Outdoorsy Kauai Recommendations

edith headedith head 5,106 Posts
edited June 2011 in Strut Central
Uh, I just bought a ticket to Kauai on impulse without doing much research and was wondering if y'all can recommend outdoorsy stuff one would to do there such as helicopter rides, waterfall kickboxing, volcano-side picnics, etc. I've never actually been to Hawaii and aside from the summer camping trips, I've only had getaways to other metropolitan cities, so this beach stuff is actually really new to me.

  Comments


  • HorseleechHorseleech 3,830 Posts
    The only helicopter ride I've ever taken was in Kauai and it was totally worth it. The vast majority of the island isn't accessible any other way and it's incredible.

    Hike or kayak the Na Pali coast.

    I'm jealous - haven't been back in years and I loved it there.

  • DJ_EnkiDJ_Enki 6,471 Posts
    Go see Waimea Canyon. And just about any beach you go to is going to be great.

    Also, this:
    I'm jealous - haven't been back in years and I loved it there.

    It's funny--when I went with my girlfriend at the time, we had this big list of things we wanted to do, and we were super psyched to start working our way through said list, but once we actually got there, our mood shifted to, "Let's just go check out one of the towns, then hit a beach." It was a phenomenal vacation.

  • ketanketan Warmly booming riffs 2,843 Posts
    Do you have a place to stay yet? You could skip a hotel and just rent a house and a car, if it's cost effective...it's a small island and you can zip around easily if you have wheels.

    We went hiking in one of the big rainforests in the middle of the island (can't recall the name). Na Pali coast - yes. Also, we found this white peoples Hindu temple in the most epic setting: http://www.himalayanacademy.com/ssc/hawaii/

    But honestly, it's full of beautiful beaches with decent reef, so just plan to go and c.h.i.l.l. on the sand with a snorkel.

    > I'm jealous - haven't been back in years and I loved it there.

    THIS.

  • edith headedith head 5,106 Posts
    I forgot to mention that I bought a ticket because I discovered that with the right searching on Orbitz and Hotwire, most could fly considerably cheaper in October. I highly recommend it! Airfare and 7 day hotel for two only came out to $1500 something.

    We are staying at this Aston Islander place right next to some beach


    Hope it's as nice as it looks. but honestly, I don't expect to be hanging there that much so if the money I saved can go toward helicopter rides, snorkeling, kayaking etc that would be great. Stuff I wouldn't normally be able to do in this fog trap.

    forgive me my ignorance on this subject, but how do people get between islands? Can i rent a car and drive it onto a ferry?

    I really want to see some MEGA-volcanoes if possible.

  • HorseleechHorseleech 3,830 Posts
    edith head said:
    forgive me my ignorance on this subject, but how do people get between islands? Can i rent a car and drive it onto a ferry?

    Don't rent a car until you get to Kauai, and get the cheapest one you can get because you won't be able to go fast anyway.

    There will be plenty to do on Kauai, so you won't need to go to Maui etc.

  • BrianBrian 7,618 Posts
    No ferry between islands. Airplane only.

    That's my only contribution to this thread because even though I've lived here all my life I've never been to Kauai!

  • mannybolonemannybolone 15,030 Posts
    Hey Edith,

    Kudos on the impulse decision. Kauai is, by far, one of my favorite places anywhere.

    So looks like you're staying outside of Kapaa; wouldn't have been my pref (north shore, all the way) but it's a small island and you can get anywhere fairly quickly.

    Outdoorsy: hike the Na Pali trail. You could kayak it if you want the trouble and expense but the hike - while vigorous for the first half - is pretty great and is *absolutely worth the effort*. The trail starts at Ke'e Beach, at the very end of the highway on the north shore. Start early enough and you can make it to the first beach (don't swim there - hella dangerous but a gorgeous beach) and then also hike inland to a very nice waterfall. The main thing: you just do NOT want to be on the Na Pali trail back to Ke'e if you're not going to make it back by dusk. I've made that mistake before and walking on a narrow and wet trail...in moonlight? Not smart.

    Ke'e also has great snorkeling; you don't have to go too far out to see coral, fish and - if you're lucky - sea turtles. Alas, it's a bit too popular for its own good and all those people have killed off the inner part of the reef. C'est la vie.

    Tunnels would be another solid snorkeling beach.

    Waimea Canyon is also worth a day trip; from the Kapaa area, you can make it there in less than an hour.

    I've driven to the west shore for sunset but frankly, I didn't think it was really worth it. However, since you're there for a week, if you're looking for something to do, you could drive out the Barking Sand beach.

    Personally, if the weather looks like it'd be amendable, I think it's totally worth renting a convertible. TRUST me on this one. Besides, it won't really cost that much more b/c they have so many of them in volume.

    Food: Aloha Diner is relatively close to you. They do classic Hawaiian fare and are completely unpretentious.

    Hamura Saimin usually has a wait but if you're rolling through Lihue at some point, it's a decent bowl of noodles. It's not Santa Ramen or anything but again, not a bad bowl of noodles.

    Roy's used to be more special before they began popping up like PF Chang's but one of the older ones is down south in Poipu. Butterfish (black cod), all the way.

    Have fun out there!

  • ReynaldoReynaldo 6,054 Posts
    Kalalau Lookout is the best.

  • AKallDayAKallDay 830 Posts
    hi A!
    don't bother going to any other islands, kauai is the best.
    after college i lived there for a short bit and worked for the national tropical botanical garden. which you should visit.
    the farmers markets there are incredible as are some of the aforementioned things to do- hiking into kalalau, waimea canyon.
    i would also recommend hiking into the less crowded waterfall up the hill in lihue that is the waterfall from the intro to 'fantasy island' and if you get in there, after a rugged downhill climb you can sit under the waterfall and let it give you a killer deep tissue back massage.
    if you want to link with one of my good friends who has a farm on the north shore send me an email. he grew up there and is now doing some amazing local agriculture projects with schools and is an all around radical dude.
    ah i miss that island, it's so beautiful.

