Kauai Vacations

When Hollywood producers need a backdrop for any movie that requires a stunningly beautiful tropical setting (think "Jurassic Park" or "Raiders of the Lost Ark"), Kauai often gets the nod. In addition to the more subdued activities that vacationers find on every island, such as snorkeling and sunbathing, many visitors to Kauai find that hiking and ... Read more
exploring the interior of the island are worthwhile things to do. Most visitors make a beeline to the Na Pali Coastline with its sheer cliffs, dramatic beaches and cascading waterfalls; certainly one of the island’s highlights. To get a look at it all from another perspective, helicopters are available for aerial touring of the cliffs at surprisingly low rates. Tourism here centers on the town of Lihue, which serves as a capital of sorts for the island. Some of the best food here comes from the sea, but barbequed pig at any luau is also a delicacy. Many hotels here are simpler than those, say, on Maui or Oahu, but most visitors are here for the natural environment and not drinks served out of a coconut.
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Kauai places to stay and top hotels

Kauai things to do and experiences

  • Waimea Canyon
    (165)
    Outdoors, Scenic Lookout
    Popular withOutdoorsyAdventure
  • Wailua Falls
    (144)
    Hiking and Nature, Scenic Lookout, Park, Waterfall
    Popular withOutdoorsyAdventure
  • Hanalei Bay
    (110)
    Outdoors, Beaches and Watersports, Lake
    Popular withOutdoorsyFamilies
  • Nā Pali Coast State Wilderness Park
    (105)
    Outdoors, Hiking and Nature, Snorkeling, Hiking Trail, Scenic Lookout, Park
    Popular withAdventureOutdoorsy

Photos

Kauai

Weather

Depending on where you are on the island, temperatures range from 70 to 85 (21 to 29) year-round. The west and south areas of the island are normally hot and dry, while the east and north are cooler, with the ... Read more
Poipu Coast reigning in the most sun. Ironically, most visitors don’t come to Kauai when weather is at its best; instead, they travel when the weather at home is at its worst. That’s why peak season is in the winter (mid-December to March), meaning flights, car rentals and resort prices are at its highest. The better time to visit is in the spring and fall, when the weather is gorgeous and hotel rates and airfare are significantly lower.

Top Kauai restaurants

Kauai

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Kauai reviews & trip reports

  • 9.8
    Adventure Travelers
  • 9.5
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
  • 9.3
    Family Travelers
  • 6.8
    Backpackers
  • 6.5
    Luxury Travelers

Member Reviews(119)

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Palo Alto, California

CHICKENS! So many chickens! I love the wildlife and cute stores everywhere. Wish I could go there every break.

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Menlo Park, California

Gorgeous scenery and weather! So many waterfalls and green scenery! I suggest hiking to some of the waterfalls because they are very pretty and peaceful

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I visit every year for at least a couple weeks and there is no where else that I would rather be. Just a great place.

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Pro 2018
Miravet, Spain

The most naturally splendid and epic of all of the Hawaiian islands - also geologically the oldest. Thankfully the scourge of sprawling resort hotels and condo buildings has been confined to relatively few parts of the island - so if you want that Disney-fied interpretation of island culture, you'd best head to one of the other islands. Nature just speaks for itself here and it's both abundant and breathtakingly beautiful. It's no coincidence that while visitors often like to talk about which is the best of the islands, this is the one that captivates people so much, they just keep coming back.

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Idyllwild

I think the best island of all of them. You want to think of Hawaii think of Kawai is the answer

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We visited in early November. Stayed at the Point at Poipu. Weather was surprisingly hot for a "winter" season. Had the unexpected occasional "nuisance" showers=liquid sunshine=rainbows. Fortunately, not a single mosquito! Not too crowded, easy to get around, had a very good time and will definitely return!

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The blue water and high waves are so beautiful. The brown sand and the wildlife on the beach was amazing

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Pro 2018
Menlo Park, California, USA

Kauai is arguably the most beautiful of all the Hawaiian Islands, which is why it is the backdrop for so many movies. Cascading waterfalls, deep green jungles, turquoise waters. Kauai is less developed than Maui, so fewer choices for restaurants, shopping or nightlife. But what it lacks in the man made world nature more than compensates for. The north shore is far and away the most scenic - from Princeville to Wainiha - this is the setting for movies from Jurrasic Park to the Descendents,

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Local from Koloa, Hawaii

Kauai Snorkel has the newest masks for Snorkeling check them out! You can talk and breath easy while checking out the sea life under water. Easy to adjust with out the headache of fixing the strap of a regular snorkel mask.

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San Francisco, California, USA

One of the most beautiful spots on Earth. My top things to do in Kauai are:

-The Kalalau Trail and Hanakapi'ai Falls
- Brunch at Makana Terrace at the St. Regis in Princeville either before or after you tackle the Kalalau Trail
-Skydiving over the island with Skydive Kauai
-Kauapea Beach (which is also known as Secret Beach) in Kalihiwai
-The Kipu Falls Rope Swing
-Wandering around Hanalei Bay (especially Bubba’s Burgers and the Ching Young Village Shopping Center)
-Eating “special” saimin at Hamura’s Saimin Stand
-Spouting Horn in Po’ipu
-Waimea Canyon
-Eating at Puka Dogs in Poipu
-Kauai Aadheenam (Kauai's Hindu Monastery) near Wailua and Kapa’a

GOOD TO KNOW
• Listen to Hawaiian music on your rental car radio.
• Drink fresh coconut water straight from the source (it makes for a great photo and tastes yummy), eat tons of Hawaiian shave ice with macadamia nut ice cream and get a few Mai Tais.
• Kauai has notorious red dirt that stains, so don’t wear shoes you love. Especially white sneakers. They'll just get trashed.
• Keep sneakers in your car. If you go to Queen’s Bath, the lava rocks are too slippery for flip flops and you’ll rip your feet up if you go barefoot. (I learned that the hard way.) The Kalalau Trail is gorgeous, but muddy and slippery so you need sneaks there too.
• Lots of movies were filmed in Kauai (King Kong, Raiders of the Lost Arc, etc.).
• It’s actually illegal to take shells from the beach.
• Wild roosters are all over the place and they crow constantly (ask your hotel for a room away from the roosters before you arrive). The roosters also don’t seem to know that cars can run them over, so they will play chicken with you in the road.
• There’s a Walmart in Lihue. Stop there before you go for gifts. They have chocolate covered macadamia nuts, leis, etc. that are the same as the overpriced ones in the shops. There’s also a Safeway in Waipouli which is just after Kapa’a which is where I got a kukui nut lei and is another good bet for supplies.

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