• Monica, Your Travel Gal

Top Kauai Romantic/Outdoor/Family Activities

Updated: Aug 8, 2021

Whether you are looking for romance, outdoors or family friendly things to do, I have it all covered for you below. Let's start out with the romantic options with your sweetie in Kauai. Check out my Top Romantic Activities on Kauai.

Couple views Napali Coast from bow of tour boat - Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Ben Ono

1) Napali Sunset Cruise

You will board a catamaran for a sunset cruise along the Napali Coast, sipping a mai tai or guava juice while taking in the spectacular views of the coastline and secluded coves.


2) Kayak the Wailua River

With tropical foliage along its lush banks, the peaceful Wailua River is a great place for couples to explore by kayak. Even better is combining the experience with a hike to view a hidden waterfall.


3) Hiking

Kauai is a hiker’s paradise and a great way to enjoy and explore its pristine valleys and hidden waterfalls. In particular, Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Park, both on the west side of the island, are idyllic places for hiking, offering over 45 miles of trails.


4) Explore quaint towns

Waimea, Kapaa, Hanapepe, Hanalei and Koloa are quaint, small towns where you can shop and learn about the island’s unique history. Meet local artists in their studios during the Hanapepe Friday Night Festival & Art Walk or catch a local slack-key guitar performance at the Hanalei Community Center, to name just a few of the unscripted experiences that await.


5) Sunrise or Sunset Beach strolls

Kauai is blessed with an abundance of unspoiled white sand beaches – in fact, because it is the oldest, it offers more beach per linear coastline than its neighbor islands. Couples will enjoy taking a stroll at sunrise or sunset.


6) Aerial tours

Kauai’s amazing natural beauty is especially dazzling when viewed from a helicopter or small airplane. With over 80% of the island inaccessible by car, getting above it all allows visitors to see the untouched beauty of the Garden Isle. These tours soar above the spires of the Napali Coast, dip into Waimea Canyon and reveal the hidden waterfalls. At certain times of year, whales may be spotted in the sea below.


7) Sunset Garden Tours

Kauai is home to several outstanding botanical gardens, each offering something unique and rare. Three of Kauai’s exquisite gardens are part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, an organization dedicated to preserving native flora. The many options of garden tours include docent-led sunset tours. For anyone with an interest in horticulture, we definitely recommend a garden tour on Kauai.


8) Couples’ Spa Treatment

Spa treatments are a heightened experience on Kauai, thanks to the island's beauty and rejuvenating atmosphere. Spas on Kauai also place an emphasis on the rich culture of the Hawaiian Islands, offering treatments based on traditional Hawaiian healing practices such as lomilomi massage and soothing oils made from local ingredients.


9) Movie Tours

The lush beauty of Kauai has played a starring role in countless TV shows and films, including South Pacific, Blue Hawaii, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Jurassic Park, Fantasy Island and many others. Guided movie tours take you to a variety of movie and TV locations around parts of the island, while showing clips of the scenes filmed in the very spot being visited.

 

Maybe romance isn't your gig but exploring the outdoors is? Check out my Top Outdoor Activities on Kauai.

Ziplining on Kauai - Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

1) Zipline

A half-dozen companies offer zipline adventures where participants zip along at up to 35 miles an hour over green jungle canopies 50 to 80 feet above the ground. Some outfitters offer them in combination with hiking, swims in natural pools, rope courses and other adrenalin-pumping activities.


2) ATV Touring

ATV tours enable you to experience areas of Kauai where conventional vehicles cannot go. Some traverse private trails past movie sites, waterfalls and reservoirs, allowing time for swimming.


3) Hiking

Kauai is a hiker’s paradise and a great way for people to enjoy areas free of cars. In particular, Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Park, both on the west side of the island, are great places for hiking, offering over 45 miles of trails.


4) River kayaking

Kauai offers three navigable waterways popular with kayakers. On the Wailua River, you can combine a guided kayaking tour with a 30-minute hike through the rainforest to Uluwehi Falls, aka Secret Falls. On the Hanalei River, you can combine kayaking with snorkeling in a protected bay brimming with sea turtles and tropical fish. The Huleia River offers stunning views of Mount Haupu as well as a hike to a waterfall.


5) Horseback riding

Several companies, including working cattle ranches, offer guided trail rides through rolling meadows and along secluded shorelines.


6) Zodiac

And for those who love outdoor recreation and adventure, we recommend they explore the Napali Coast on a Zodiac raft. These vessels speed along the coastline and have the ability to enter into sea caves along Napali (conditions permitting) as well as land on one of the beaches that are otherwise inaccessible.


7) Standup Paddle (SUP)

Standup Paddle (SUP) is available on the Wailua, Huleia, and Hanalei rivers as well as Kalapaki Bay, to name a few popular areas. As always, it’s important to be cognizant of water safety conditions, especially in winter when there may be swells along the north shore.


8) Photo Tours

Ideal for shutterbugs, there are tour companies that take small groups to some of the island’s most photogenic locations. The guides are experienced photographers who share insight into the best angles and techniques for capturing unique shots.

 

Finally, maybe you are traveling with your kids and want some family friendly things to do? Check out my Top Family Activities on Kauai.

Kilohana Plantation - Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

1) Kilohana Plantation’s Kauai Plantation Railway

A fun way to tour this 105-acre estate with a variety of fruit orchards and learn about the history of Kauai’s plantation days is to take a narrated train ride in antique-style railway cars.


2) Napali Snorkel Sail

Catamaran excursions long the Napali Coast, with its secluded coves, waterfalls, lava tubes and sea caves, include opportunities to watch for dolphins and whales (during whale season) and snorkel among sea turtles and colorful fish. Most of the morning tours include a continental breakfast and deli lunch.


3) Mountain Tubing

Floating down irrigation ditches built during the days of the sugar plantations, is not only fun, but a great way to learn about Kauai history.


4) Na Aina Kai Botanical Garden

Among its many delights is the “Under the Rainbow” Children’s Garden with its statue of Jack and the Beanstalk, rubbertree tree house, gecko maze and child-size railway.


5) Children’s Garden Picnic at Lydgate Beach Park

This beach park near the Wailua River is a popular spot for families with its protected lagoons that are safe for swimming, but also provide great snorkeling. There are lifeguards, picnic grounds and a playground. A picnic here can be combined with a leisurely bike ride or stroll along nearby Ke Ala Hele Makalae, (“the path that goes by the coast”).


6) Kauai Museum

Anyone with an interest in Kauai’s history, geology and wildlife will enjoy the exhibits in this small museum in downtown Lihue. They’ll see feather lei, Hawaiian and missionary artifacts, quilts, a replica of a plantation home and other artifacts. On the first Friday of each month, the museum is the scene of a Paina, a special event with local foods and Hawaiian music.


7) Attend a local Festival

Kauai is the scene of festivals and events throughout the year that some families may want to enjoy during their stay. Just make sure to book your travel arrangements (especially accommodations and rental car) well in advance. For greater details on these and other Kauai events, ask your travel agent for advise!


8) Kauai Mini Golf

This 18-hole miniature golf course is surrounded by lush Hawaiian tropical botanical gardens on the north shore in Kilauea. There is also a concession stand for food, drinks and gelato along with a gift shop featuring locally made products.


9) Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse

At the very northern tip of the island is where you can explore a lighthouse built in 1913 as a beacon for ships sailing off the rocky coast. Along with spectacular views, it’s a great place to enjoy sea faring birds such as the laysan albatross, frigate birds, shearwaters, nene (Hawaiian geese), and red-footed boobies.

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