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Kauai Activities and Kauai Rentals
Things to do on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai

When you are ready to explore the island of Kauai, assuming you want to venture away from the Hale Kilo I'a Kauai vacation rental beach house, there is a wider and even more beautiful Kauai beach about a mile down the road, nicknamed “Tunnels,” where the snorkeling and diving are excellent, with a different colony of colorful fish. From the beach you will have a wonderful view of jagged cliffs resembling the islands of Tahiti. At the end of the road lies Ke’e beach, especially beloved by families because of its quiet water. Some prefer the snorkeling here, and giant sea turtles are often spotted just outside the reef. It is hard to decide which of the beaches is the most spectacular.

The town of Hanalei is nestled against one of the most beautiful bays in the world, Hanalei Bay. Its beach is clean, and rarely crowded. If you're looking for things to do on Kauai, Hanalei Bay is the place to begin your Kauai activities.

An outrigger canoe on the beach in Kauai near this Kauai Hawaii beach house rental. Click for the large version of this Hawaii photograph!Are you a canoer? The Hanalei Canoe club parks its boats on the Hanalei River. A kayaker? Rent a kayak and paddle in the bay or up the Hanalei River. The pier is a favorite spot for local children, who love to jump and dive into the water and climb back on a handy ladder. Local families picnic in the park by the pier and sometimes take out their guitars and ukuleles to sing Hawaiian songs together.

Anini beach, not far beyond Hanalei, is also popular with local families and specializes in polo matches on Sundays. Just beyond Anini, across the river, is Kalihiwai, a beach popular with body surfers and body-boarders. During the winter months, excellent surf on several North shore beaches draws adventurers from all over the world.

Snorkeling, beachcombing and diving are not the only water sports on the North Shore of Kauai. You can take lessons in windsurfing and perhaps, even more exciting, kite-surfing, or rent equipment if you are already an expert. Kayak tours can take you all the way along the spectacular Napali Coast to Polihali, where you will be met and driven back.  There are also numerous dive shops that offer equipment and lessons.

Click for the big version of the beautiful Hawaii sunset picture taken from one of the many beaches on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai.Kauai, because it is the oldest island, has more beaches than any other island, too many to describe. Some are on the way to Lihue and others, like Poipu, are beyond it. All the beaches in the state of Hawaii are public, and most have easy access by trail or road.

In addition to water sports, the North Shore offers adventures on foot. If you love beauty, don’t miss the easy nature walk in Limahuli Garden, which winds through one of the loveliest spots you could ever hope to see. From the top of one of the cliffs, the Hawaiians used to fling lighted torches far out to sea.

There are many wonderful hikes on the island. From Ke’e, at the end of the road, begins a two-mile hike to Hanakapiai Beach, where you can turn inland and continue for another two miles to a spectacular waterfall. With camping equipment and a permit, you can hike from Hanakapiai for another nine miles to Kalalau Valley, where Koolau, the leper, hid from the authorities in the 19th century and where hippies dwelled in the nude during the 1960’s.

Another hike rises behind Hanalei Valley and ends with a panoramic view of the entire North Shore. Others are scattered throughout the island, several in Koke’e, at the opposite end of the road.

If you are not a hiker, don’t despair. Boats leave from both Hanalei and from Eleele on the other side of the island to cruise down the Napali coast, one of the most remote, mysterious and beautiful spots in the Hawaiian islands.

Your rental car can take you to many wonderful places you cannot reach on foot. You may recognize, as you drive, scenes from movies like South Pacific, Blue Lagoon, and Jurassic Park. In Hanalei you can explore the Waioli Mission, with a guide to describe the lives of the missionaries who came by ship during the 19th century to convert the Hawaiians to Christianity. The first church no longer exists, but you can’t miss the charming, old-fashioned green church in Hanalei and you might like to hear the local choir singing during Sunday services. The pond near the church is shaded by a weeping willow that has its own story: many years ago a traveler cut a twig from a tree by Napoleon’s grave and carried it to Kauai in his shaving mug. It was planted near the pond where it stands to this day.

