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Kauai Sample Itineraries / Travel Guide
green arrow3 day itineraries are the minimum amount of time needed to complete the given activities. We highly recommend extending these itineraries even up to 2 weeks (or mix & match itineraries) to fully enjoy your time in Hawaii. Yet, we realize not everyone has all the time they need so we wanted to present the minimum amount of time to complete an itinerary, given a full day schedule every day. For example, instead of staying 1 night in a given place, you could spend 3 and have more time to explore, relax, and enjoy the area.

green arrowA $ is placed beside activities that require some sort of fee or charge.

#1 Kauai See-All Itinerary: designed for a 1st time visit to the island. This is an aggressive schedule but allows the most comprehensive tour of the island since you are strategically moving around the island and staying in a different location every night.

#2 Kauai Off-the-Beaten Track Authentic Itinerary: designed for the traveler that wants to get away from the main tourist crowds; good for a 2nd or 3rd visit.

#3 Kauai Party & Tourist Highlights Itinerary: designed where you can stay in one place all 3 days and take day trips to explore. This is more of a relaxed itinerary, with particular emphasis on tourist sites and night life.

#1 Kauai See-All Itinerary (click map for larger view)
Day 1:
blue arrowGet on Hwy 50 west from Lihue. Follow signs to Poipu Beach (#520). Check out one of the most popular beaches in Kauai, great for snorkeling and calm waters.
blue arrowLeave Poipu and get back on Hwy 50 west, turn on #540 to check out the Kauai Coffee Company for free coffee samples.
blue arrowCheck out the historic town of Hanapepe next for shopping and the swinging bridge.
blue arrowContinue west and then turn north on 550 in Waimea.
blue arrowFollow 550 for beautiful views and a lookout of Waimea Canyon, the grand canyon of Hawaii. There are several short and longer hikes in this area if time permits.
blue arrowLeave Waimea and get back on 50 west. Follow to the end of the main road and enter a dirt road to Polihale State Beach Park. Enjoy one of the longest beaches in Hawaii and a beautiful view of the south part of the Na Pali coast (swimming not recommended here). Find a beautiful spot on the west coast for the sunset.
Stay:Vacation rental in Hanapepe.
Alternative: Camping (and sometimes cabins) in Polihale, Lucy Wright, Salt Pond Beach, & Kokee.
Day 2:
blue arrowStart back east and check out any other sights on the south coast that interest you.
blue arrowPass Lihue and check out Lydgate Beach's sheltered swimming for snorkeling and a picnic.
blue arrowTurn left on #580 for a lookout of Opaekaa Falls on the right and another beautiful lookout on the left.
blue arrowTake a self-guided kayak tour of the Fern Grotto (includes 2 mile round trip hike to Sacred Falls) $.
blue arrowBack on the road, check out Kapaa town for shopping, groceries, and people watching.
blue arrowContinue up #56, which offers many beaches to the right, a lighthouse in Kilauea, and the Guava Kai Plantation for free samples.
Stay: Condo or hostel in Kapaa.
Alternative: Camping in Niumalu, Hanamaulu, or Anini Beach Park.
Day 3:
blue arrowContinue west to check out the north shore's beautiful beaches and rainforests. Stop at Secret Beach, Anini Beach, Hanalei Bay, or Tunnels (good for snorkeling if waters are calm).
blue arrowCheck out the surf town of Hanalei.
blue arrowContinue down #560 with its one lane bridges to see caves on the left, beaches on the right, and rainforest views.
blue arrowPark at the end of the road at Kee Beach and do the first section of the Kalalau Trail. This 2 miles each-way hike to Hanakapiai Beach offers some vast and wonderful views of the Na Pali coast. Bring good shoes if it's rainy since there are some semi-steep sections (although well worth every bit of effort).
Stay: Vacation rental in Haena, Wainiha, or Hanalei; condo in Princeville.
Alternative:
Camping at Haena, Hanalei, or Anini Beach.

