Maui’s pristine beaches and Oahu’s sparkling city skyline are world-famous, and the number of visitors every year reflects their fame. But Hawaii has another secret island that lies just north…

When planning a trip to Hawaii, most visitors stick to the most famous islands, but Kauai still feels like an under-the-radar destination where the pace is slower and you can feel the “aloha spirit” in the ocean breeze. Known as the “Garden Island,” Kauai is a lush, tropical paradise that truly lives up to its nickname. If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway where you can live the “Kauai-et life,” this island is the destination for you.

Couple laughing and walking in Kauai Hawaii

On sunny days…

Sunshine and Hawaii are basically interchangeable terms, and you’ll find the most sunshine on the south and west shores. We don’t think any trip to the Hawaiian Islands can be called a success without walking barefoot in the sand at least once a day. There are endless stunning beaches to explore, from small hidden gems to equally beautiful world-famous spots. Hanalei Bay is one of the most iconic beaches on Kauai, with the famous pier stretching into the water. Surrounded by mountains, waterfalls and frequent rainbows, you could spend hours watching beginner surfers riding the gentle waves. In the quaint town of Hanalei, the Hanalei Bread Company is a go-to spot for quick breakfast and lunch bites, and Bar Acuda is a chic dinner restaurant with beautiful views of the mountains from their outdoor seating.

Turquoise waters

Poipu Beach is another famous destination on the island, known for the chain of kid-friendly lagoons and panoramic views of the turquoise waters, while Tunnels Beach feels more like a hidden secret with some of the best snorkeling in Hawaii. The Kailua Lighthouse Hike is an easy, paved hike to a peninsula where a lighthouse stands watch over the endless ocean. During whale season (November-May), you may even see humpback whales playing in the waves.

Cascading cliffs

If it were up to us, we would add the Na Pali Coast as the 8th wonder of the world, and once you see the dramatic cliff sides cascading down into the ocean, we think you’ll agree. To view the full splendor of this natural phenomenon, book a Capt. Andy’s boat tour for a picnic or sunset dinner at sea with a view of the towering coastline. Another natural wonder hidden on the island is Hawaii’s very own “Grand Canyon:” Waimea Canyon. Whether you’re up for a hike or prefer a driving the winding roads, every lookout point is a completely new view of the sprawling canyon awash in hues of red, orange and green. 

Guys on a hike in Kauai Hawaii monutian
Guys on a hike in Kauai Hawaii monutian

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On rainy days…

With lush forests and an abundance of waterfalls comes rain. The north and east shores of Kauai tend to be the wet parts of the island, but don’t let the water deter your plans. This is the time to dance in the rain! Some of Hawaii’s tallest and most majestic waterfalls can be found on this island because of the weather, including the famous Honokohau Falls cascading down Mount Waialeale; this spot is one of the wettest on earth with an average rainfall of 476 inches per year! Strap on your waterproof shoes for hikes ending in a waterfall of your own. Wailua Falls and Opaekaa Falls are easily accessible options for stunning views, while Waipoo Falls, Hanakapiai Falls, and Secret Falls are all half- to full-day adventures. 

Family on a beach in Kauai Hawaii

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Rich Kauaian culture

The Kauai Museum, St. Raphael Church and the Koke’e Museum in Koke’e State Park are all entertaining rainy day activities if you forgot to pack a raincoat. If you need a pick-me-up from the darkened skies, grab a fresh cup of joe from the Kauai Coffee Company, and they even offer free walking tours while you re-energize with caffeine! If you want to use the rain as an excuse to go souvenir shopping, Old Koloa Town, Warehouse 3540, and Poipu Shopping Village are some of the best spots on the island.

Couple on a beach in Kauai Hawaii experiencing the culture

For the foodie

When in doubt, spend the day sampling as much fresh Hawaiian food as possible. Kauai has farmers markets across the island every day of the week except for Sunday, but our favourites are the Hanalei Farmers’ Market on Saturdays, the Kauai Community College Farmers Market in Lihu‘e on Saturdays, and the Culinary Market at The Shops at Kukui‘ula in Po‘ipu on Wednesdays. 

couple on a dock in Kauai Hawaii

Capture the memories

You truly can’t make a wrong turn when exploring the enchanting island of Kauai. Be sure to capture the beauty and meet our amazing local Kauai photographers to capture unforgettable memories and get even local tips to make your stay even more unforgettable.

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