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Kauai see + do

You'll never lack for things to do in Kauai. Nicknamed "the Garden Isle," Kauai is rich in waves, waterfalls, hiking trails, and tropical rain forest (Mount Waialeale averages about 430 inches of rain annually). You'll be dead tired at night—a good thing, since nightlife is nonexistent. With 43 beaches, more per mile of coastline than any other Hawaiian island, Kauai's deluxe sandy stretches are impossible to avoid. However, always proceed with caution: Weather, wind, and ocean conditions can shift suddenly, turning a swimmable beach into one where you shouldn't even walk in the shore break. As a general rule, the north shore is calmest in June, July, and August, and the south shore is most mellow between December and March. The popular surf break Tunnels, at Makua Beach, is where 13-year-old Kauai surfer Bethany Hamilton lost her arm to a tiger shark in 2003. But not to worry—around seven million visitors come to Hawaii each year, and on average there are just three shark attacks a year and one fatality a decade. To be safe, avoid swimming at dawn and dusk or in murky water.

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Helicopter Tours of Kauai

Kauai is a place where filmmakers come for the scenery: Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Blue Hawaii, and South Pacific were all filmed here. And there's...more

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Hiking the Kalalau Trail, Na Pali Coast

Since the only way to access the breathtaking Na Pali Coast is from its waters, which are choppy most of the year, the next best thing is seeing it on foot from...more

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North Shore Beaches

Anini Beach: Protected by the longest reef in Hawaii, this sweet spot is generally safe for swimming and snorkeling, and is one of the few places on the island...more

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South, East, and West Shore Beaches

Kalapaki Beach: Fronting the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club and Duke's Canoe Club Kauai restaurant (3610 Rice St.; 808-246-9599;, this...more

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Surfing on Kauai

Although Oahu's north shore is the undisputed epicenter of Hawaiian surf culture, insiders will tell you that some of the best surf—for intermediate and...more

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Waimea Canyon, Kauai

A drive through Waimea Canyon—nicknamed "the Grand Canyon of the Pacific"—is an ideal way to start off the day: Morning offers the best views of the...more

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Kauai's waterfalls vary greatly in their degree of accessibility, but they're all beautiful. Helicopter tours provide the easiest viewing of the grandest inland...more

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Zipline Tour, Koloa

Inspired by the zip lines he saw in the rain forests of Costa Rica, Rick Haviland came home to Hawaii and installed his own zip line in the pastoral Kipu Ranch,...more

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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