Are you one of those people who hates the thought of lying around at the beach, doing nothing? Is your idea of the perfect vacation to be up, active, and trying new adventures? Then Kauai is the place for you. Our suggested itinerary below covers all the basic things to see on Kauai, with added adventures that active people like you love.
Day 1: Arrive in Kauai; Head for the Beach
I can't say this too often: To readjust your internal clock, get outside and get some sunshine (don't forget the sunscreen). I'd suggest going to the closest beach to your hotel. Start your adventure by dining on ethnic cuisine that you have never tried.
Day 2: Fly Through the Sky & Swim Through the Water
One of the best adventures on Kauai is a helicopter tour of the island. You most likely will still be on mainland time, so book an early flight (you'll be up long before the sun rises anyway). Plan a day snorkeling for your first adventure. Get snorkel equipment through Snorkel Bob's. If it is summer, and the weather is good, go to the North Shore. In fact, take an island tour and drive all the way to the end of the road at Kee Beach. If you are up for it, hike a couple of miles along the Na Pali Coast and back (make sure you have good hiking shoes, water, snacks, and sunscreen), or jump into that cool blue water and check out the marine life.
If it is winter, and the waves are up on the North Shore, head south for Poipu Beach. Snorkel in the morning and then take an easy hike to Makawehi Point.
Day 3: Hiking Through a Canyon & Up in the Clouds
Head out west, up to Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Park. Bring warm clothes along, as it can get cold at 4,000 feet, and be prepared for rain. Get an early start and have breakfast or coffee at the Kalaheo Café & Coffee Co.. Stop in Waimea town to explore the Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park and the Menehune Ditch, then plan to spend most of the morning (before the clouds roll in) hiking the various trails in the Waimea Canyon area. Then travel another 16 miles and a few thousand feet up the road to Kokee. Stop for lunch at the Kokee Lodge, open from 9am to 2:30pm. Check in at the Kokee Natural History Museum to learn about the forests and surrounding area, locate good hiking trails, and pick up a couple of trail maps. In the afternoon, wander around the park, and stay for sunset. If it's Friday night, eat at the Hanapepe Café; if it's not, go Italian at Pomodoro in Kalaheo.
Day 4: Cruising the Na Pali Coast
See a side of Kauai that you can only see from the water. Book a sail/snorkel tour out of the Kukuiula Small Boat Harbor or Port Allen for the trip of a lifetime -- exploring the Na Pali Coast.
Day 5: Tubing Through the Water, Zipping Through the Air
Try something you have never done before. Sign up for a Tubing Adventure with Kauai Backcountry Adventures, for a chance to float down the former sugar-cane irrigation flumes. Or do something zippy like the new zipline adventure; we recommend Outfitters Kauai's Kipu Falls Zipline Trek for an adrenaline rush that you won't forget. Plan a quiet afternoon at the beach to relax after your big adventure for the day.
Day 6: Glide Through the Water & Gallop to Secluded Waterfalls
See Kauai from the ocean by joining a kayak tour with Kayak Kauai in Hanalei or Outfitters Kauai in Poipu, where you will skim over the ocean's (or a river's) surface coming eyeball-to-eyeball with turtles, flying fish, and other marine creatures. In the afternoon, book a horseback riding tour with Princeville Ranch Stables near Hanalei or CJM Country Stables in Koloa and see Kauai from the vantage point of sitting on a horse. There are a variety of different types of tours, from riding along secluded beaches to trekking back to hidden waterfalls. Plan a quiet dinner and an early bedtime.
Day 7: Relax on Your Last Day
Plan your last day at a spa. We recommend several top spas that will soothe your aching muscles from your days of adventure (my favorite is the ANARA Spa at the Grand Hyatt in Koloa). Try something new; perhaps a traditional Hawaiian lomilomi massage or an ayurvedic massage (once given only to royalty for rejuvenation). Relax, and start planning your next trip to Kauai.
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.