Aerial shot of turquoise water, beach and green mountains

Things to do in kauai

Explore the island’s natural beauty, breathtaking sights and annual events

Few places on earth are blessed with as much unspoiled natural beauty as Kauai – home to stunning beaches, majestic mountains, and cascading waterfalls. Tucked along the island’s gorgeous western shore, Waimea Plantation Cottages offers a peaceful home base from which to explore all that the Garden Isle has to offer.

Check out Waimea Canyon, one of Kauai’s most iconic natural landmarks, or tour the Kauai Coffee Estate.

Tee off from a local golf course, cruise along the water on a catamaran excursion and soar over the Na Pali cliffs in a helicopter. Interested in a little retail therapy? The Shops at Kukui'ula are just a short drive away. A full calendar of events, including farmers markets, athletic competitions, festivals and cultural celebrations, ensures you’ll never be bored.

If you’d like additional advice on things to do, see and experience in Kauai, please don’t hesitate to ask us. 


Dolphin swimming next to boat

Kauai Activity Desk

Distance from Hotel: less than a mile

We’ve curated our top choices to Catch the Best of Kaua’i with companies we know and trust to provide an excellent experience!

Waimea Canyon

Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Park

Distance from Hotel: entrance less than a mile

The "Grand Canyon of the Pacific" features plenty of scenic lookout points via Koke'e Road; stop and gaze at the red cliffs and verdant vegetation.

Golf club and ball


Perfect your swing on the golf courses of Kauai - home to some of the very best holes in the world, framed by amazing scenery.

Swinging bridge over water

Swinging Bridge, Hanapepe

Distance from Hotel: 7 Miles

First built over 100 years ago (and rebuilt in the 90s), the Swinging Bridge is suspended over the pipe suppling water to Hanapepe Town.

Coffee mugs

Kauai Coffee

Distance from Hotel: 9 Miles

Tour the plantation and sip a cup of perfectly brewed Kauai coffee.

Pier and sun setting over ocean

Hanalei Bay

Distance from Hotel: 55 Miles

The largest bay on the North Shore, Hanalei Bay features almost two miles of beach, flanked by mountains.

Ocean and pink sky as sun sets

Poipu Beach Park

Distance from Hotel: 23 Miles

One of Kauai's best-known beaches, Poipu Beach Park is divided into two sections; one side is perfect for kids and the other is great for swimming, snorkeling and surfing.

Surfboard in sand next to ocean

Lihue Town & Kalapaki Beach

Distance from Hotel: 24 Miles

There are plenty of shopping and dining possibilities in Lihue Town; Kalapaki Beach offers opportunities to surf, boogie board and paddle board. 

Wailua Falls

Wailua Falls

Distance from Hotel: 28 Miles

Located at the south end of the Wailua River, Wailua Falls is a stunning 80-foot waterfall that divides into two streams.

Clothes hanging at store

The Shops at Kukui'ula

Distance from Hotel: 17 Miles

Shop, dine and explore the art galleries at the island's foremost retail destination. Be sure to visit the weekly culinary market, too!


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Annual Robbie Burns Supper

Located right here at Waimea Plantation Cottages, this event celebrates the birthday of Robert Burns, the acclaimed Scottish poet.

Kilohana Long-Distance Canoe Race

Catch a glimpse of traditional Outrigger canoes going head to head in this annual race, which is part of the Waimea Town Celebration.

Kauai Bon Dance Festival

One of the most anticipated events of the summer, Kauai Bon Dance occurs over nine weeks at different locations throughout the island.

Kauai Orchid and Art Festival

Tropical orchids take center stage at this Festival, which is held every March and features great music, food, a silent auction and even painting workshops.

Fresh vegetables, carrots and beets at farmer's market

Hale Puna Farmers Market

This Market takes place under the old monkeypod tree at the historic Hale Puna House (formerly known as the Gulick-Rowell House) near the Kauaʻi Veterans Memorial Hospital. Street parking available.

Kauai Chocolate & Coffee Festival

Celebrate chocolate and coffee at this unforgettable festival! From samples to workshops, displays and entertainment, there's plenty here to satisfy your cravings.

Koloa Plantation Days Family Fun Run/Walk

Enjoy the beauty of Kauai's South Shore as you race one of four different courses, geared toward different skill and experience levels.

Annual Kauai Hospice Concert in the Sky

Commemorate July 4th at Lihue’s Vidinha Stadium with family fun, great food, live entertainment and fireworks.

Eo E Emalani I Alakai Festival

Paying homage to Queen Emma's life and accomplishments, this event features Hawaiian music, dancing and chants.

King Kamehameha Celebration Hoolaulea

The King Kamehameha Celebration Hoolaulea takes place in June, and is part of a week-long celebration of Hawaii's first ruler.

Red ornament on Christmas Tree

Waimea Lighted Christmas Parade

2020-12-05 00:00:00 : 5:30pm - 7:00pm

Kick off the festive season at this fun parade, where you'll see colorful floats make their way down the center of town.

Pink flowers

Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival

2021-02-06 00:00:00 : 9:00am - 3:00pm

Head to Church Row Park to witness the annual blooming of its cherry trees, a Japanese tradition.

Aerial shot of rainbow over mountains and ocean in background

Heiva I Kauai

2021-07-31 00:00:00 - 2021-08-01 00:00:00 : 10:00am - 5:00pm

This annual event provides a venue for performers of all ages to present talent, skill and cultural knowledge to an audience of more than 1,000 attendees daily.

Legs of runners during race

Kauai Marathon

2021-09-05 00:00:00 : 6:00am - 2:00pm

The Kauai Marathon and Half Marathon are among the most beautiful destination races in the world, and take place every September.

People at lookout over cliff and valley


Your local guide

Woman facing ocean and mountains Lifestyle

Eat, Pray, Love: Tips for the Solo Traveler


The inner journey of travel is intensified by solitude. American travel writer Paul Theroux's simple words so eloquently explain one of the main benefits of traveling alone: The incredible personal journey you will be taken on.

Airplanes at gate with sunset in background Lifestyle

Making the Most of Bleisure Travel


The old rule on not mixing business with pleasure is last decade. "Bleisure trips," or business and leisure trips, are the modern way to travel for work.

Mountains next to ocean Outdoors

Escape the Cold: Warm Up in Waimea


On the west side of Kauai, far removed from any crowded resorts, lies the small and beautiful town of Waimea. Called "Kauai's most historic community," Waimea was discovered by English explorer Captain James Cook in 1778.

Couple backpacking with view of mountains Lifestyle

How to Travel on a Budget


If you frequently daydream of boarding a plane for far-flung destinations but don't have the salary of a CEO, you may think that a vacation is simply out of the question. However, traveling doesn't have to cost a fortune and in fact, planning an incredible trip that's also affordable is easy with a bit of planning, flexibility and open-mindedness.