  • spelunkspelunk 3,400 Posts
    Without a doubt one of my favorite places ever. Some good advice in this thread.

    You can't really go wrong if you're willing to put in the work hiking and don't lose track of time enough to get stuck at night. That said the eastern side of the island IMO has much more to offer. Also remember that Kauai does have snorkeling spots, but they pale in comparison to the vibrancy I've seen off the big island - Kauai is about the island much more than the beach or the ocean.

  • edith headedith head 5,106 Posts
    Wow, you guys are getting me really excited about my impulsive purchase. Natural waterfall massage? Hell yes!

    Initially, my friend had sent me for a cheap deal to Oahu but I am so happy I went with Kauai after reading your suggestions. I love a rewarding hike so thank you for the insider tips on some epic trails and views. I'm definitely going to do the Na Pali hike and pay attention to the daylight. Being stranded on some rocks during high tide is one of my worse nightmares and I've come close to doing that at Point Reyes here in California before.

    Snorkeling with sea turtles sounds like a dream to me, even better if I don't have to play underwater Frogger avoiding jellys. Is kayaking overrated then? Maybe I can do some elementary kayaking.

    Are there caves to snorkel in Kauai?

    Cripes, I didn't even begin to think about Hawaiian food. Thanks for the recommendations on that O- and I will definitely rent a convertible.

  • SPlDEYSPlDEY Vegas 3,367 Posts
    Spend a day.. make no plans.. Get lost. Make your own adventure. Thank me later.

    Good luck mama.

    - spidey

  • mannybolonemannybolone 15,030 Posts
    Oh, and eat as much poke as possible. Mmmmmm...poke. Even the Safeway in Kapaa sells it by the pound.

    Someone mentioned the farmer's market. It's fine but don't expect the Ferry Building on weekends; it's pretty small, all said.

  • edith headedith head 5,106 Posts
    I had one of the best vacations in Kauai last week and did a lot of the things you guys recommended in this thread like that scary but fun hike to the back massage waterfall A**y recommended, visited a couple of botanical gardens and got a bunch of crazy tropical fruit at the Farmers Markets, snorkeled in Ke'e and Poipu, ate at Hamura Saiman etc. I also did a helicopter tour, catamaran/snorkel trip to the Na Pali Coast, kayaked and saw dolphins and sea turtles. My favorite thing I did was ATV 22-miles through a sugar plantation and a secluded tropical forest in the south to swim next to a waterfall. Kauai is so beautiful and not overwhelming with people and crowds at all. I'm glad I stayed on that island the entire time. Thanks for the tips, it definitely helped shape a very memorable trip

    Here are some pics


    a catamarn view from a catamaran



    things you see underwater










    Na Pali Coast from the helicopter


    Cute trees and taro fields
















    7am kayak and hike to waterfall




    view from our hotel balcony






    this is called the Beefsteak Heliconia, hahaha






  • mannybolonemannybolone 15,030 Posts
    Looks like an awesome trip; glad you enjoyed it!

  • JoeMojoJoeMojo 720 Posts
    I have no real contribution to this thread except that I went over a few months ago for the Na Pali Challenge canoe race... 35 miles from Hanalei to Waimea. Huge amount of fun, it took about 5 hours. I'm sitting seat 2 in this shot.

  • JoeMojoJoeMojo 720 Posts
    Hiking in Koke`e is also awesome. Highly recommend the Alakai Swamp Trail if it's clear enough - start early, at dawn if possible.

    I did a long trail run up there in April with legs on the Awa`awapuhi trail, across the Nu`alolo cliffs and down the Honopu ridges... kind of sketchy terrain but very beautiful. Not very many people up there. Awa`awapuhi is spectacular and pretty short. The Waimea canyon ditch trail is incredible but kind of confusing to get to the trailhead.




  • HarveyCanalHarveyCanal "a distraction from my main thesis." 13,234 Posts
    Loved Kauai when I went...even the chickens.

  • edith headedith head 5,106 Posts
    this was the best shot we could get of the sea turtle we followed


    the pic of the dolphin lurking and plotting our demise below our boat came out slightly better


    JoeMojo said:
    I have no real contribution to this thread except that I went over a few months ago for the Na Pali Challenge canoe race... 35 miles from Hanalei to Waimea. Huge amount of fun, it took about 5 hours. I'm sitting seat 2 in this shot.

    i can't imagine paddling 35 miles in the ocean, especially since it's so choppy compared to the river. you must have been so exhausted! i bet it was gorgeous scenery. i could not believe how turquoise that water was, not to mention really warm for jumping into.

  • JoeMojoJoeMojo 720 Posts
    edith head said:
    i can't imagine paddling 35 miles in the ocean, especially since it's so choppy compared to the river. you must have been so exhausted! i bet it was gorgeous scenery. i could not believe how turquoise that water was, not to mention really warm for jumping into.

    It can run a lot faster than river paddling - you're going downwind so you pull into waves and surf the canoe. Although this year was pretty calm. Maybe 90 minutes of clean 4-foot windswell and the rest was flat and choppy. The format for this race is that women & men's crews switch out every 30 minutes, so you're only working half the time. It goes by pretty quickly.

    I'm not sure that I even looked at the scenery once! Although I've kayaked around the coast two or three times so I checked it out then.
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