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7-Day Kauai Itinerary: 15 Best Things To Do In Kauai, Hawaii

With beautiful coastlines, beaches and state parks, this 7-day Kauai itinerary is filled with memorable experiences.

Oh Kauai – you really are paradise on earth! With gorgeous beaches, spectacular waterfalls and breathtaking coastlines, you won’t be short of things to pack into your 7 day Kauai itinerary.

Kauai landscapes
You’ll see lots of beautiful landscapes on this 7-day Kauai itinerary

It’s fair to say that Hawaii is one of the most magical holiday destinations in the world. If you’ve already decided where you want to go, you’re in for a treat as this post is dedicated to the best things to do in Kauai! 

Kauai is the fourth largest of the main Hawaiian islands, and has the nickname, the garden island. The name is pretty accurate as the island is a blanket of green cliffs and mountains! Whether you’re a mountain lover or more of a beach lounger, you’ll find everything you love on this picturesque island.

Kauai Coast
The Kauai Coast is very dramatic

Kauai is warm all year round, so there’s no worrying about when to visit. Just book your flights and go! Head to Waimea Canyon for stunning views, or go and chase some waterfalls on the Wailua river. 

With so much on offer, you might struggle to decide what to do in Kauai! That’s where I come in though! Hopefully this 7-day Kauai itinerary will give you some inspiration. It’s packed full of all the best things to do on the magnificent island, as well as lots of tips for making the most of your trip!

If you’re just starting to plan your dream holiday, don’t miss my guide to the best islands in Hawaii. From Maui to the Big Island, I’ve shared what makes each island special, and what kind of travellers will enjoy each one!

The Ultimate 7-Day Itinerary Kauai

  • Day 1: Travel and relax on Poipu Beach
  • Day 2: Trek to Waimea Canyon 
  • Day 3: Head to Na Pali Coast and spot some whales
  • Day 4: Pop to Poipu for a day of ziplining 
  • Day 5: Relax or snorkel on Tunnels Beach
  • Day 6: Go on a helicopter tour of Kauai
  • Day 7: Wake up early and hike the Maha’Ulepu trail before seeing some waterfalls

What To Do In Kauai? 15 Best Things To Do In Kauai 

Explore Waimea Canyon State

Known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, Waimea Canyon is a stunning natural beauty. If you’re looking for the ultimate Instagram shot, I think you’ll agree this is a pretty perfect backdrop!

Waimea Canyon 
Waimea Canyon State Park is a must-see on your 7 days in Kauai

You could hire a rental car to drive along Highway 550 to visit some of the Waimea Canyon lookouts. Along the way you’ll see lots of unique spots, each providing different views and angles of the canyon and the famous red dirt waterfall. 

The colours and layers of the canyon will leave you breathless. I’d recommend allowing at least half a day of your 7 days in Kauai to enjoy it properly. 

Find Kilauea Lighthouse

If you’re a Disney fan, you might recognise Kilauea Lighthouse from Lilo and Stitch! Located on a peninsula, the iconic lighthouse is a national wildlife refuge.  

Kilauea Lighthouse
Visiting Kilauea Lighthouse is one of the top things to do in Kauai

If you have animal lovers or Disney lovers in your family, you should definitely add Kilauea lighthouse on your 7-day Kauai itinerary. 

Spot red-footed bobbys, lawson albatross or the great frigatebird from the point of the peninsula. A travel tip for you is to ask the information centre for binoculars; they let you borrow them for free!

Hike The Maha’Ulepu Heritage Trail 

When looking for things to do in Kauai you’ve got to take in the undulating landscapes on a hike. If you’re an early riser, I’d recommend setting your alarm and catching an unmissable sunrise. 

The Maha’Ulepu Heritage Trail leads you to some incredible ocean views that face east for sunrise. It’s a gorgeous place to visit during daytimes too, but there’s a sprinkle of magic at sunrise!

Explore The Magnificent Beaches Of Kauai

You can’t spend 7 days in Kauai and not explore some of the island’s many beaches. 

Snorkel At Tunnels Beach 

If you love seeing underwater life, snorkelling at Tunnels Beach has to be on your 7 day Kauai itinerary. The best time to see tropical fish and turtles is in the morning when the tide is low! 

Tunnels Beach
Tunnels Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Kauai

As of August 2022, the State of Hawaii has prohibited snorkelling in the inner reef to protect the fish nursery. Don’t worry though, there are still plenty of areas near the beach where you can snorkel and see lots of tropical fish. 

Spot Seals on Poipu Beach

You may be surprised how easy it is to see seals on this Hawaiian island! In fact, I’d say your 7-day trip to Kauai would not be complete without a trip to see the seals on Poipu Beach. The seals happily chill out on the shores here most days. The law protects them, so don’t get too close! 

Sail The Na Pali Coast and Spot The Whales

There are many ways to see the magnificent Na Pali coast: from the sky, by boat, catamaran, or even a raft! However, if you want to spot some whales, I’d recommend booking a boat trip

Na Pali Coast Kauai
How beautiful is the Na Pali Coast in Kauai?

Kauai is known for the dramatic sea cliffs, which line the Na Pali coast. In the summer months, your sailing trip here might include snorkelling, although it depends on the weather as the waves can reach 7-8ft tall!

Even if you can’t snorkel, you can still spot whales, turtles and dolphins as they swim past the boat. This is definitely one of the most memorable things to do in Kauai.

Kauai Island Helicopter Tour 

If you’re deciding what to include in your 7 day Kauai itinerary, how about treating yourself to a helicopter ride! There is no better way to see the garden island than from the sky. On a helicopter tour of Kauai, an expert will tell you all about the gorgeous landscapes below. 

