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How Many Days Do You Need in Kauai?

Are you planning a trip to Kauai but unsure of how long to stay? In this piece, I’ll explain the perfect number of days to spend in Kauai.
This post about how many days in Kauai do you need was written by Marcie Cheung (a Hawaii travel expert) and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

Are you planning a trip to Kauai and are attempting to determine how many days you’ll need to see everything there?

You’re going to enjoy this! One of Hawaii’s most picturesque and welcoming islands for families is Kauai. You can make lifelong memories thanks to the many attractions and activities available to both children and adults.

How long would it take you to see all the main attractions on Kauai? I’m here to assist you in figuring it out. For my professional recommendation on how long you should stay in Kauai, continue reading down below.

Why trust my tips? I’ve traveled to Hawaii more than 40 times, so I really know my stuff.

I’ve been to Kauai a lot, both with and without kids, and I can give you loads of tips on how to organize your trip so you can participate in all the island’s major attractions.

How long do you need to spend in Kauai? Find out by continuing to scroll!

Kauai Travel Guide and 7-Day Kauai Itinerary by top Hawaii blog Hawaii Travel Spot

Kauai Overview

One of Hawaii’s most picturesque islands is Kauai. The natural surroundings, amazing waterfalls, and mouthwatering cuisine of the fourth-largest island make it a fantastic vacation spot.

Everyone can find something to do on Kauai, whether they want to unwind on a tropical beach or walk one of the island’s well-known trails.

Make your ideal tropical vacation on the Garden Isle a reality with the help of our Kauai visitor’s guide.

Getting To Kauai

Lihue Airport (LIH), which is found on Kauai’s east shore, serves as the island’s primary airport. Today, numerous well-known airlines provide non-stop flights to Kauai.

You can also choose to arrive at Oahu’s Honolulu International Airport (HNL) first, then go to Kauai via a quick 25-minute inter-island flight.

Try to book a direct flight to Hawaii Big Island. Image of an airplane flying over a beach at sunset
Most people arrive on Kauai by airplane.

Wondering how to get around Kauai? The majority of visitors to Kauai will rent a car. That’s because this island offers TONS of exciting things to see and do.

Just across the street from baggage claim is the automobile rental desk. You will board the little shuttle bus to the car rental lot. It’s a really quick ride because the auto rental lot is so close.

Tip for groups: Just send one adult to pick up the rental car while the others stay at baggage claim with the luggage. That way, you won’t have to lug everyone. Then, simply pick up the rest of the group and luggage.

Discount Hawaii Car Rental is the cheapest location I could find. Top national firms like Alamo, Dollar, Thrifty, Avis, Enterprise, Budget, and Payless provide them the greatest deals. Check out the latest prices and more details.

What’s the Best Time To Visit Kauai?

The shoulder seasons of September through Mid-November and March through May offer the best deals, the most pleasant weather, and the fewest tourists, as is true of many Hawaiian Islands.

The best time to travel is in October because there are no crowds, excellent weather, cheap accommodation, and flights.

Where To Go In Kauai


The airport for Kauai is located in this historically significant location, which is also the island’s main cruise port (Nawiliwili Harbor). Shopping, dining, as well as cultural and historical events are available in Lihue.

Cruise ships dock at Nawiliwili Harbor on Kauai.
Nawiliwili Harbor is where Hawaii cruise ships dock.

One of the most famous spots in the fabled and real Alekoko Fishpond, where it is said that the mythical Menehune (a mischievous race) built the Alekoko in a single night.

The region has amazing waterfalls like Wailua Falls and historical displays at the Kauai Museum.

North Shore – Hanalei and Na Pali Coast

The adventurous were developed for the North Shore of Kauai. Consider verdant valleys, breathtaking waterfalls, and stunning mountains.

Image of a lush green mountain coastline leading to the ocean along the Na Pali Coast on Kauai
Na Pali Coast on Kauai.

Hanalei is a classic vacation spot adjacent to the renowned Na Pali Coast. Spending time on the North Shore has several drawbacks, including unpredictable weather.

With all the incredible sights and activities on the North Shore, you’ll feel like an adventurer again. There are also a ton of fantastic North Shore Kauai vacation rentals available.

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Coconut Coast – Kapaa and Wailua

Because so many coconut palms are growing in the resort areas, Kauai’s East Side is also known as the Coconut Coast. Due to the stunning beaches and well-liked local attractions, this is one of the most inhabited districts on the island.

Coconut Coast on Kauai
Coconut Coast in Kapaa Kauai.

Kappa, Lihue, and Wailua are well-known vacation spots that are located along the Coconut Coast. The Coconut Coast offers a wide range of well-liked outdoor pursuits, such as riding and kayaking.

South Shore – Poipu and Koloa

The island’s South Shore is known for its opulence and immaculate beaches. The South Shore is the perfect destination if you’re seeking for a romantic weekend. You’ll have not only great weather, but also lots of great dining and shopping options.

Poipu Kauai: Image of a couple running on a beach
The South Shore is perfect for couples!

Poipu and Koloa are the two largest resort areas in this portion of the island. There are tons of resorts perfect for a Kauai honeymoon or family vacation. There are also lots of Poipu vacation rentals to choose from.

West Side – Waimea 

The West Side of Kauai is ideal for hikers. Despite being only an hour away from well-known Lihue, it seems like a whole different island.

Image of Kokee State Park on Kauai
Kokee State Park.

Visit Waimea Canyon, sometimes known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” while you are at the West Side. Another option is to go hiking in Kokee State Park, where there are more than 45 different trails to select from.

