Travel

Kauai Activities

Establishment neighborhood
Mahaulepu Heritage Coastal Beach Trail
Poipu
The great thing about this coastline hike is that there are several trails that run parallel to the island’s southern shore (with varying degrees of difficulty). The one closest to the ocean is more technical, and if you’re on the way back, the inland trails are friendlier and easier on the feet. Bring plenty of water and start early at Shipwreck Beach. From there, you’ll hike through different ecosystems and across sand and lava rock along the ocean (and curiously enough, along the edge of a golf course for part of it). The trail will lead you to either a semisecluded beach or Makauwahi Cave, a limestone formation that requires a good army crawl to enter.
Polihale Beach
Hwy. 50, Waimea
Your rental car contract will prohibit you from accessing this beach—and should you attempt it, you'll understand why. The road is terrible, but the beach at its end is incredible. At 17-miles long, its one of Hawaii's longest beaches and it is vast and stunning and more or less empty. It abuts the Napali Coast and shares those epic views. Similarly, it faces the open ocean and the waves are intense, making the water only safe for strong swimmers. Most visitors come to walk the beach.
Princeville Ranch Adventures
Hwy. 56, Princeville
For an adventurous, action-packed day trip, Princeville Ranch is the place: their team of locals can lead you through everything from ziplining to horseback riding. There's also swimming, guided tours through the rainforest (where you’ll encounter challenges like scaling down a 10-foot wall of rock and crossing a waterfall—pro-level assistance and safety gear included), and hikes up to Kalihiwai Falls; theirs is the only tour with access to the peak of Pu’u O’ Henui, with a panoramic view of the North Shore.
Nāpali Coast
Nāpali Coast State Park, Nāpali Coast
You can explore the stunning thousand-foot-drop cliffs of Kauai’s coastline by sailboat (or luxe sunset cruise), or, if you’re up for the challenge, you can take the scenic route—there’s an 11-mile hike (yes, that’s 11 miles each way) that takes you along the coast, and a gentler, 2-mile hike to Hanakapiai Beach (about 4 miles round-trip). Not only will you encounter some incredible natural beauty, but some essential Hawaii activities, too, as this is a great area for snorkeling and kayaking tours.
Salt Pond Beach
Lokokai Rd., Hwy. 50, Hanapepe
A natural lava rock ridge protects this crescent beach, meaning its gentle lagoon makes for safe, easy swimming and snorkeling with kids. (Plus, its glimmering red-and-gold sand is too pretty to miss.) Located close to Hawaii’s last remaining traditional salt-gathering ponds (hence the name), it’s known to be a preferred hangout for Monk Seals, as well as local families. That said, in order to protect the fragile natural environment, the namesake salt ponds are off-limits to the public.
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