If you're planning a visit to Hawaii, the highlight of your trip is likely to be your time spent on the green, lush "Garden Isle" of Kauai. If you're not already familiar with Kauai, what are some must-do experiences on this beautiful haven? Here are the top picks for any budget.
See Waimea Canyon. The "Grand Canyon of the Pacific"—Waimea Canyon—is perfect for any visitor to the island. You can drive through the 3,500-foot-deep gorge and enjoy the various lookout points (and picture yourself in Jurassic Park, which was filmed in the area) or take off on a day hike into its lush, green interiors. The clouds move fast, so be sure to pick a clear day and have some patience in order to catch the breathtaking vistas.
Check Out Na Pali. "The Cliffs" of Na Pali offer what's generally considered the best of Kauai's natural beauty. As with Waimea, you can drive along this part of the northwest of the island or get out and hike for a while to get a close-up view. The hiking is more strenuous here due to the rugged terrain, so don't venture too far unless you're an experienced hiker. Want to have a fun adventure? Opt for an alternative view: such as kayak and boat trips or a fabulous helicopter tour.
Hit the Beach. Beaches on Kauai are plentiful, but their choppy waters may not be safe for swimming. If you're a sun worshiper, be sure to soak it up on Lumahai Beach (famous from the film, South Pacific), the magnificent Po'ipu Beach, or the quieter Kalapaki Beach. If you want to get into the gorgeous Pacific Ocean waters, head to Hanalei Bay instead and use the public access points at Wai'oli Beach Park or Hanalei Beach Park.
Get Some Kauai Souvenirs. Kauai boasts a few one-of-a-kind industries that make for great souvenirs. Be sure to eat a fresh Hawaiian pineapple or two while you're there, and take one home for a treat later. (Look for pre-packaged pineapple sets that have been specifically approved to be shipped as cargo on your flight home.) Follow that up with Kauai's famous and award-winning Koloa Rum. Want a more long-lasting Hawaiian souvenir? Look for Dirt Shirts—red souvenir shirts dyed with the volcanic soil that stains much of the western island's ground red—or a traditional, handmade shell lei from the nearby small island of Niihau. For more ideas on Hawaiian souvenirs, check out companies like Marue & Gertz Ltd.
No matter whether you only have a day or two on this green island or a whole week, you'll find an endless variety to see and do on Kauai.