Wailea Falls in Kauai, Hawaii

The Top 5 Things you MUST do in Kauai, Hawaii | 2020 Travel Itinerary

If you’re thinking of planning your next big holiday to the Hawaiian Islands, here is a comprehensive travel guide on the main attractions you MUST visit during your time in Kauai. Also, do check out my other article – Important Travel Tips for visiting the Hawaiian Islands to get a better idea of how to prepare and pack for your trip as well. You can also check out my other article on Things to do in Oahu, Hawaii to plan your visit on the island.

Accommodation & Where to Stay in Kauai, Hawaii

Accommodation in Kauai is more expensive than in Oahu. However, you should be able to find an affordable place if you book it early. Yes, Hawaii is really popular for their tourism and the rooms get filled up fast.

I’d would recommend you finding a place around Lihue (near LIH airport) as it is relatively central to all the attractions. Kauai has very few roads running across the island and the main highway runs one loop around the outer-rim of it (refer to map below).

Recommended accommodations around this area would include staying at either Banyan Harbour Resort, Kauai Palms Hotel and Kauai Shores Hotel. Parking is also free at all of these sites.

The Top 5 Things to do in Kauai, Hawaii

Places of Interest in Kauai, Hawaii

1. Waimea Canyon (Lookout & Hiking Trail)

One of Hawaii’s most unique geological finds, the canyon displays red volcanic walls that was carved out by the Waimea River over millions of years. Some say that the beauty of it is comparable to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. 

Getting there: It was easy for us to navigate our way to the Canyon. Simply just key in Waimea Canyon Lookout on your map and drive along the route. You can stop by multiple lookout points as there will be signs directing you to turn right to viewing platforms. 

Hiking Trail at Waimea Canyon:
If you’re up for an adventure, you can also opt to hike though the lush green forest areas to get up close with the Canyon. Just a 9-min drive further down from the main lookout point, park your car along the dirt road when you see the sign board “Hale Manu Valley”.

Start of Trail Head

Honestly, it was not an easy hike for me. It was drizzling and extremely muddy on the trail but we were greeted with the most beautiful panoramic view of the canyon. The hike took us about 1.5-hours to reach the main viewing area. 

Waimea Canyon Kauai Hawaii

2. Napali Coast (The 4 Ways to visit Napali Coast)

Napali coast is famous for being one of the tallest sea cliffs in the world and a must to see when visiting Kauai.

There are 4 methods of travel to view the coast depending on your preference (click individually for tours & best prices):
1. Boat: Napali Snorkel Sail
2. Helicopter

3. Sea Plane
4. Walk: about 18km

On our first day when we landed in Kauai at 9am, we went to Kauai Sea Tours to book our boat tour for the following day. It was a 5-hour boat tour along Napali Coast than included a snorkelling stop and tour of the coast. The tour started at 7.30am in the morning and lasted till about 1pm.

Although we booked the tour 1-day before, it is highly recommended that you make an online booking in advance on one of the links that i’ve listed above. This is because a lot of the other tours were sold out and we were lucky enough that they still had space for 2 more onboard.

Napali Coast in Kauai Hawaii

3. Wailea Falls (How to reach the bottom of Wailea Falls?)

After our Napali Coast tour, we headed off to visit Wailea Falls. This is one of the most amazing waterfalls I’ve been to on the Hawaiian Islands. What I love about it is that it is possible for you to climb behind the falls and fell the fresh water spraying on you. It’s was truly an exhilarating and refreshing experience.

There is a viewing platform beside the parking area to see Wailea Falls from afar, but what you really want to do is to climb down to see the falls from the bottom. 

Directions to climb down: Facing the parking lot, walk towards your right. Just before the end of the viewing area of the falls and before you reach the wired fences, climb over the concrete platform. Walk behind the wired fences till you see a trail with ropes leading downwards. It’s a 10-minute climb down a steep dirt path but it is relatively manageable with the help of the ropes. 

4. Queen’s Bath (How to get to Queen’s Bath?)

Queen’s Bath is a unique tide pool located along the North Shore of Kauai. 

How to get to Queen’s Bath?

Google maps will guide you through a private residential area. Lookout for a public parking lot with a sign stating “start of trail head”. It is also recommended that you arrive before 10am as there are very few parking lots in the area. 

The trail has actually been closed to public because swimming in Queen’s bath is dangerous and several people have lost their lives over the years (so please enter at your own risk). However, you can still climb over the barrier to walk behind the wired fences. It’s a short 20 to 30-minute hike down and it can get muddy as well along the way. Remember to get a branch or a walking stick for support.

Other than the bath, the area also offers a scenic view of the coastline, one that can’t be missed. 

Queen's Bath Kauai Hawaii

5. Visit the North Shore Beaches

After visiting Queen’s Bath, we continued along the road to visit some of Kauai’s North Shore beaches. The two main beaches we visited were Tunnels Beach and Hanalei Bay. 

We especially loved Tunnels Beach. The sand was so clean and the waters were of crystal blue colour. What’s more is that there were hardly any visitors on this beautiful beach. It felt as though we had a private beach all to ourselves. Remember to bring along a beach chair and umbrella, it’s going to be a lot more comfortable than sitting on the sand.

Important things to bring for your trip to Hawaii

1. Sunblock
2. Rash guard (the waters are freezing!)
3. Swimwear
4. Snorkelling Gear and Fins
5. Walking Stick
6. Jacket or Towel (to cover yourself after getting out of the waters)
7. Beach Chair & Umbrella
8. Sun hat and/or Sunglasses
9. GOPRO and other photography gears
10. Drone (amazing aerial views)

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