My Favorite Kauai Activities
Kauai is known for its beautiful, natural environment. Mt. Waialeale, a dormant shield volcano in the center of the island is one of the rainiest spots on earth. Due to all of this rainfall, Kauai is stunningly beautiful and has an abundance of outdoor activities. Here are our FIVE favorites.
Hike the Kalalau Trail;
The Kalalau Trail starts at the end of the road on Kauai’s North Shore in the parking lot at Ke’e Beach. It runs approximately 11 miles along the rugged Na Pali Coast to the Kalalau Beach. The trail provides the only land access to this part of the coast line. The only other way to reach sections of the trail are by boat at either Hanakapi’ai Beach or Kalalau Beach. This hike is often referred to as one of the most beautiful and most dangerous hikes in the world.
In my opinion there are really two ways to experience this hike. First, hike to Kalalau Beach. If you are planning to hike to Kalalau, you need to plan on staying overnight and getting a permit. You need a permit to hike past Hanakapi’ai regardless of whether you are camping or not. The second option is to hike either just to Hanakapi’ai Beach or turn right and continue up into the valley to Hanakapi’ai Falls. Hiking to the beach is 4 miles round trip and easily done in a day. Hiking to the falls is 8 miles round trip and is more strenuous.
Due to the nature of Kauai and the North Shore in particular, plan on getting wet. You will likely get rained on, walk through streams and be in an out of the mud. It is one of the most beautiful hikes that I have ever done and completely worth doing when you are on Kauai.
One word of caution, the trail can wash out easily so if you start to get lost or the rain gets too hard, turn around. Also, be sure to start early in the day as you do not want to get stuck in the dark on the trail if you are not camping. For more information visit; www.kalalautrail.com
2. Ride and ATV at Kipu Ranch Adventures
Kipu Ranch is in the center of Kauai and is easily reached from Lihue or Poipu. It is a large private working cattle ranch that has been the set of many movies from Jurassic Park to Indiana Jones. They also offer ATV Tours.
We did a half day ATV tour with a large group and it was SO fun!! They let you drive your own ATV all over the ranch. We got so dirty, drove up to Kipu Kai lookout and swung from the Indiana Jones Rope Swing. If you are looking for something really fun to do on Kauai, this is it!!!!
3. Take a Helicopter Ride
I am NOT a fan of helicopters or small planes for that matter. However, Nate REALLY wanted to do a helicopter ride. So much of Kauai is unaccessible by car, so it really is a great way to see everything. He finally talked me into it and although, I thought for sure that I was going to die, I didn’t. It ended up being completely worth it and I would totally do it again.
A couple of tips; try to sit up front. We got lucky and no one paid extra for the front seats, so we got randomly chosen. This made it SO much better because we literally had a front row seat to everything. It was SO cool. Also, try to go on a sunnyish day. Our day was pretty clear and so Mt Waialeale was cloud free so our pilot took us down into the crater. It was awesome. I strongly recommend that everyone try it at least once.
4. Surf Hanalei Bay
I love surfing. Everything about it. I grew up watching it and going out to the North Shore of Oahu to watch the contests. Even now, you can often times find me watching the WSL from my phone. Hanalei Bay is such a classic surf spot and a really great place to learn. There are several surf schools that give lessons in there and all are pretty good. We like Keegan from the Quicksilver shop. www.hawaiianschoolofsurfing.com
I went with my brother’s and sister’s in law a few years ago and Keegan gave us the best lesson. None of them had ever surfed before. It was a really calm day with very little swell, so after he was confident that they could stand, he decide that we were going to paddle out to the second reef. It was about a 20 minute paddle but the waves were so much better. We had the best time and it was such a cool experience for first time surfers to get to surf that reef. He even yelled at my brother in law a couple of times which is always a good thing.
5. Pier Jump at Hanalei Bay
The pier at Hanalei is so iconic. They even bring tour busses from the cruise ships to see it. It is perfect for jumping off. My kids can spend hours there, jumping and swimming it really is SO much fun.
Stay tuned tomorrow for my favorite Kauai restaurants…