Kauai 7 Day Iternary

When it comes to short stays on Kauai, your schedule will depend greatly on where you’ll be staying. Wherever you stay you’ll be close to one of Kauai’s incredible beaches, from Hanalei Bay on the North Shore to Poipu Beach Park on the South Shore.

Below you’ll find seven days of itinerary suggestions. You can choose your itinerary depending on where you’re staying and the length of your stay.

Tour Map of Kauai Island

Explore Kauai by region: North ShoreEast Side (Coconut Coast)LihueSouth ShoreWest Side.

Download Tour Map of Kauai Island

Island Highlights

- Napali Coast: Take an air tour or a boat tour to witness the towering cliffs along Kauai’s North Shore.
- Waimea Canyon: Enjoy the panoramic views of “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific.”
- Wailua River: Kauai has the only navigable rivers in Hawaii and Wailua is one of the most popular.
- Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse: Visit this beautiful scenic point at the northernmost tip of the island.
- Kauai Beaches: From Poipu on the South Shore to Hanalei Bay on the North Shore, explore Kauai’s amazing beaches.


Hawaii discount savings Day 1 - 3

Beaches of Kauai

Poipu Beach

50 miles of white sand beaches surround Kauai, offering nice spots for swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing.

North Shore Beaches: Anini Beach Park, Hanalei Bay Beach Park, Kee Beach and Lumahai Beach. 

East Side Beaches: Lydgate Beach Park, Kalapaki Beach and Kealia Beach.

South Shore BeachesPoipu Beach Park

West Side Beaches: Salt Pond Beach Park and Kekaha Beach.

NOTE: Heed all warning signs and safety guidelines. Be aware of changing conditions, strong currents and reefs. Use your own best judgment to determine whether a particular beach is appropriate for you and your ability level. Swimming at beaches with lifeguards is highly recommended. 

Hanalei Town

Hanalei Town

Home to taro farms ("kalo” in Hawaiian), art galleries and the Hanalei Pier overlooking beautiful Hanalei Bay. Be sure to visit the Waioli Mission House and step back into Kauai’s history. Browse Hanalei’s art galleries for made in Kauai art and carvings made from rare, native Hawaiian woods. Locals and visitors come to Hanalei for ukulele concerts held at the Hanalei Community Center, a regular Kauai event. The historic Hanalei Pier was built in 1892 and has long been a favorite gathering place for local residents who go there to fish, swim and play music on Hanalei Bay. 

Hanapepe Town

Hanapepe Town

Known as “Kauai’s biggest little town,” charming Hanapepe Town is the art capital of Kauai. Located on the south shore west of Koloa, Hanapepe Town once flourished as one of Kauai's largest communities. From World War I to the early 1950s, West Side Hanapepe was also one of Kauai's busiest towns, alive with G.I.’s and sailors training in the Pacific Theater.

Hanapepe Town celebrates its artists every Friday, from 6-9pm, as painters, sculptors and craftsmen open the doors of their galleries and studios to celebrate the arts. Visit the galleries, take a walk on the “Hanapepe Swinging Bridge” — which is always an adventure to cross — then shop and dine in one of Kauai’s most famous small towns.

Old Koloa Town

Old Koloa Town

Old Koloa Town, in south Kauai, is a charming area with a historic plantation past. Koloa opened its first sugar mill in 1835 and set the precedent for commercial sugar production across the islands. The sugar era opened the door to a wave of immigrants that make up Hawaii’s multicultural population today.

You can also explore the Koloa Heritage Trail, which covers 14 cultural, historical and geological sites from Old Koloa Town to Poipu. But to really experience all that this area has to offer go to the Koloa Plantation Days Celebration (July), an annual summer event that celebrates Kauai’s rich plantation past.

Opaekaa Falls

Opaekaa Falls

With a roadside lookout, this is one of Kauai's most accessible major waterfalls. Located on the East Side about 2 miles up Kuamoo Road (Route 580) from Hwy. 56, signs clearly point to the roadside lookout on the right. This convenient stop makes for a memorable photo opportunity. "Opaekaa" means "rolling shrimp," which were once abundant in the stream. Walk uphill from the Opaekaa lookout and across the road for another great view of the Wailua River valley and interior plains beyond.

Poipu Beach Park

Poipu Beach Park

Situated on Kauai’s south shore, was once voted “America’s Best Beach.” The inviting waters of Poipu make it very popular with visitors, locals and even local marine life. From December through May, it’s not uncommon to spot humpback whales spouting off shore. Large honu (Hawaiian green sea turtles) also swim in these waters. But Poipu Beach is most famous for the endangered Hawaiian monk seals that sometimes sunbathe on the shore. 

Snorkeling in Poipu reveals a variety of colorful fish including the state fish, the humuhumunukunukuapuaa, and there’s a wading pool for toddlers and young swimmers. 