Na Pali Coast in Kauai
You’ll see lots of epic views from a helicopter tour of Kauai

I’d recommend the Kauai Island ride as you’ll see plenty of iconic spots, such as Jurassic Falls, Waimea Canyon and the cliffs of Na Pali Coast.

This really is such a unique experience, special to Kauai, as no other landscape has such diversity of beaches, coastlines and luscious green and red canyons. 

Kayak On Wailua River

Kayaking the Wailua River is an amazing way to see the island from the water. It is one of the most popular activities in Wailua, as it allows you to explore the idyllic river and take in the sights.

Wailua River
Kayaking the Wailua River is a fun activity in Kauai

Hiring a kayak and sailing off together for a few hours is a must-do if you are on a romantic trip to Kauai. Along the way you’ll get to discover the many secret waterfalls, and perhaps even stop for a refreshing swim. 

Chase Some Waterfalls

Don’t go chasing waterfalls… no wait, actully do! 

If you’re visiting Kauai for the first time, you should definitely visit some of the island’s stunning waterfalls. These are two of the most popular, but there are plenty more across the island, so no doubt you’ll see a few more on your holiday.

Wailua Falls 

The 80 ft drop waterfall is just north of the airport and cascades into two streams. It is an accessible waterfall from the road, so there is no need for a hike. You might also recognise this one from TV, as it appeared on Fantasy Island! If you’re short on time, it’s an ideal spot to visit before heading to the airport.

Wailua Falls, Kauai
Wailua Falls, Kauai

Opaeka’a Falls

If you fancy a bit more of a hike for an even bigger waterfall, head to Opaeka’a Falls! Pack a picnic for lunch and enjoy it right in front of the 151 ft waterfall, which cascades beautifully into a hidden pool. 

Also, an interesting fact is that Opaeka’a means rolling shrimp, as the stream used to be full of shrimp! 

Opaekaa Falls, Kauai
Opaekaa Falls, Kauai

Eat Some Tasty Food At Luau Kalamaku Open Bar And Dinner

An unmissable event to squeeze into your 7 days in Kauai is the Luau Kalamaku extravaganza. It’s popular with tourists, as it features hula dancers, fireball twirlers, knife dancing and even a native storyteller. Plus, you’ll get to sit down and enjoy a generous buffet with traditional dishes.

If you are a food lover and want to immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture, this dining experience is for you. 

Go Ziplining in Poipu 

Are you a thrill seeker? Then you’ll love the fun zipline over Poipu. It’s guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping. There are five ziplines in total, which will have you soaring over the valleys and ocean! How fun is that?

Poipu Beach, Kauai
Poipu Beach even has its own zipline

If you’re looking for family-friendly things to do in Kauai, this zipline adventure will definitely be crowd-pleaser!

Eat Shaved Ice in Kauai

Would it really be a one-week holiday in Kauai without eating shaved ice pretty much every single day?

Shaved ice in Hawaii
You simply have to try shaved ice on your Kauai travels! It’s delicious!

If you haven’t had the pleasure of eating shaved ice before, it is like eating snow! It’s famous in Hawaii and is served in a big cone. It’s then flavoured with different syrups such as papaya and passionfruit. In Kauai, they sometimes serve it with ice cream on top! 

8 Practical Tips For Your Trip To Kauai

  1. Rent a Car: Kauai’s beauty is spread across the island, and having a rental car is essential for exploring the diverse landscapes, from the stunning Na Pali Coast to Waimea Canyon.
  2. Pack for Outdoor Adventures: Kauai is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. Bring comfortable hiking shoes, swimwear and snorkelling gear. Also, be prepared for rain! The island can experience sudden rain showers so pack a jacket or an umbrella.
  3. Respect the ‘Aina (Land): Hawaiians have a deep connection to their land. Be respectful of the environment and culture. Stay on designated paths, don’t touch or remove anything from natural sites, and avoid disturbing wildlife.
  4. Safety on Hikes: If you plan to hike, let someone know your plans and expected return time. Some trails can be challenging, so assess your fitness level and choose hikes that match your abilities. Always carry essentials like water, snacks, a map, and a first-aid kit.
  5. Limited Nightlife: Kauai is not known for its nightlife scene. Expect early closing times for restaurants and limited evening entertainment. Embrace the island’s laid-back vibe and enjoy the natural beauty instead.
  6. Sunscreen and Bug Spray: Protect yourself from the strong Hawaiian sun by using sunscreen with a high SPF. Don’t forget insect repellent, as Kauai has its fair share of mosquitoes, especially near water and in rainforest areas.
  7. Local Cuisine: Try local Hawaiian dishes like poke, plate lunches, and fresh tropical fruits. Support local restaurants and food trucks for an authentic culinary experience.
  8. Book Tours in Advance: If you plan to take guided tours, such as helicopter rides or boat tours of the Na Pali Coast, it’s wise to book them in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons. I’d recommend looking at what’s available on GetYourGuide.

I hope this Kauai travel guide helps you plan an awesome itinerary for your time on the island. If you’re looking for more Hawaii travel tips, take a look at these guides…

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With a passion for food, fun and adventure, Chloe is the content creator behind one of the UK's top travel blogs Wanderlust Chloe. From volcano boarding in Nicaragua, to sailing around Sicily and eating her way around Japan, her travels have taken her to some of the coolest spots on the planet. Named Travel Influencer of the Year in 2022, Chloe regularly works with a number of tourism boards, producing inspirational travel content across multiple platforms. Find out more about Chloe here.

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