Kauai Island is the fourth largest Hawai’ian island in the United States. It is also the oldest, having been formed through vulcanology around 6 million years ago. It is located 109 miles northwest of the island of O’ahu, across the Kaua’i Channel.
HOW TO GET TO AND AROUND KAUAI ISLAND
Lihu’e Airport is the gateway to Kauaʻi. Lihuʻe Airport has direct routes to Honolulu, Kahului/Maui, the US mainland, and Vancouver, Canada. The airport is on the east side of the island and is linked to the rest of the island by Highway 50.
There is a network of roads on Kaua’i, and there are 9 bus routes that serve the island. You can also rent a car at the airport if you prefer to have your own transportation.
WHAT TO DO ON KAUAI ISLAND
Kauai is definitely known for nature, from the stunning beaches to picturesque canyons, waterfalls, and more. Kaua’i is home to several state parks, including (but not limited to) Na Pali Coast, Polihale, Ha’ena, and Waimea Canyon State Parks.
Visit the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Reserve.
Kilauea Point is home to many endangered Hawai’ian species, some of the largest populations of nesting seabirds, and native Hawai’ian plants. Albatross nest here, and its entirely possible to see these gentle giants as they swoop through the air on the wind. Go for those as well as the extraordinary backdrop of cliffs plunging into the turquoise seas, the lighthouse, and the dolphin sightings.
Hike the Sleeping Giant.
One of the trails in the Nounou Mountains, the Sleeping Giant offers up incredible views of the coastline and mountains. Can be muddy and slippery after a rainfall, but the hike otherwise isn’t too strenuous. It’s about 2 miles to the top, where you can sit for a breather with lunch. Go for sunrise if you’re an early riser.
Swim at Wailua Falls.
Photo credit robertshawaii.com
The view of the waterfall might be enough for some people, but those more adventurous souls can hike down from the parking area and swim in the pool at the base of the falls. Perfect on a hot day!
Photo credit traveldigg.com
Hike the Maha’ulepu Coastal Trail.
This quiet trail is an easy, 2 mile, coastal walk through lava fields and native vegetation. It is on the south coast and generally is free from the crowds. No shade, so take water and a hat and lather up on the sun cream.
Visit the tiny town of Hanalei.
This little missionary town has a National Historic Site – the church that sits beneath the mountains. It’s worth a quick visit to learn about the 19th century in Hawai’i. The town also boasts a farmers market, complete with fresh coconuts, mangoes, and more.
Explore the Waimea Canyon.
Take a full day to explore not just the canyon lookout point, but also hike the cliff/canyon trail. Further down the road is Koke’e State Park, and if you have the time it is worth doing both. Be sure to hike to both lookout points.
WHERE TO STAY ON KAUAI ISLAND
You will find mostly resorts on the Hawai’ian islands, but this isn’t all bad. The resorts are scattered around the island (but the island is only 562 square miles.) Hotel chains like Marriot, Sheraton, Hilton, Weston, and Hyatt all have resorts on the island, if you have points with any of these it may be worth redeeming them!
If you prefer budget accommodation, check out these few places below.
Kaua’i Beach House Hostel, 4-1552 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaa, HI 96746, USA
Hanalei Surfboard House, 5459 Weke Rd, Hanalei, HI 96714, USA
Honu’ea International Hostel, 4532 Lehua St, Kapaa, HI 96746, USA
Photo credit kauaiislandvacations.com