The ‘Garden Isle’ of Kauai holds itself gently aloof from the rest of the Hawaiian islands – it can only be seen from its private neighbour, Niihau. The oldest of Hawaii’s main islands, Kauai has been shaped by millions of years of erosion and boasts dramatic scenery and miles of beautiful sandy beaches. A good road circles most of the island but leaves the Nā Pali Coast gloriously untouched. This striking lush landscape was the backdrop for films including Jurassic Park and Raiders of the Lost Arc.
- The oldest of Hawaii’s main islands, Kauai has been shaped by millions of years of erosion and has dramatic scenery and miles of beautiful sandy beaches
- A good road circles most of the island, but leaves the northern Nā Pali Coast beautifully untouched
- If you have the time we recommend staying on the island for at least a week, perhaps combining with time spent on another island or two
- The island’s beauty can also be witnessed at Waimea Canyon, where the island was almost split in two by an earthquake
- This is the perfect destination if you're looking to get out and enjoy the great outdoors, with hiking trails, zipline adventures, horse riding and off-road tours
Best time to visit Kauai
• Hawaii enjoys a good climate all year, especially in coastal areas with warm seas.
• Summer (April to November) is warmer and drier while winter (December to March) is a bit cooler.
• Whale-watching season is from late December to early May.
Kauai holiday highlights
Following the challenging 11-mile Kalalau hiking trail, which links the beaches of Ke'e and Kalalau and traverses five verdant valleys, is the only way to experience the Nā Pali coastline by land. But if the hike is a bit of a stretch, the view is equally impressive from water or air. On a cruise along the coast, you might spot dolphins leaping in the slipstream or the tail lob of a whale.
The rugged Waimea Canyon, proudly known as the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific’, was created by an earthquake that almost split Kauai into two islands and it has been long since been eroded by the waters of the Waimea River. The canyon is approximately 10 miles long, a mile wide and over 3,000ft deep and one of the best views is from the Waimea Canyon Overlook. Bask on one of the uncrowded white-sand beaches, many of which are great spots to surf, go mountain tubing down Lihue’s water flumes or shoot down zip-lines above the rainforest. Tee off on championship golf courses and unwind with a traditional Lomi Lomi massage in a sumptuous spa.
The awe and wonder of sighting your first ever Humpback Whale who, without any prior notice of their presence, leaps effortlessly clear of the water, whilst doing a perfect pirouette...
...hitting the water with a huge splash then laying on its side waving goodbye with its fin before silently slipping back into the depths of the pacific Ocean. Mount Kilauea Volcano lets out a huge cloud of steam and provides the most amazing backdrop.