Spouting Horn Park

Spouting Horn Park

Spouting Horn Park features a blowhole that’s one of the most photographed spots on Kauai. 

The Poipu surf channels into a natural lava tube here and releases a huge spout of water during large swells. You’ll also hear a hiss and a roar that is the basis of a Hawaiian legend.

Ancient Hawaiians believed this coastline was once guarded by a giant moo (lizard) named Kaikapu. 

Waimea Canyon

Waimea Canyon

Waimea Canyon, on Kauai's West Side, is described as "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific." Although not as big or as old as its Arizona cousin, you won’t encounter anything like this geological wonder in Hawaii. Stretching 14 miles long, one mile wide and more than 3,600 feet deep, the Waimea Canyon Lookout provides panoramic views of crested buttes, rugged crags and deep valley gorges. The grand inland vistas go on for miles.

The main road, Waimea Canyon Drive, leads you to a lower lookout point and the main Waimea Canyon Overlook, offering views of Kauai's dramatic interior. The road continues into the mountains and ends at Kokee State Park. There are numerous trails to traverse for beginners and seasoned hikers.


Hawaii accommodation Day 4 - 7

Fern Grotto

Fern Grotto

The Fern Grotto is one of Kauai's signature attractions. Accessible only by a short boat trip up the Wailua River, the grotto is a natural lava-rock grotto, lush with hanging ferns and tropical foliage, cooled by the mists of a waterfall. There was a time when the Grotto was off-limits to all but Hawaiian royalty. But for more than 50 years, riverboats have provided tours of the site.

In this serene setting, the grotto acts like a natural amphitheatre. Taking advantage of the incredible natural acoustics, visitors are often treated to musicians playing beautiful Hawaiian music. It's no wonder why this unique Kauai setting is such a popular destination for wedding ceremonies.

Kapaa Town

Kapaa Town

North of Wailua on the East Side is Kapaa Town, a great area for shopping on Kauai. Kinipopo Shopping Village offers a variety of fun shops and eateries. Other stops include the Wailua Shopping Plaza, which houses several restaurants and an eclectic antique shop, and the Coconut Marketplace, with dozens of shops in which you'll find Hawaiian mementos, fine artwork, antiques, jewelry and craft items.

Kauai Gardens

Kauai Gardens

Kauai is known as “The Garden Isle” for its tropical rain forests, fertile valleys and lush flora. So it’s not surprising to find some of Hawaii’s most beautiful botanical gardens on Kauai.

You can find three of the nation’s five National Tropical Botanical Gardens on Kauai: the Allerton Garden and McBryde Garden on the South Shore, and Limahuli Gardens in Haena. McBryde Garden is home to the largest collection of native Hawaiian flora in the world, while Allerton Gardens features amazing landscaping and the giant Moreton Figs. 

Kilohana Estate

Kilohana Estate

Past Lihue is Kilohana, a restored plantation estate that provides a glimpse of life in the 1930s. Once the center of a 27,000-acre sugar plantation and the hub of Kauai business, cultural and social life, the 35-acre estate now features tropical gardens and an old plantation village.

The Classic Kauai Plantation Railway gives you a tour of Kilohana’s working farm, and the festive Luau Kalamaku is held regularly.

Kokee State Park

Kokee State Park

The Kokee State Park features 45 miles of Kauai’s best hiking trails and is the home of the Kalalau Lookout and is covered in forest, wild flowers and hiking trails making it an excellent spot to see native plants and colorful endemic Hawaiian forest birds like the apapane, iwi and moa. 

The park also offers roughly 45 miles of the state's finest hiking trails. Some trails lead to views of Waimea Canyon, others wind through wet forests with sweeping views of valleys opening up to the North Shore. 

Napali Coast

Napali Coast

The Napali Coast is a breathtaking coastal range that can only be accessed by hiking, sea tour or helicopter tour. The rugged terrain appears much as it did centuries ago when Hawaiian settlements flourished in these valleys existing only on the food they could grow and the fish they could catch.

The only land access to this enchanted area is via the Kalalau Trail, an 11-mile trail that starts at Kee Beach, crosses five different valleys and ends at secluded Kalalau Beach. This is one of the most challenging, and sometimes even treacherous, Kauai hikes with narrow sections and muddy topsoil from rainfall. Many hikers choose to break the trail up into two days, setting up camp at the beach of Hanakoa, and then heading to Kalalau the next morning. Camping permits are required from the Hawaii State Parks Division office in Lihue. Hiking during the winter months is discouraged.

Nounou Mountain (Sleeping Giant)

Nounou Mountain

On Kauai’s East Side between Wailua and Kapaa, is the Nounou Mountain range, more famously known as Sleeping Giant. Stare at the ridge from afar and with a little imagination you can make out what looks like a human figure lying on his back. Hawaiian legends say this giant was tricked by villagers into eating a vast amount of rocks hidden in fish and poi. Sleepy from the meal, the giant took a nap and hasn’t woken since.

