Hawaii’s “Garden Isle” offers endless opportunities for adventure on land, by sea and in the air. Before you start exploring, ask the concierge for an island orientation, where knowledgeable local staff will share their favorite beaches, hiking trails, must-see sights and other local recommendations.
The scenic beaches are home to infamous waves and iconic surfing legends. Favorite spots for surfing on the island include Poipu Beach, Salt Pond, Allerton’s, Kukuiula Harbor, Davidson’s at Kekaha, Pakalas, Lawai Beach (also called P.K.’s Centers and Acid Drop), Shipwrecks Beach, Nawiliwili Harbor, Hanalei Bay, Tunnels Beach, and Cannons.
Kauai offers an abundance of sites to scuba dive for both beginners and experienced divers. Boat dives, night dives, and other dive tours offer plenty of sea life to discover, including cave exploration and lava tubes. Experienced divers will generally find more thrilling locations on the east and west shores, while those new to scuba are recommended to start on the north or south shores (Hanalei, Kee Beach, or Poipu Beach).
Ko’a Kea is located on Poipu Beach, one of Kauai’s beach beaches for snorkeling. Rent fins, a mask and snorkel from the on-site Hoku Watersports hut, and prepare to see colorful fish, monk seals, sea turtles and other tropical sea life just steps from your guestroom.
Avid snorkelers can enjoy a specially designed tour of the Napali coastline and the island of Niihau, experiencing views of sea caves, cascading waterfalls, the Napali coast trail, and remote beaches that mark this pristine wilderness area.
- Zip Line
With roughly 10 percent of the island accessible by road, hiking is a treasured way to tour the island’s pristine beaches and valleys. The abundance of Kauai’s trails range from easy to challenging and offer magnificent views. Notable trails on the island include Kuilau, Moalepe, Kalalau, Waimea Canyon, Kokee, and Powerline.
Biking trails on Kauai range from easy to challenging. Waimea Canyon offers only serious bikers the thrill of a lifetime. The canyon trail is a 100% downhill, exhilarating 13-mile ride down winding, paved roads from the rim of Waimea Canyon (elevation 3,500 feet) to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Bikers can also stop along the way for photos and the chance to learn about the history, culture, folklore, and legends of the area. Additionally, there are many flat roads available in the Poipu area for less experienced riders.
The complete beauty and essence of Kauai can only be recognized from a bird’s eye view. Helicopter tours allow visitors to view some of the most spectacular scenery anywhere on earth, including the Waimea Canyon, the Napali coast, and the waterfalls made famous in movies such as Jurassic Park and Fantasy Island. The highlight of the hour long flight is flying back into the “Blue Hole” in the heart of the Mt. Waiale’ale crater, where it seems that there are waterfalls in every direction.
Zip Line Tours
Put on a harness and soar over Kauai’s breathtaking valleys and streams, embarking on a series of zip line crossings. Walking through the treetops and over waterfalls on a suspension bridge gives new meaning to the term “suspension.” A series of zips and walks lead to an idyllic waterfall and swimming hole where the water is deep enough to jump into from surrounding rocks.
- Whale Watch
Kayaking on Kauai can be a peaceful experience or an exciting adventure. For gentler excursions, try the Wailua River to the famed Fern Grotto, or Huleia River from Nawiliwili Harbor to the Menehune Fishpond and beyond. The Hanalei River is the longest and allows kayaking through the plains. Ocean kayaking is a thrilling island activity, with options including the Poipu to Port Allen course with a stop in Lawai Bay or the Napali coast.
Relax and experience trade-wind sailing on a catamaran. When the winds permit, trips to the Napali coast, considered to be “The Jewel of Kauai,” are a perfect way to explore the 3,000 foot cliffs, green valleys, hidden beaches, secluded waterfalls, and breathtaking beauty.
Local crews will ensure a thrilling day of sport fishing with choices of four, six, or eight hour charters. Within minutes of leaving the slip, guests can be fishing some of the most active big game waters on Earth. Depending on the season, expect to catch Pacific Blue or Striped Marlin, Mahi Mahi, Ahi, Ono, and even the occasional Sailfish.
Any visit to Kauai from late November through early May is peak time for whale watching. While whales can be seen from shore, it is a much more intimate experience to take a boat tour to observe the whales in their natural habitat.