Outdoor adventures are plentiful on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Kauai is the fourth largest island in the state with no cities to speak of, only small towns and rural areas. Yet, Kauai offers many outdoor activities for visitors seeking nature’s beauty, wellness and stress-relief, adrenaline pumping activities, and Hawaiian culture.

Popular Things To Do In Kauai

Check out some of the best things to do while in Kauai including Hiking, Zip-lining, Horseback-riding, and much more.

1. Go Horseback-Riding

Go horseback-riding on the 2500 acre Princeville Ranch, a family-owned working cattle ranch located on the north shore of Kauai. Ride the private trails through verdant pastures at the base of the Hanalei Mountains. The ride will take to you an 80-foot waterfall and some of the most pristine areas of the island. The guides are trained in horsemanship, Hawaiian history and culture, and the flora and fauna of the area. Maybe you will meet a Paniolo, a Hawaiian cowboy.

2. Ride An ATV Near Poipu Beach

Ride an ATV near Poipu Beach and the south shore near Koloa. There is a lot to see on this adventure. Ride atop an inactive volcanic crater, see the area where Jurassic Park was filmed, hike and crawl through the Makauwahi Cave Reserve, visit the Giant Tortoises, see the ruins of the historic Koloa Sugar Mill and drive through a half-mile tunnel. Not far away is the Kauai Coffee Estate, the largest coffee farm in the U.S. Join a coffee tasting and savor flavors such as chocolate, banana, vanilla, caramel, coconut, macadamia nut, and more. But visit the farm before riding the ATV as you may get wet and dirty. Don’t wear your white tennis shoes on this awesome half-day adventure.

3. How About A Zipline Tour?

Also in the Koloa area is the Waita line, a half-mile course with 7 other lines as well. Take in views of the Waita Reservoir situated next to the Black Mountain Range and home to wildlife such as Muscovy ducks, pheasants and other birds, and Hawaiian boars, The reservoir’s fish population include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, tilapia and koi.

4. Hike the Kalalau Trail In Kauai

Follow in the footsteps of the ancient Hawaiians hiking the Kalalau Trail, one of the most difficult and challenging hikes on Kauai. This 11-mile trail along the coast was used by the Hawaiians that lived in the valleys along the Napali Coast and provides the only land access to the area. There are plenty of breathtaking views of the valleys and the iron-red and emerald green cliffs that rise thousands of feet above the Pacific Ocean.

5. Float Down The Historic Ditches Of Lihue Sugar Plantation

Grab an inflatable tube and float down the historic ditches of the once-thriving Lihue Sugar Plantation and its irrigation system. Traverse the tunnels and flumes of this fascinating circa 1870 hand-dug engineering feat. The gentle flow of the water flows through lush jungle scenery with awesome photo opportunities and incredible views. There are picnic areas for a leisurely lunch with a natural swimming hole nearby. What a great way to spend the day in your bathing suit away that is not at the beach or resort pool.

6. Kayak The Tranquil 20-Mile Wailua River

Kayak the tranquil 20-mile Wailua River, Kauai’s longest navigable river, past ancient temples, several waterfalls including the sacred Uluwehi Waterfall  and the nearby Fern Grotto, a natural lava rock cave with draping ferns that is also a famous wedding venue. Or get in an outrigger canoe to paddle your way. Pull over to the river bank and go for a swim or hike the paths along the cliffs lining the river. There are historical sights and landmarks that dot the area. Guided tours are available or go on your own.

7. Waimea Canyon, Kauai

Waimea Canyon, 10-miles long and 3000 feet deep, carved by the Waimea River and a collapsed volcano, 10 million years ago, is an area of outstanding beauty on the west side of Kauai. There are many hiking trails and lookouts. Short hikes range from 30-minute half mile walks to a half-day eight-mile over moderate terrain. The trails through deep forests may take you to the 800 foot Waipo’o Falls, a great stop for a picnic, or a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean in the distance over the Napali Coast. You might even see feral goats on the path,  or Kukui Nut trees, and lots of tropical green and pink foliage. Bicycle tours are also available.

John Werner

As a 45 year veteran of the travel industry and the President of MAST Travel Network since 2002, John’s career has included 14 years as a travel agency owner. He has served in various capacities on the Board of the Midwest Chapter of ASTA including Treasurer and Vice President. John has also held several positions on the Board of Directors for MAST including Vice Chairman and Board Chairman during the years he owned Travel Group International, a MAST member during the 1990s.