#2 Kauai Off-the-Beaten Track Authentic Itinerary (click map for larger view)
Click to see larger image.
Day 1:
blue arrowHead west on Hwy 50 and then head up 550 towards Kokee State Park. Embark on the Pihea Trail to Alakai Swamp. This extraordinary trail offers sweeping views of the Na Pail coast, a boardwalk through the swamp, with the finale being a 4,000 ft cliff lookout of Kauai's north shore. Easy but long - schedule at least half a day.
blue arrowLeave Waimea canyon and explore the long beach along the highway that stretches to Polihale Beach Park.
blue arrowThe pavement ends and a dirt road leads the way to Polihale Beach Park. Enjoy the solitude, vast views of the Na Pali coast, and a sunset here.
Stay: Vacation rental in Hanapepe.
Alternative: Cabins in Kokee or camping in Polihale, Kokee, or Salt Pond Beach.
Day 2:
blue arrowHead east on 50 around the island, stopping at one of the more-private beaches like Donkey or Secret Beach.
blue arrowIn Hanalei, rent a kayak to explore one of the north shore rivers for the day $.
blue arrowRelax on picturesque Lumahai Beach for the sunset.
Stay: Vacation rental/condo/hostel in Kapaa.
Alternative: Camp at Anini , Hanalei, or Haena.
Day 3:
blue arrowSnorkel at Anini Beach or Tunnels (conditions permitting).
blue arrowExplore the north shore's caves for some possible fresh water swimming, particularly the Blue Room.
blue arrowPark at the end of the road at Kee Beach and do the first section of the Kalalau Trail. This 2 mile each-way hike to Hanakapiai Beach offers some vast and wonderful views of the Na Pali coast. Bring good shoes if it's rainy since there are some semi-steep sections (although well worth every bit of effort). *With several more days - 1 week to spare, you can consider hiking the whole Kalalau Trail.
Stay: Vacation rental in Haena, Wainiha, Hanalei, or Kapaa.
Alternative: Camp at Hanakapiai Beach (Kalalau Trail), Haena, Hanalei, or Anini Beach.

#3 Kauai Party & Tourist Highlights Itinerary (click map for larger view)
Click to see larger image.
Day 1:
blue arrowCheck out Nawiliwili Bay in Lihue for surfing or lounging/eating/drinking at one of the resorts $.
blue arrowLeave Lihue and head west on Hwy 50 towards Poipu.
blue arrowSnorkel or partake in many of the activities popular Poipu Beach Park offers $.
blue arrowEnjoy Happy Hour $ at one of the beachside bars or grill your own dinner on the beach.
Stay: Vacation rental in Hanapepe or camping at one of the many options in Kauai.
Alternative: Condo in Poipu, vacation rental in Poipu/Koloa, budget hotel in Lihue.
Day 2:
blue arrowGet free fresh coffee samples at Kauai Coffee Company, off of #540.
blue arrowShop, explore, and get shave ice $ in the historic town of Hanapepe.
blue arrowHead back east on Hwy 50 to Wailua, then turn onto #580 for lookout views and Opaekaa Falls. As an alternative to self-guided kayak tours, other companies offer guided tours and even a tourist boat ride to the Fern Grotto $.
blue arrowEnjoy one of the many beaches on the east coast.
blue arrowConsider dinner or happy hour $ in the bustling town of Kapaa. Many resorts along the coast here seasonally offer luaus or tourist shows $.
Stay: Budget hotel in Lihue or condo/hostel in Kapaa.
Alternative: Vacation rental in Hanapepe.
Day 3:
blue arrowExplore the north shore.
blue arrowStop at the Guava Kai Plantation, close to Kilauea on the mountain side of the road.
blue arrowChoose one or many of the beautiful north shore beaches to relax on. Anini Beach offers the more consistent calm waters for snorkeling/swimming. Princeville beaches are more on the tourist track. Tunnels is famous for snorkeling although beware of conditions, especially in the winter.
blue arrowIf time permits, drive to the end of the road to Kee Beach.
blue arrowAs an alternative, consider a guided kayak or boat tour of the Na Pali coast $.
blue arrowEnjoy shopping, dinner, and drinks in the surf town of Hanalei $.
Stay: Condo/hostel in Kapaa.
Alternative: Vacation rental in Haena, Wainiha, or Hanalei.
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