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Kauai (My favorite FREE things to Do)

26 Mar

Let me just start by saying Kauai is the BEST island if you want “post card” Hawaii. No freeways, no skyscrapers on the beach. Just lush green everywhere you look, laid back vibes, beautiful beaches and waterfalls.

It hasn’t even been 2 weeks since my wife and I have been back from Kauai and we miss it so much already. This trip was our 5th to the beautiful garden island, so I feel like it’s the appropriate time to share my budget friendly ‘Must Do’ list with the world. Below I will list- in no particular order my absolute favorite Must Dos when you’re visiting Kauai. And by budget friendly, I mean FREE!!!k3

Ke’e Beach– (North shore)Literally the last stop at the end of the road. Full of chickens, this beach is lagoon like and is enclosed with a beautiful reef that keeps the water very calm (perfect for snorkeling). I like to bring snacks and water and chill at this beach for hours!

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KalaLau Trail– (North Shore) This 11 mile (each way) trail along the Na Pali coast is one of the most breathtaking and dangerous hikes in the world. It takes expert hikers an entire day to complete but most people usually hike it in 2 days and camp overnight to rest. Even if you aren’t an avid hiker, you can still safely hike up about a mile or two and see some of the most amazing views for FREE!  To hike and camp the full 22 mile round trip, a permit is required. *pictured below is the view from KalaLau Trail looking down on Ke’e beach.img_3106

Queen’s Bath– Princeville (North Shore) Queen’s bath is pretty much a natural swimming pool enclosed by rocks-inside of the ocean. It is a must see and a must swim spot(when the tide is CALM) People literally die here because they underestimate the power of the ocean. If you use common sense, you’ll be fine. If the ocean looks rough, just observe this beauty from afar.

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Hanalei– (North shore)this super cute Hawaiian town is my favorite in all of kauai. It’s laid back with plenty of shops and restaurants. The beaches are gorgeous and the view looking out from Hanalei Pier is worth writing home about. Do not skip this town, or their adorable fruitstand!

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Kapaa– (East Shore)This town is located more centrally on the island and has great beaches, a long bike path along the coast, and endless restaurants and shops including bike and snorkel rentals.  Our favorite mexican restaurant Verde’ is located in Kapaa. One of my favorite hikes ( Ho’Opi Falls) is here as well. The hike follows along a gorgeous river that leads to multiple waterfalls, and there is also a fun rope swing too! *kids can definitely do this hike.  ho'opi

Kapaa is where I suggest you stay for your first Kauai trip because it is so centrally located that you can see all of the island if you plan it out right. My advice is to schedule your activities according to location so you save precious time driving. You can hit up the entire north shore in a day (or more if you want some relaxing beach time) The same goes for the East and South shores.  For example: The same day that you hike Ho’opi Falls in the morning is the same day you should do lunch and shopping in Kapaa.

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Poipu/Old Koloa town- (South Shore) These are two seperate towns that are about 7 minutes apart. If you visit one, you should visit the other. Poipu is the biggest “touristy” area on the island. Lots of restaurants and shops. Koloa town is an adorable tiny town with cute shops, restaurants and food trucks. We had some of the best pizza of our lives there (twice)!! Their pizza by the slice is no joke! Something not to miss in the koloa area is Spouting Horn park! When you’re at spouting Horn park, be sure to shop for small trinkets from the vendors here, they have the BEST PRICES on the island!

Makauwahi Cave-(South Shore)This super cool cave is at the end of a short hike and you enter by crawling through a small entry hole. The Cave is the largest limestone cave in Hawaii! There is a tortoise sanctuary about 3 minutes from the entrance of the cave, which is amazing! The cave and the tortoise sanctuary are both FREE but a donation is suggested. ($5 is good) See directions to the cave HERE and be warned that the dirt road there is VERY BUMPY. We had a 4×4 and still parked the car just below the nearby horse stables and walked to the cave. This excursion was so great because it started with petting horses, then a nice hike along the coast, followed by a really cool cave, and then tortoises! I highly recommend this adventure! Also the cave is  located near all the shops and restaurants in the Poipu/Koloa area so you can visit those areas too! All in the same day!

Sleeping Giant hike- (East Shore)This hike was about 3 hours round trip. We hiked all the way up to sleeping giant’s head. There were a couple of steep parts, but we made it, and the view of Kauai from the top was amazing!

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Wailua Falls-(East shore) This is a must see and you don’t even have to hike to it(unless you want to illegally climb over a fence, ignore the signs, and hike down a STEEP cliff hoping that you reach the bottom without dying or getting arrested)! You can just park and walk 20 feet to see the famous twin falls. They are massive and beautiful! There are much longer trails leading down that are guided and will lead to the base of the falls and are much safer than the WILD WAY DOWN!

DAREDEVILS…. keep reading.  For those of you interested in hiking down the fast way, it is doable in sneakers and if you are an experienced hiker. If you aren’t sure footed, do not try hiking down. It’s a short (20 min) but very steep hike. There are some points where you are hanging onto a rope installed by locals to scale down the cliff. I would never suggest hiking it on a rainy day. With that being said, once you get down, it is so worth it!!!

My wife Pictured below. We hiked down in 2016. We did NOT hike down on our most recent trip because it was raining.

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Hopefully my list helped you if you’re looking to vacation in Kauai:) Comment below if you have any questions.

Also-There are tons of great things to do in Kauai that do cost money like helicopter rides along the Na Pali coast, dinner on a sailboat, zip lines, kayaking, ATV rides, and Luaus (Smith’s luau is my favorite). Enjoy planning your trip!

Thanks for reading,

Journey

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16 Responses to “Kauai (My favorite FREE things to Do)”

  1. Diane March 26, 2018 at 4:52 pm #

    Bookmarked for my upcoming trip. Thank you.

  2. Kelly March 27, 2018 at 1:30 pm #

    Thank you!! I’m Taking a girls trip to Kauai in July:)

  3. Sarah Byrd March 27, 2018 at 11:15 pm #

    Thanks Journey! I think we’re gonna go in May 🙂

    • yourstylejourney March 28, 2018 at 7:01 am #

      Yay!! May is a great time to go! You and Wayne are gonna love it!

  4. Chris March 31, 2018 at 12:41 am #

    This helps so much! Thank you!

  5. Erin March 31, 2018 at 10:41 am #

    Thanks Journey! I was planning on Oahu in July, but I’m going to Kauai instead. I shared this link in my blog!

    • yourstylejourney March 31, 2018 at 11:53 am #

      Awesome! You’re gonna love Kauai:) glad this post helped change your mind!

  6. Candice March 31, 2018 at 4:18 pm #

    This was great! Trying to take a family trip in August!!

  7. Myra April 4, 2018 at 1:00 pm #

    This article was really helpful, thanks!

  8. Sierra April 21, 2018 at 4:16 pm #

    Thanks for all the info. I’ve been seeing pics of the recent flood and am heartbroken for the beautiful island.

    • yourstylejourney April 21, 2018 at 4:29 pm #

      Yeah it’s so hard to wrap my head around:( we were just there! Hanalei is already looking better though. The community is all coming together ❤️

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