This 105-acre portion of a former sugar plantation has long been known for the unique shops tucked into a handsome 1930s mansion, its luau, and the courtyard Gaylord’s restaurant, named for original owner Gaylord Wilcox. But more recent additions are also memorable. Beyond sampling the wares of the Mahiko Lounge in the mansion’s former living room (see “Kauai Nightlife”), tipplers ages 21 and up can create their own mini mai tai around a gleaming wood bar in the Koloa Rum Co.’s tasting room (www.koloarum.com; 808/246-8900). There’s a 16-person maximum for the free half-hour tasting (see website for hours), while an all-ages store sells the locally made spirits and non-alcoholic gifts.
The Kauai Plantation Railway ★★ (www.kauaiplantationrailway.com; 808/245-7245) uses a restored diesel locomotive to pull open-sided cars with trolley-style bench seats around a 2 1/2-mile track. The train passes by Kilohana’s gardens growing 50 varieties of fruit and vegetables and through flowering fields and forest on a 40-minute narrated tour that includes a stop to feed goats, sheep, and wild pigs (watch your hands). It departs five times daily between 10am and 2pm, with a 5:30pm trip on Tuesday and Friday. Tickets are $18 for adults and $14 for kids 3 to 12. On weekdays, you can also combine a train ride that starts at 9:30am with an easy hike, lunch, and orchard tour that costs $75 for adults and $65 for kids 3 to 12.
On Tuesday and Friday, the railway offers an “express train” package with Luau Kalamaku ★★★ (www.luaukalamaku.com; 808/833-3000), a theatrical-style show with dinner buffet in a specially-built theater-in-the-round near the Wilcox mansion. The train-luau package is $122 for adults, $88 for teens 13 to 18, and $54 kids 3 to 12. For the luau only, it’s $104 for adults, $70 for teens, and $40 for children.