Kaua’i is a dream destination for any traveler. Palms trees, gold sandy beaches and extreme landscapes that will take your breath away. Sounds attractive but also expensive right? It is actually possible to feel the charm of this beautiful island with a modest budget as all the sights worth visiting are free.
1. Waimea Canyon
The Waimea Canyon attracts travelers from all over the world. This is due to the sheer awe it creates when you walk up to the edge of this magnificent natural attraction. Also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, from certain lookouts, the beauty of this canyon seems endless.
Sitting a mile wide, 10 miles long and more than 3,500-feet deep, it’s unfathomable something so substantial belongs on such a small island. The view from the main lookout is simply stunning. If you’re after somewhere more peaceful to admire the canyon from, take a hike on one of the many narrow but accessible trails. Seeing Waimea Canyon was by far on the top of my list for favorite free things to do on Kaua’i.
I visited Waimea Canyon on this tour which also included a visit to Hanapepe Valley Lookout, the Spouting Horn, and Fern Grotto. The day finishes with a relaxing cruise down the Wailua River.
2. Hiking the Na Pali Coast
To the south of the canyon is the infamous Na Pali Coast. Sharp cliffs and deep volcanic valleys stumble down into the sea, making an incredible blend of green, blue, and red landscapes. If you want to experience one of the world’s most famous hiking destinations, this is the place.
The 11-mile long Kalalau Trail is a real challenge for adventurers and will take up a whole day. While hiking across five valleys, you can see wild goats, unusual tropical plants, and cascading waterfalls. The lush green color of the vegetation doesn’t change throughout the year due to the high humidity.
Where the hiking trail ends, there are beautiful beaches only accessible by foot with postcard-worthy scenes. If you would like to tackle something a little less strenuous, Kaua’i is full of hiking trails for all levels. Try the Kuilau Ridge Trail, Canyon Trail or the Maha’ulepu Heritage Coastal Trail.
If you want to admire the coast from afar, I reccommend taking a boat tour. I didn’t get to see the Na Pali Coast by helicopter, but it’s on my bucket list!
3. Enjoy Kaua’i’s Culture
Kaua’i is the oldest of the Hawaiian Islands and is referred to as the Garden Island due to the lush vegetation that adorns it. As well as the natural beauty you will love the rich cultural life of Kaua’i. The people of Hawaii are known as guardians of traditional values. Poipu Shopping Village on the South Shore offers a free hula show two evenings per week.
The Kaua’i Cultural Center holds a variety of classes and free hula performances. Before you book check to see if your hotel offers entertainment as many host free hula performances, torch lighting ceremonies, lei-making classes, and other cultural activities.
If you’re wanting to experience a luau in Hawaii, check this one out to see Hula dancers, fire poi ball twirlers, and traditional fire knife dancing while eating a delicious buffet of local delicacies.
4. Wailua Falls
Made famous due to the multiple films and television series it’s featured in, Wailua Falls are even more beautiful in person. It’s highly recommended you visit on a sunny day to catch the bright rainbow in the mist of the falls. Wailua Falls is one of the few falls that are more spectacular when there’s less water flowing because it creates a double waterfall.
The hike down to the falls is illegal and quite dangerous, so admire its beauty from the lookout. Also accessible by car are ‘Opaeka’a Falls. There is a hidden trail to the base, but it’s not encouraged to hike. Kaua’i also has many hidden and hard-to-reach waterfalls, but you won’t regret it if you make an effort to find them.
5. Spouting Horn
The Spouting Horn is one of the most visited tourist destinations on the island. The waves of the ocean hit the rocks and flow into a natural tube. The water sprays up through a hole to create an impressive spray that can reach as high as 50 feet in the air. Apart from the visual impact, the water creates a loud hissing noise which was once thought to be a dragon or large lizard living under the earth. It is best to visit the Spouting Horn at sunset as the colors reflecting off the sun are a stunning.
6. Kauai Coffee Company
You may not know that Kaua’i is home to the largest coffee plantation in the United States. See how to grow coffee, learn about the tools used, and even participate in the harvest. Of course, you can sample the flavors of many types of coffee they produce. Not a lot of time is needed to visit the plantation, but visiting Kaua’i Coffee Company should be on your to-do list for Kaua’i.
7. The Blue Room
Another phenomenon on Kauai that is a must experience. Walkapalae cave, known as the “Blue Room” is a beautiful blue grotto. The surface of the wet cave is full of calcite. The reflection of the sun causes the magical blue color. The effect is most magnificent during high tide on a sunny day. Swimming is forbidden due to the bacteria in the water, but don’t let that deter you from admiring the beauty of this natural attraction.
Do you have any suggestions for Free Things to do on Kaua’i? Please comment below!