Exploring Natural Beauty on Kauai

Advisor - Jacqueline Capriotti
Curated By

Jacqueline Capriotti

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  • Domestic Travel

  • Hawai'i

  • Kaua'i

  • Active Travel

  • Beaches

  • Hiking

  • Outdoors

  • Island-Life

Aerial view of ocean and beach next to green mountain during daytime
Curator’s statement

Where in the U.S. can you find an untouched tropical island with lush uninhabited rainforests, many waterfalls and the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific" with unforgettable sunsets? Kauai is a dream destination for travelers who love the outdoors - they don't call it the "Garden Island" for nothing! Here are my recommendations for visiting this magical island.

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Where to stay in Kauai

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Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa

A quintessential island resort on 50 lush acres of white-sand beachfront on Kauai’s beautiful southern shore.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Koʻa Kea Resort on Poipu Beach

Charming Kauai resort with oceanfront suites perfect for a romantic holiday.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Welcome treat in room on arrival.

  • Upgrade & guaranteed late check-out.

1 Hotel Hanalei Bay

Luxury resort on Kauai's Napali Coast with world-class wellness amenities and sustainable initiatives.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Advisor - Jacqueline Capriotti

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Things to do in Kauai

Red cliffs during daytime

Waimea Canyon (the "Grand Canyon" of the Pacific) in Koke'e State Park is where you feel like you're at the highest point of a new discovery while standing on an uninhabited tropical island like in Peter Jackson's King Kong. Make sure to bring a windbreaker, I was not prepared for how windy it was, but my mom (the smart one) came prepared.

Note: If you are scuba diving during your visit to Kauaʻi, you should wait at least 24 hours before visiting this location due to the higher elevation of Waimea Canyon and Kōkeʻe State Park.

Be sure to explore the multitude of trails throughout the island, including Kalalau Trail and the ones at Nā Pali Coast State Wilderness Park. There are some nice small towns like Poipu, where you will find a good selection of local and fine dining, golf course, historical sights, boat tours and a great beach.

I also recommend visiting Hanalei: a cozy little village on the north shore with great eats and charming boutiques.

Day Trips in Kauai

Eco boat tours depart from Port Allen on the West Side and get you up close to the mountainous Nā Pali coastline. Explore rainforests in the valleys, take in the fora and fauna, and the enjoy the waterfalls, including Wailua Falls which was featured in the opening scene of Fantasy Island and Manawaiopuna Falls, which was featured in Jurassic Park.

You must also visit Mount Waialeale, a shield volcano with a valley of a rainforest. It's one of the rainiest spots on Earth, which you can see with its lush velvet green carpet. Make sure to bring a rain coat and a good windbreaker for the warm wind at the top.

Places to eat & drink in Kauai

Coconut stand in Hawaii.

Cheap local eats in Kauai

Hanalei Poke Food Truck: Touted to have the freshest fish in Hawaii, Chef-owner Jeremy Burwell should know since he is also his own fisherman. A favorite of Guy Fieri on Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Make sure to try the kealia bowl. Make sure to also order the Ahi-tuna poke mixed with watermelon, mango, avocado, fresh mint, basil and cilantro. Incredibly refreshing. Vegan options available.

Pacific Rim Cuisine was founded in Hawaii with influences from California, Hawaii, Polynesia, Japan, Thailand and Indonesian cultures. There is no better place in Kauai to enjoy this than Beach House Restaurant. They have many types of wine, beer and tropical cocktails on tap.

Farm-and-fisherman-to-table with a beachy vibe who adjusts their menu to the season to provide the freshest and local ingredients. Their Monkeypod Mai Tai with it's delicious Beach House restaurant liliko-honey foamy top is a must.

Need to Know

For more Kauai travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Cindy Rhee's guide: Eat, Hike & Explore Natural Beauty on Kauai.

Looking for travel tips regarding medication? Check out my guide: Tips for Traveling with Medication.

Advisor - Jacqueline Capriotti

Travel Advisor

Jacqueline Capriotti

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