Of all the Hawaii Islands, Kauai might be the most unspoiled. While most of Hawaii is crowded with luxurious all-inclusive resorts and touristy beaches, Kauai is an untouched paradise.
Known as the “Garden Island,” Kauai is the fourth largest and the oldest of Hawaii’s islands. If you’re looking for a trip perfect for an adventure seeker who loves to take in the best tropical beauty, you can’t go wrong with this picture-perfect destination.
Not sure where to start when planning your trip to Kauai? This guide has you covered. From the best times to visit to what to do when you get here, we’ll dive deep into it all. Embrace every waterfall, reef, and valley for yourself by taking a trip to Kauai.
Understanding the Regions
There are 5 main regions of Kauai to familiarize yourself with before you start booking your trip. This is a pretty big island, and it’s hard to get around without a private jet or boat. You’ll likely need to choose an area of the island that matches your travel taste and stick around that region. Each part of the island has something spectacular to offer.
- North Shore – The North Shore is where you’ll find the beautiful cliffs of the Napali Coast. It’s perfect for nature lovers and those who want to be close to the top sights.
- East Side – Also known as Coconut Coast, the East Side is home to endless groves of coconut palms. This is the most densely populated area with some great beaches and historical sights.
- Lihue – Wailua Falls calls this region home, and that makes it a great spot for many travelers. This is also where the main airport is located, so you’ll find a lot of cruise ship ports nearby.
- South Shore – If beaches are what you’re looking for, South Shore has you covered. With some of the best beaches clustered around the Poipu area, you’ll have endless white-sand beaches to explore. This is also where most resorts and restaurants are located.
- West Side – Finally, West Side is like teleporting to the Grand Canyon. This is where you’ll find small towns as well as the breathtaking Waimea Canyon. Like the Grand Canyon, it’s spectacular.
When to Visit Kauai
Now that you have a good idea of the different regions, let’s talk about when to visit this special place. While it’s worth a visit all year long, the best time is between September and November or from April to June. This is when the weather is the best and the crowds are likely to be lower.
Try to avoid the rainy season from December to March. Not only will the weather make it hard to explore the top sights, but you’ll also be competing with the biggest swarm of visitors during the winter months. If you want the best weather, stay at Poipu beach villas in the South Shore. It’s likely to have fewer storms during the year.
Things to Do in Kauai
Finally, let’s explore some of the best sights and attractions the Garden Island has to offer visitors. As we said before, this island is an adventure seeker’s dream. With so much swimming, snorkeling, hiking, and climbing to discover, there’s something for anyone who loves the great outdoors.
- Na Pali Coast – This state park was made famous by the Jurassic World movies which feature many shots of this island oasis. While you likely won’t find any dinosaurs, you will fall in love with the cliff views, waterfalls, and hiking trails.
- Waimea Canyon – Waimea is a state park that looks like it belongs in the American Southwest. With canyons up to 3000 feet deep, you want to miss the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.
- Hanalei Bay – While it’s hard to go wrong with any of Kauai’s beaches, Hanalei might just take the cake. As the largest beach in the North Shore with its own mountain views, you’ll never want to leave.
- Wailua Falls – This dramatic double waterfall stands at over 170 feet. Take a hike to the top to take in the views.
- Queen’s Bath – Finally, this unique tide pool was formed by a sinkhole. Swim with small sea life and enjoy the crystal clear water.
As you can see, Kauai is a place to explore. There’s so much to see, do, and discover in this untouched island. While the bigger islands certainly have a lot to offer, there’s something especially magical about Kauai. Come see for yourself why it’s such a favorite amongst both locals and seasoned explorers.