the Waipouli Beach Resort.
Otherwise, you can have a day trip and check out cool places to eat and shop.
You’ll definitely want to come here to get a view of the Sleeping Giant mountain formation.
Kapa’a is one of the most fun places to visit in Hawaii.
You can be really relaxed but never bored when you’re here.
If you’re looking for what to do in Kauai, you’ll definitely be able to have a great time in Kapa’a.
18. Hanalei Farmers Market
Being awake at 9:30 a.m on Saturday isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, but it’s worth it when you’re on Kauai, home to the Hanalei farmers market.
There are dozens of stands set up near Malolo Road.
When the weather is right (which is often), you’ll be glad you took the initiative.
A farmers market in a tropical environment like Hawaii can be a whole new experience for you.
You can try great tropical fruits like papaya and mango, with the sort of freshness that makes them even more succulent.
Lots of other great farm goods can be sampled and bought here.
Going to the Hanalei farmers market lets you dive into the culture of Kauai in just a few hours.
It’s one of the best places to go to in Kauai.
Hanalei farmers market is open every Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to noon.
Address: 5299 Kuhio Hwy, Ste 5, Hanalei, Kauai, HI 96714, USA
19. Sleeping Giant Hike
It’s definitely great to see Sleeping Giant from the vantage point of Kapa’a.
However, the experience of actually hiking this trail cannot go overstated.
When you traverse Sleeping Giant, you’ll also feel like a giant, but you definitely won’t be falling asleep.
Sleeping Giant rests on Nounou Mountain. At less than four miles, the distance isn’t too bad.
You do need to make sure you have shoes on with good traction.
Coming early in the morning helps you avoid the heat and see an amazing sunset.
Sleeping Giant is amazing to look at, to be on, and to just have on your mind.
It’s one of the top things to do in Kauai for those with an affinity for adventure.
When you’re at Sleeping Giant, every step can feel like a meaningful one.
Address: Haleilio Road, Nonou West Trail, Kapaa, Kauai, HI 96747, USA
20. Kamokila Hawaiian Village
One of the top things to do Kauai is to go to Kamokila Hawaiian Village.
This is what to do if you’re interested in the past.
It serves as a recreation of the kind of village you might have seen in Hawaii long ago.
You’ll see how Polynesians lived and worked through the various buildings, including many huts, a doctor’s house, and a hula house.
There’s also the surroundings, including spectacular plants such as breadfruit and hibiscus.
Plus, you can rent a canoe or take a dip in the swimming hole.
Going to Kamokila Hawaiian Village is one of the most fun things to do in Kauai.
Activities such as these help to keep you appreciative of the past and respect all the progress cultures have been able to make.
Kamokila Hawaiian Village is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children, age 5 to 12.
Address: 5523-5519 Kuamoo Rd, Kapaʻa, HI 96746, USA
Wailua is where the Kamokila Hawaiian Village resides.
This is like a village within a village, and Wailua is one of the most enchanting parts of Kauai, Hawaii.
When you’re here, you can enjoy a town full of character and smiles.
Refreshments are a large part of what makes Wailua such a popular part of Kauai.
You can get sushi at Kintaro or something heartier at Street Burger.
You should also try to pick up some shaved ice, as enjoying this treat is one of the top things to do in Kauai, and Wailua is one of the top places to get it.
Want to see a Hindu monastery?
There’s one in Wailua.
Want to find things to do in Kauai at night?
There are great drinks and a DJ spinning at Trees Lounge.
These, and plenty more, are both in Wailua.
If you fear you’ll ever not know what to do during your trip to Kauai, come to Wailua.
22. Kapa’a Bike Path
Hawaii is one of the best vacation spots in the world, and you should do all you can to experience it in as many ways as you can.
Riding down Kapa’a Bike Path is something you must do if you love cycling.
This is one of the top places to visit in Hawaii for recreation that’s good for you.
Cycling is one of several activities you can take part in at Kapa’a Bike Path.
You can also walk or run the path.
Bordered by the coast, it gives you a fabulous view.
With the right attitude, this won’t feel like any sort of work.
Riding a bike is something that you’re said to never forget how to do, and the same should hopefully go for riding down Kapa’a Bike Path.
If you thrive off being active, you’ll find lots of stuff to do in Kauai.
So much fun is possible when you just embrace the fresh air and all it can provide you.
23. Shipwreck’s Beach
This is a name that might give you concern if you’re commandeering a vessel.
Even if you’re not, it might still give you pause.
However, while the waves are intense, Shipwreck’s Beach is a great experience if you know how to keep your safety in mind.
If you’re looking for places to see amazing waves, you should come to this beach.
It’s one of the top tourist attractions in Kauai for surfers.
You should be prepared for seriously strong waves and riptide.
Should you have a day free, going to Shipwreck’s Beach can be an amazing time.
You just need to make sure you’re not putting yourself in any dangerous situations out on the water.
If you’re big on surfing, you should look into things to do in Honolulu, as the capital of Hawaii offers so many great opportunities to hang ten.
Address: End of Ainakoa St, Poipu, Kauai, HI 96756, USA
24. Kauai Museum
You may be filled with curiosity about the background of Hawaii.