Kauai sunset photograph... Click for the big version...Past Hanalei and Princeville, turn off the highway at Kilauea, an old pineapple plantation town which lies about ten miles from Hale Kilo I’a, and follow the road to the Kilauea Lighthouse, a national monument. The small lighthouse saved at least two of the earliest airplanes to cross the Pacific Ocean from crashing into the sea after the navigators lost their way. The cliffs and skies around the lighthouse swarm with albatross, booby birds and frigate birds, and sometimes you may see baby birds on their nests in the underbrush. Looking down from the cliffs, you may glimpse a Hawaiian seal lolling on the beach in a little cove. Kilauea also has two medical clinics if you need them, and one doesn’t require appointments in advance.

If you continue to Lihue, you come to Wailua. Drive towards Lihue and take the main road to the right at Wailua, you will come to one of the two most famous and much-photographed waterfalls on Kauai, Opa’eka’a Falls. The Kauai Historical Society or the tourist bureau might help you find, on the Wailua road, sacred birth stones where Hawaiian royals came to give birth so that their children would be endowed with special powers. The other waterfall is not far beyond Wailua. Look for a sign on the right, “Wailua Falls” and follow a long, winding road through jungle and plantations to the falls, which are narrower, but higher and even more beautiful than Opaeka’a.

In Lihue anyone curious about the old days on Kauai should visit the Kauai Museum on Rice Street. Exhibits and a movie describe where the Hawaiians came from, how they reached the islands by canoe, how they lived and what they ate and wore. There are exhibits of shells, tapa cloth, and royal feather cloaks. The museum sells books and handicrafts and there is usually an art exhibit.

Lovers of art will find galleries scattered all over the island. Lovers of horticulture can visit the National Tropical Botanical Gardens in Lawai. Lovers of history can stop in at the Wilcox Museum for another look at missionary life. While in the Lihue area, visit Kilohana to have a plantation-style lunch or dinner and ride the carriage or plantation train. Lovers of history can tour Grove Farm Homestead, a beautifully maintained sugar plantation home.

Near the airport a number of small airlines offer helicopter rides, if you would like to see the island by air, including views of many places unavailable by car or on foot.

You are now only about halfway between Hale Kilo I’a and Koke’e, and nobody can see everything in a day. Set aside another day for Waimea Canyon, which no visitor should miss, and which a Danish guest described as “better than the Grand Canyon!” There are two views of the canyon accessible by car and also wonderful hiking along the upper edge of the canyon. Biking down the mountain is a popular activity, and there are many trails for mountain biking.

Continue to Koke’e, where you could stop for lunch and a look into a small museum, or continue to the end of the road and park. If the lookout isn’t shrouded in clouds, you will get a magnificent view of the legendary Kalalau Valley and the ocean beyond.

Click for the amazing large version of this Hawaiian sunset photograph taken on the island of Kauai.Hikers and bikers who plan ahead can reserve a cabin in Koke’e, spend a night or so and explore the area. If you stay overnight, be sure to drive up to the Koke’e Lookout to see the sunset, which goes on and on and on until you imagine the sun will never slide into the sea! Afterwards you can return to your cabin, light a fire in the fireplace to keep warm, and prepare for another day’s adventure. Or you may decide to drive back to Hale Kilo I’a and spend the rest of your vacation loafing on the beach in Paradise!

The night sky on Kauai can be spectacular.  A full moon is so bright you can see colors--and when conditions are right you might glimpse a lunar rainbow. On dark nights, the vast starry sky stretches out on black velvet before your eyes.

During the winter months humpback whales come to Kauai to frolic in the warm waters. From the beach and the lanai you can see them leaping into the air and cannonballing down with a big splash. Would you like to see them close up? Take a whale watching trip and you’ll see them so close you might get wet! See our links page for more info on whale watching tours, and many of the other cool things to do on Kauai that we've mentioned here.

If we haven't mentioned your favorite Hawaiian activity, please contact us for more information about Kauai and our private vacation rental. We're more than happy to help you arrange your Kauai Hawaiian vacation, and we are very knowledgeable about Kauai rentals and activities.

 

 


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