THE ULTIMATE WEEK IN KAUAI | A 7-DAY ITINERARY
If you are planning a trip to Kauai and looking for the perfect 7 day itinerary, then look no further! This guide will break down your trip with day-to-day plans on how to spend your time and see the most of the island. Get ready for an incredible week in paradise! If you are traveling to Kauai for a shorter period of time, you can also check out my top 5 activities to do while on the island!
WHERE TO STAY
If you have a 7 days in Kauai and really want to see it all, I would recommend splitting your time between the north and south shores. There is A LOT of driving involved when vacationing in Kauai, and splitting your trip in half at two different resorts will make it way easier to navigate. We didn't do this, but we definitely would have saved a ton of time in the car if we did!
I would highly recommend spending the majority of your time in Princeville on Kauai's north shore. Then, if you choose to spend the other time on the south shore, I would recommend staying in Poipu. The difference between the two is about 1.5 hours, so you can see how traveling back and forth a lot would be a bit hectic!
WHERE TO STAY IN PRINCEVILLE
We went to Kauai through my family's timeshare and stayed at Wyndham Bali Hai Villas. It was absolutely beautiful and in the perfect location for us. I would also suggest staying at Princeville Resort if you have the option to splurge a little!
WHERE TO STAY IN POIPU
If you are traveling with a family, Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu is a great option. Not only is it walking distance to a ton of shopping and beaches, but it also has three great pool areas. For couples, The Grand Hyatt is incredibly romantic and has the most beautiful sunsets! We attended the Grand Hyatt Luau and it was wonderful!
SPEND THE FIRST FEW DAYS OF YOUR KAUAI ITINERARY ON THE NORTH SHORE
Kauai is absolutely beautiful and you definitely want to see as much of the island as you can, especially if it is your first trip. We started our trip on the north shore and worked our way down, ending our week-long vacation with one last sunset in Poipu. During your week in the north shore of Kauai, you will explore Hanalei, the Na Pali coast, and more!
KAUAI ITINERARY DAY 1: WELCOME TO KAUAI!
ALOHA! You have arrived on the Garden Isle of Kauai! This tropical paradise is filled with green peaks, palm trees, and beautiful sand beaches. On your 7 day trip you will have a ton of adventures, so it is important to relax on your first day, especially after that LONG flight! Pick up your rental car (preferably a Jeep!) and drive from the Lihue airport up to Kauai's north shore. After a roughly 1.5 hour drive you will arrive at your hotel, get lei'd, grab a mai tai and RELAX! Depending on the time of day you may be able to catch the sunset at the famous Hanalei Pier! If not, save that for tomorrow night!
KAUAI ITINERARY DAY 2: EXPLORE HANALEI
Spend the second day of your Kauai itinerary exploring the sleepy surf town of Hanalei. You will cross a one-way wooden bridge, where the local courtesy means letting a few cars pass in the other direction before taking your turn! This bridge has kept Hanalei small and charming, and as you explore the town you will see exactly why!
First things first, ENJOY HANALEI BAY! This semi-circle shaped bay is picture-perfect, and everything you would expect Kauai to be. You can watch the surfers, try it out for yourself, or just relax on the beach. If you didn't get a chance to catch the sunset here last night then now is the time to walk along the famous Hanalei Pier.
Once you've had your fill of the beach, it's time to head down Hanalei's main drag and explore the local shops and food trucks. I highly recommend stopping at Wishing Well for some Shave Ice. SO GOOD! If you are feeling like you want to explore even more, check out the Kilauea Lighthouse or the Na ʻĀina Kai Botanical Gardens, or head to another beach! We loved Hideaway Beach and Secret Beach, which are both nearby.
For dinner you are going all out! I cannot tell you enough how amazing our meal at Bar Acuda was! By far my favorite meal in Kauai and everything we had was delicious!!!! It is tapas style so get ready to share a lot of plates, one even more scrumptious than the last. For more of my favorite restaurants we went to, I put together a post on my top places to eat in Kauai.
KAUAI ITINERARY DAY 3: TAKE A HIKE!