Lots of questions can be answered at the Kauai Museum.
Coming here is what to do if you’re enthusiastic about education, whether you’re still in school or finished your studies years ago.
At this museum, you’ll get a strong understanding of Hawaii.
This includes learning about its history, terrain, and the culture of those of Kauai and Niihau.
There are three stories of exhibitions, inhabiting two buildings.
The Kauai Museum is one of the best things to see in Kauai.
This museum is open from Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $10 for students, age 8 to 17.
Children age 7 and younger are admitted for free.
Address: 4428 Rice St, Lihue, Kauai, HI 96766, USA
25. Waimea Canyon State Park
You’ll hear the phrase “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” to describe Waimea Canyon State Park.
This isn’t to say it’s a lesser version of one of the US’s greatest wonders.
It’s a substantial and beautiful piece of Kauai, Hawaii that should be on the top of your list of things to check out while in Kauai.
The sight of Waimea Canyon should be enough to make you eternally grateful for your eyesight.
It has an amazing array of colors on it.
You can explore this Kauai park through great hiking trails, but you need to be sure to not go off-course.
Waimea Canyon State Park is one of the most amazing things to see in Hawaii.
You will have a sight that is astounding to viewers both young and old.
At Waimea Canyon State Park, you can see Kauai, Hawaii in an awe-inspiring way.
Address: Waimea Canyon Dr, Waimea, HI 96796, USA
26. Spouting Horn
Many of the best free things to do are ones that nature brings to you.
In Kauai, Hawaii, you don’t have to pay to get some of the top entertainment on the entire island.
This comes in the form of Spouting Horn and its powerful bursts of water.
On the south shore of Kauai, Spouting Horn is the result of waves being subducted beneath a lava shelf.
However, they still need somewhere to go, and their release happens via being burst out above the surface.
This can happen in blasts that go as high as 50 feet.
Knowing how Spouting Horn works doesn’t make this Kauai, Hawaii feature any less special.
It’s one of the top natural attractions in Hawaii.
If you want to see things that are amazing and free in Kauai, come to Spouting Horn.
It can also be very beautiful to experience at night.
Address: South Shore, Poipu, Kauai, HI, USA
27. Tree Tunnel
You’ve seen trees before, and you’ve driven through tunnels, but have you ever experience both at once?
When reaching the South Shore of Kauai, you can take the wondrous Maliuhi Road Tree Tunnel.
It’s a mile of arboreal wonder.
This Kauai tunnel is made up of eucalyptus trees.
It’s a great thing to check out, even if you’re not taking a car.
However, you shouldn’t be walking in it, due to the number of cars and lack of walkability.
Give yourself a safe distance from inside the tunnel and look for good photo compositions.
The Maliuhi Road Tree Tunnel is one of the most fun things to experience in Kauai.
You can stay focused on the road while also appreciating how sublime this tunnel is.
This is a drive that will definitely be over too soon.
Address: 520 Maluhia Rd, Koloa, Kauai, HI 96756, USA
28. Whale Watching
Whales are such powerful species, both in size and in beauty.
One of the best things to do while in Kauai is to go whale watching.
With Kauai whale watching, you can take a trip that lets you see these indescribably unique creatures as they are.
These Kauai tours are only available during the winter.
That’s because this is when Pacific humpback whales make their way to the waters around Hawaii to mate and give birth.
You’ll be able to observe them without disturbing them. You might also witness some dolphins.
Whale watching in Kauai is an experience that is fun and very special.
You can have such a great time seeing these species move about.
It’s among the best ways to spend your time in Kauai.
One of the top parts of a Hawaiian experience is going to a luau.
The images of hula dancers, roasted pig, and plenty of leis are familiar to even those who know barely anything about Kauai or Hawaii.
A great one to experience in Kauai is the Smith Family Garden Luau.
At this Kauai luau, you’ll be at the residence of the Smiths, who have decades of luau-hosting experience.
It’s a spectacular and festive time, with lots of dancing, including a fire knife dance.
You’ll also have to make sure to try as much of the food as possible, especially the Teriyaki beef.
It’s one of the top ways to enjoy a night in Kauai.
Address: 3-5971 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaa, Kauai, HI 96746, USA
30. Lawai International Center
If you want to free yourself of stressors that are complicating your life, you might take some inspiration from the Lawai International Center.
This is a Buddhist temple, located in the southern area of Kauai.
It’s a very significant area, as it’s among the longest-standing Buddhist temples in the United States.
It’s important to come to this Kauai site with no specific expectations.
You can have intentions that you hope to meet, but not putting pressure on yourself can help to free you of your pain, especially if it concerns things that are outside of your control.
You might try doing some research on Buddhism before coming to the Lawai International Center.
Tours are available on the second and final Sunday of each month.
Tours take place at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., and 2 p.m.
Address: 3381 Wawae Rd, Kalaheo, Kauai, HI 96741, USA
Start Planning Your Trip To Kauai
Going to Kauai is one of the top ways to experience Hawaii.
Day and night, there are incredible things to do and see.
Make plans for a trip to Kauai, and you’ll have a vacation that redefines what “paradise” means to you.