- Hitting the Beach: A beach is a beach is a beach, right? Not on Kauai. With 50 miles of beaches, Kauai offers ocean experiences in all shapes and forms. You can go to a different beach everyday during your vacations and still not get tired of seeing them.
- Taking the Plunge: Rent a mask, fins, and snorkel, and enter a magical underwater world. Facedown, you'll float like a leaf on a pond, watching brilliant fish dart here and there in water clear as day; a slow-moving turtle may even stop by to check you out. Faceup, you'll contemplate green-velvet cathedral-like cliffs under a blue sky, with long-tailed tropical birds riding the trade winds.
- Meeting Local Folks: If you go to Kauai and see only people like the ones back home, you might as well not have come. Extend yourself -- leave your hotel, go out and meet the locals, and learn about Hawaii and its people. Just smile and say "Howzit?" -- which means "How is it?" ("It's good," is the usual response -- and you may make a new friend.) Hawaii is remarkably cosmopolitan; every ethnic group in the world seems to be represented here. There's a huge diversity of food, culture, language, and customs.
- Feeling History Come Alive: It is possible to walk back in history on Kauai. You can see ancient, ancient history, from the times when the menehune were around, at the Menehune Ditch and Menehune Fishpond. Or experience Hawaiian history at the Kauai Museum, the archaeological sites at Wailua River State Park, and the Ka Ulu O Lakaheiau. For more recent history since the arrival of Captain Cook, check out the Grove Farm Homestead Museum, Kilohana, and the Waioli Mission House Museum.
- Watching the Hula: The Coconut Marketplace, on Kuhio Highway (Hwy. 56) between mile markers 6 and 7, hosts free shows every Wednesday at 5pm and Saturday at 1pm. Arrive early to get a good seat for the hour-long performances of both kahiko (ancient) and auwana (modern) hula. The real showstoppers are the keiki (children) who perform. Don't forget your camera!
- Exploring the Grand Canyon of the Pacific: The great gaping gulch known as Waimea Canyon is quite a sight. This valley, known for its reddish lava beds, reminds everyone who sees it of the Grand Canyon. Kauai's version is bursting with ever-changing color, just like its namesake, but it's smaller -- only a mile wide, 3,567 feet deep, and 12 miles long. A massive earthquake sent streams into the single river that ultimately carved this picturesque canyon. Today, the Waimea River -- a silver thread of water in the gorge that's sometimes a trickle, often a torrent, but always there -- keeps cutting the canyon deeper and wider, and nobody can say what the result will be 100 million years from now.
- Bidding the Sun Aloha: Polihale State Park hugs Kauai's western shore for some 17 miles. It's a great place to bring a picnic dinner, stretch out on the sand, and toast the sun as it sinks into the Pacific, illuminating the island of Niihau in the distance. Queen's Pond has facilities for camping as well as restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and pavilions.
- Soaring over the Na Pali Coast: This is the only way to see the spectacular, surreal beauty of Kauai. Your helicopter will dip low over razor-thin cliffs, flutter past sparkling waterfalls, and swoop down into the canyons and valleys of the fabled Na Pali Coast. The only problem is that there's too much beauty to absorb, and it all goes by in a rush.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.