On day 3 you will feel refreshed and relaxed in the breathtaking landscape that is now your "home" for the next few days. Have a delicious breakfast at the Princeville Resort (we never made it to do this but it is definitely on my list for next time!). You will need the fuel for the hiking adventure you are about to take. Starting at the beautiful Ke'e Beach, where the Kalalau Trail begins (the only land access to the remote Na Pali Coast," you can decide where the day will take you. Depending on your level of hiking expertise you can opt to take the thrilling 11 mile hike to Kalalau Beach (you will need a permit for this so check the website beforehand) or to hike the first 4 miles of the trail to Hanakapi'ai Falls. This what what we did and it was 1000% worth it!
After the hike you will most likely be exhausted and want to relax in the vicinity of your resort, so have a casual sushi dinner at The Dolphin in Hanalei.
KAUAI ITINERARY DAY 4: SEE KAUAI FROM ABOVE
Start your day with a delicious breakfast at my favorite breakfast spot EVER, Kountry Kitchen in Kapa'a because today will be a SUPER exciting day filled with learning about the history of Kauai. Since most of Kauai is inaccessible by land, one of the best ways to see the island is from the air. What better place to a take a helicopter tour??! We chose to take a doors-off private tour with Mauna Loa Helicopter Tours which took us over the Na Pali Coast, Waimea Canyon, and up close and personal to a ton of waterfalls including Jurassic Falls and the Weeping Walls (my personal favorite!). If you are going to splurge on anything your trip MAKE THIS IT! We learned so much about the island from our pilot, and got to see so many hidden places that a lot of people on this earth will never see!
In keeping with the theme of learning more about the island, tonight is the perfect night to attend a luau on one of the beautiful resorts. We had the honor of attending the Grand Hyatt Luau which was a spectacular performance and had the most tasty traditional Hawaiian dishes. The Luau teaches you not only how to hula, but also about the ways of the Hawaiian people.
ENJOY THE REST OF YOUR TRIP ON THE SOUTH SHORE
KAUAI ITINERARY DAY 5: TAKE A WATERFALL ATV ADVENTURE
Today is going to be another adventurous day as you gear up to head south and check out Kauai's waterfalls by ATV! You will drive through the Tunnel of Trees and into Kipu Ranch where you are in for a muddy ride! Their Waterfall Picnic tour will take you onto the sets of films like Jurassic Park, Mighty Joe Young and Tropic Thunder. You will also get to swing on the Indiana Jones Rope Swing and stop at two beautiful waterfalls (one for a picnic and one for a swim!).
Spend the rest of the day exploring random spots around the island. We chose to check out the Spouting Horn blowhole, Opaekaa Falls, Wailua Falls and Donkey Beach (one of our favorites!).
KAUAI ITINERARY DAY 6: CRUISE THE NA PALI COAST
So far you have seen the breathtaking Na Pali Coast by both land and air. Sea is the only way left to get up close and personal and you have two choices. Head down to the south shore and, after checking into your hotel, over to the Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor where you can either take the adventurous route and get on a zodiac boat or you can go for the relaxing catamaran. We decided get an adrenalin rush with Captain Andy's, exploring sea caves, riding alongside giant pods of dolphins, snorkeling, and seeing this famous coastline in all of it's glory!
This is a FULL DAY adventure, so take it easy the rest of the night and grab a quick bite somewhere like Bubba's Burgers in Poipu!
KAUAI ITINERARY DAY 7: WAIMEA CANYON
Spend your last full day in Kauai visiting the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, Waimea Canyon. You can drive the entire length of the canyon and even see a beautiful view of the Kalalau Valley from one of the last viewpoints! If you want to get some extra hiking in before you head home, this would be the place! There are a ton of hikes ranging in difficulty and offering some pretty incredible views!
You can choose to take in the sunset over the Canyon or head to either Polihale Beach, a seventeen mile stretch of white sand (a good choice if you want to be more secluded), or Poipu Beach, named America's "Best Beach" (where you will be amongst the crowds!).
By your last sunset you will feel full of ALOHA and wishing your vacation was not about to come to an end. But don't worry because I'm sure you will return to the beautiful island that is Kauai!
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