Itineraries: One Week on Kauai

By Coco Zickos

Photo: Kit Furderer.

One week on Kauai is a vacation dream come true. You won’t want to miss out on all the sights this pretty paradise has to offer, but you’ll also want to indulge in some serious R&R. Seven days is perfect for adventuring, as well as unwinding beachside with a fruity beverage.

Looking to rent a car? Special rental discounts are available for Hawaii.com members. Click here for more information.

One Week on Kauai:  Day 1

Take it easy on your first day and allow some time to acclimate to your new tropical surroundings. Unwind either poolside or at an adjacent beach. Book a massage at your hotel or make an appointment to have someone come to you. Visit the nearest farmers market or grocery store that sells local produce and pick up some exotic snacks for the week like papaya or rambutan. Remember, your only agenda today is to relax and gain a full appreciation for spending a whole week in paradise.

One Week on Kauai:  Day 2

Photo: Hawaii.com member Sue B.

Photo: Hawaii.com member Melissa W.

Now that you’re more rested, it’s time to explore. Begin the day with a bang by taking a helicopter tour of the island which will show you the all-encompassing beauty of Kaua‘i. Afterwards, take a stroll or rent some bicycles and meander along the Royal Coconut Coast on the Kapa‘a bike path. Be on the lookout for Hawaiian monk seals and whales, especially as you near Kealia Beach. Don’t forget to pick up some souvenirs for your friends in Old Kapa‘a Town. For the more adventurous, skip the path and take a short hike up Nounou Mountain, also known as Sleeping Giant, and you’ll be rewarded with unbelievable panoramic views.

One Week on Kauai:  Day 3

hanalei, kauai islands in Hawaii

Hanalei, Kauai. Photo: Alena Nicholas.

The lush North Shore should be calling your name by now. On your way, stop at the scenic Kilauea Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge to watch native seabirds dance above your head and whales glide across the ocean. Now you’ll be ready for some beach time at Hanalei Bay. Pick a spot with gentle ocean conditions and relax for a while or take a surf lesson. When you’re done, check out the charming town of Hanalei where plenty of food and retail options reside. Top your North Shore journey off with cocktails and sunset viewing at the St. Regis Princeville Resort.

One Week on Kauai:  Day 4

Photo: Alena Nicholas. Na Pali Coast State Park

Photo: Alena Nicholas.

You’re about mid-way through your trip so get ready for what could be the most spectacular adventure of your vacation–a boat ride along the Napali Coast. Most tours start early but will treat you to outstanding sites, as well as encounters with dolphins, turtles and all kinds of marine creatures while you sail next to, or snorkel beside them. You’ll be exhausted after this trip so the evening will call for a nice, relaxing dinner, ideally somewhere you can indulge in fresh seafood.

One Week on Kauai:  Day 5

poipu beach, kauai

Photo: Ame Rainey.

Your fun in the sun yesterday will probably have you feeling pretty tired today, so it’s a great time to check out the serene, palm-tree-lined South Shore. Stop at Old Koloa Town and peek inside its quaint shops before heading to what’s been recognized as one of the nation’s top beaches, Po‘ipū Beach. For the more adventurous, consider renting some snorkel gear and pick a safe spot to look for sea urchins and humuhumunukunukuāpua‘a (the state fish). Make sure to check out the blowhole, Spouting Horn, and consider touring the National Tropical Botanical Garden or at least its Visitors Center, right across the street. The Shops at Kukui‘ula will have everything you need as far as meals and shopping are concerned.

One Week on Kauai:  Day 6

Puu O Kila Lookout. Photo: Steve Shupe.

Puu o Kila Lookout. Photo: Steve Shupe.

This is your last chance for a full day of exploration. Journey to Koke‘e State Park to check out the incredible red gorges and pristine environment of Waimea Canyon. Before heading up the canyon, stop in Waimea and pick up some food for a picnic. Venture out on one of the many hikes like the Canyon Trail that leads you to the top of a tall waterfall with out-of-this world views. If you happen to take this trip on Friday, stop at the Hanapepe Art Night on your way back down and pick up some food at one of the many vendors that line the main street from 5-9 p.m.

One Week on Kauai:  Day 7

Photo: Alan Levine.

Photo: Alan Levine.

Your last day on the island is great for decompressing. You’ve covered so much ground and now’s the time to let it all soak in. Since you became familiar with your surroundings the first day, do something that you enjoyed on your inaugural day on-island. Sit on the beach, sip piña coladas at the pool or just rest on the lanai (porch) of your hotel room and breathe in the salty air. Make another spa treatment appointment and have a beachside massage. Allow yourself one last day to marinate in all of Kaua‘i’s tropical goodness before packing your bags.

Don’t forget – special rental car discounts are available for Hawaii.com members. Click here for more information.

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