Sleeping Giant also offers a scenic hiking trail. The Nounou Trail is less than a 2-mile hike to the top of Sleeping Giant. The east Kauai views from the top of the ridge are beautiful. The Nounou trail head can be found on Halelilo Road in Wailua.

Wailua River

Wailua River

The tranquil Wailua River weaves by gorgeous waterfalls and lush, jungle landscapes along the island’s East Side. Kauai has the only navigable rivers in Hawaii, and the Wailua River is one of the most popular.

The 20-mile long river, that once wove through the settings of seven different heiau (temples), flows from the 5,148-foot Mount Waialeale in the center of the island. The Wailua River features two popular and accessible waterfalls: Opaekaa Falls and Wailua Falls. The scenic river itself can be explored by kayak or outrigger canoe, and a boat tour is also available.


Hawaii monuments Day 8+

Alekoko, Menehune Fishpond

Alekoko Menehune Fishpond

According to legend, the Menehune built Alekoko Fishpond on Kauai’s southeast shore in one night. Built nearly 1,000 years ago, the Alekoko Menehune Fishpond, minutes from Lihue, has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973. Ingenious ponds like this were built to catch fish, and the Menehune Fishpond is one of the finest examples of this type of ancient Hawaiian aquaculture.

Though Menehune legends abound, some say the word may have derived from the Tahitian word manahune meaning commoner, or small in social standing, not in physical size.

Kauai Museum

Kauai Museum

Located in a lava rock structure in Lihue, the Kauai Museum features amazing collections from the artisans of Kauai and Niihau (a small eastern island part of Kauai county).

Visitors can learn about the geological formation of the Hawaiian Islands, early Native Hawaiian life, Captain Cook’s arrival on Kauai’s shores in Waimea and the Hawaiian Monarchy.

Koloa Heritage Trail

Koloa Heritage Trail

Ka Ala Hele Waiwai Hooilina o Koloa, or the Koloa Heritage Trail, is a 14-stop, self-guided 10-mile tour of the Koloa and Poipu area’s most important cultural, historical and geological sites, with descriptive plaques that explain each spot’s significance.

In the mid 1800’s, sugar replaced the whaling industry to become the principal industry of Hawaii. As a result of the sugar boom, approximately 350,000 immigrants from around the world came to Hawaii to work in the sugar plantations. 

Waimea Town

Waimea Town

Relax and experience the local side of Hawaii Island in Downtown Hilo. Visit incredible museums like the Lyman Museum and Mission House, the Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii, the East Hawaii Cultural Center, Mokupapapa Discovery Center and the Pacific Tsunami Museum. Shop at the Hilo Farmers Market and other local favorites to discover off the beaten path treasures. Then unwind in amazing parks like Liliuokalani Gardens after your busy trip to Hawaii Island.

Waioli Mission House and Church

Waioli Mission House

Step back in time at the 1837 home of the early Christian missionaries, Abner and Lucy Wilcox. This Hanalei Town landmark, restored in 1921 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, reflects the southern roots of its architect, the Reverend William Alexander of Kentucky.

In front of the house is the old Waioli Huiia Church, which was founded in 1834. Its green shingles and stained glass windows are a picturesque symbol of Hanalei.


Popular Kauai Activities

Kuaui Sunset Dinner Cruises Hawaii Kuaui Sports Fishing Hawaii Kuaui Golf Courses Hawaii Kuaui Horseback Riding Hawaii Kuaui Kayaking Adventure Hawaii Kuaui Scuba Snuba Hawaii Kuaui Surfing Hawaii Kuaui Zipline Hawaii
Dinner Cruises Fishing Charters Golf Horseback Riding Kayaking Scuba & Snuba Surfing Zipline

Kauai Adventure Tours

Kuaui ATV Tours Hawaii Kuaui Bicycle Tours Hawaii Kuaui Dolphin Watching Tours Hawaii Kuaui Eco Tours Hawaii Kuaui Helicopter Tours Hawaii Kuaui Land Tours Hawaii Kuaui Sightseeing Tours Hawaii Kuaui Whale Watching Tours Hawaii
ATV Tours Bicycle Tours Dolphin Tours Eco Tours Helicopter Tours Land Tours Sightseeing Whale Watching

Memberships and Certification

 Hawaii Tourism Authority

Certified Hawaii Tourism Authority 'Destination Expert'.

A member of Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau and the Hawaii Tourism Authority. 

 Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau

Acknowledgements & Credits


Comments

Leave your comment

Hawaii discount sunset dinner cruises
Hawaii discount culture events
Hawaii discount tours

Island Guides: Tips & Fun Things To Do