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Trip Report

Things to do on Kauai: Everything you need to know for 1 week trip.

I spent 3 months working remotely on Kauai, Hawaii in 2021. I have seen the island in great detail and compiled my 3 months into a 1 week itinerary for you to know helpful things to do on Kauai.

by charfromchicagoAbout Me:Hey you! My name is Charlotte but most people know me as Charlotte from Chicago. I have been to 50 countries and all 50 US states. I have traveled on a strict budget, more luxuriously, and everything in between. I am a huge aviation geek... read more

North AmericaUnited States7 days / March - April - May 2021

Highs & Lows

Nicknamed the garden island for a reason: Kauai is stunning, lush, and full of incredible nature.

Depending on the season, waves are too strong and dangerous to swim at certain beaches.

Itinerary Overview

I spent 3 months living and working remotely on Kauai in the town of Poipu. Here I combine my 3 months into what is the perfect 7 day itinerary on the island for things to do on Kauai.

  • 4 Nights: Poipu
    The south shore is the most consistently sunny on the island which will give you the highest chance of good weather.
  • Day trip: Waimea
    Biggest town on the west side of the island
  • Day trip: Hanapepe
    Lilo and Stitch
  • Day trip: Hanalei Bay
    Northern most point of Kauai
  • 3 Nights: Kapaʻa
    Prime central location which makes it optimal for day trips.

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    Things to do on Kauai. If I were to only spend a week on Kauai I would make sure to book big, can't miss, activities far in advance but also leave time to just relax and enjoy the surroundings. Have structure but flexibility for when you stumble upon hidden gems or decide you just want to stay on the beach.

  • What tips would you give a friend?

    Spend time getting to know the locals. Support local businesses and, respectfully, visit places that are not touristy. Kauai doesn't have many chain restaurants but still try to always eat and drink local.

  • Packing tips?

    You must bring reef safe sunscreen. Ideally the best form of sun protection is wearing water shirts but I know that isn't always practical. Reef safe sunscreen is critical for the well being of the reef ecosystems.

  • Transportation Tips?

    You absolutely need to rent a car to get around Kauai. There is no public transportation and Uber is not really on the island much. Rent a car from one of the places at the airport or there may be a few options on TURO as well. But you absolutely need a car to get around unless you're only planning on staying at your hotel the entire time.

  • Any surprises?

    I hate to be the Debbie downer but I really don't recommend the helicopter rides or skydiving here. They are very DANGEROUS. They keep it quiet for tourism reasons but there is on average about one helicopter crash a year which usually leads to casualties. The mountains have their own climate and the weather can often change so quickly which is what makes things so dangerous. The skydiving planes are also risky. I knew someone who worked as a firefighter on the island and they said the skydiving places were one more strike from being shut down. So even though it looks amazing, please be careful. It's a lot more safe to do a boat adventure that you can get up close and still amazing views as well....Read More

Lodging

  • Honestly Kauai is small enough that if you stay in Poipu or Lihue, you can make it to anywhere on the island for a day trip then back to your hotel. It just depends on how much driving you are willing to do. For this scenario I am recommending 4 days in Poipu/Koloa. Two days at the Sheraton and two days at the Hyatt. Both hotels are waterfront properties with beach access. They also have nice pools if you don't enjoy open water swimming. Sheraton's beach is known for being a great beginner surf spot and where many people take lessons. The Hyatt is next to shipwreck's beach which is for more moderate to advanced surfers. There is a trail to hike up to the top of the rock for some beautiful views. The Hyatt also has an incredible breakfast buffet. The Sheraton has a great beachfront bar.

  • Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort, Hilton Garden Inn Kauai Wailua Bay, Marriott's Kauai Beach Club. All three are great hotel options across the east side of the island. If you do decide to stay in two different places overall on Kauai I really recommend sticking central which is why Kapa'a, Wailua, or Lihue are all great options along with Poipu on the south shore. These hotels range in price and it all depends on if you have loyalty to one hotel chain over another.