Top Kauai Attractions

The top Kauai attractions are undoubtedly on your mind as you research your trip there. On Kauai, you can visit some attractions that are not present on the other islands.

Waimea Canyon

Waimea Canyon is what the majority of travelers visiting Kauai want to see. It is quite magnificent and known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.”

Image of a couple hiking in Waimea Canyon on Kauai
There are tons of places to hike at Waimea Canyon.

Visitors love exploring the hiking trails. But, there are also several lookouts at Waimea Canyon State Park worth a stop. Just be warned that there is an entrance/parking fee.

Na Pali Coast

Examining the breathtaking Na Pali Coast is another fun activity to do on Kauai. The best way to do this is on a boat cruise that travels along the coast. Along with sunset drink or dinner cruises, they offer snorkeling excursions.

Image of a couple taking a selfie on a Na Pali Boat Tour
Definitely book a Na Pali Boat trip!

Hanalei Town

Hanalei is among the island’s most beautiful communities on the North Shore of Kauai. It is well-known for its taro fields and Hanalei Bay. In addition, this is where George Clooney filmed The Descendants.

Image of Hanalei Bay on Kauai
Hanalei Pier on Kauai.

Surfers are drawn to this artistic community. Hanalei Bay is a calm, inviting, and swimmable beach that’s also popular for stand up paddling.

Best Things to do in Kauai

Enjoy a Kauai Luau

Kauai is an excellent island to reserve a luau if you’re thinking about having one in Hawaii. They offer both customary Hawaiian luaus and some unusual events. There are numerous pricing ranges and locales as well.

Aulii Luau on Kauai. Image of 3 Samoan men jumping on stage
Auli’i Luau on Kauai. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

The Auli’i Luau and Luau Kalamaku are the greatest two luaus. Auli’i Luau is in Poipu and it’s the only oceanfront luau on Kauai. You can ride a train around Kilohana Plantation in Lihue with Luau Kalamaku.

The Ahi Lele Fire Show in Kilauea is particularly great if you’re searching for something completely unique. The entire show involves fire dancing.

Take a Helicopter Ride on Kauai

A helicopter tour of the island is the greatest way to experience Kauai’s beauty from above and is one of the best methods to do it.

Image of a Kauai helicopter ride over a waterfall
See hidden waterfalls on a Kauai helicopter ride.

After hovering over the Waimea Canyon, you’ll soar above the breathtaking Na Pali Coast. Even the renowned Manawaiopuna Falls can be enjoyed in the same manner as they were depicted in Jurassic Park. Since these falls are on private property, a helicopter tour is the only way to see them.

Go Ziplining

Although practically all of the Hawaiian islands offer ziplining, ziplining on Kauai has a unique charm. Over some of the islands’ most beautiful scenery, you can soar.

The Flyin’ Kauaian and Kauai Backcountry Outfitters are two of the most well-liked ziplining locations on Kauai.

Sugar Cane Canal Tubing

Mountain tubing at Mt. Waialeale is one of the most fun activities you can do on Kauai with kids that are at least 5 years old. You get to ride along a former sugar cane canal in an inner tube as it takes off from private property.

Image of a man and woman wearing rash guards while floating down a Kauai river in an inner tube
Mountain tubing on Kauai.

The coolest part is that you’ll go through 5 tunnels while wearing headlamps. This is a fun activity for families that isn’t in the least bit spooky.

Go Hiking

Serious hikers should attempt North Shore’s challenging 22-mile Kalalau Trail. The Na Pali coastline’s magnificent woods are traversed on this Kauai trek. There is a quicker route to Hanakapiai Falls.

Hanakapiai Falls on Kauai: Image of a man standing in front of a Kauai waterfall
Hanakapiai Falls on Kauai.

There is also the 7.5-mile Nu’alolo Trail, which offers stunning views of the Na Pali Coast. Alternatively, the 3.6-mile Kuilau Ridge Trail is a moderate Kauai hike suitable for families.

Check out a Botanical Garden

Because of how magnificent it is, Kauai is referred to as the “Garden Island.” Additionally, Kauai has several amazing botanical gardens that are worth visiting.

Image of a boy walking at Limahuli Garden on Kauai
Limahuli Garden on Kauai. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

On Kauai’s North Shore, the Limahuli Garden is incredibly lovely and a wonderful place to see an example of Old Hawaii. Additionally, there is a lovely walking path with breathtaking views.

Kilauea’s Na Aina Kai Botanical Garden is a beautiful location. I advise taking a docent-led tour so you can discover more about the various pieces of art in the garden. Additionally, there is a children’s garden with areas for play.

Go Snorkeling

Some beautiful Kauai snorkeling tours and beaches are worth checking out for people of all ability levels.

Tunnels Beach. Image of a North Shore Kauai beach with clear water
Tunnels Beach is one of the most popular North Shore Kauai beaches for snorkeling.

Tunnels Beach on the North Shore of Kauai is one of the island’s most well-known snorkeling locations. It’s an excellent chance to observe some lovely Hawaiian marine life.

Get Kombucha from Kauai Juice Co.

The gourmet scene on Kauai and the abundance of farm-to-table restaurants are well-known. They also offer fantastic cocktails, though!

Get bottled kombucha at Kauai Juice Co
Bottled kombucha at Kauai Juice Co. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

There are really 3 locations for Kauai Juice Co. on the island. The finest spot to find freshly brewed kombucha with tropical flavors is also where you can obtain wonderful tropical juice, which is delicious.

So, How Many Days Do You Need in Kauai?

If Kauai is the only Hawaiian island you plan to visit, you should plan on staying there for at least 7 to 10 days. That will leave you with plenty of time to take a couple day trips, go on a few tours, check out the beaches, and chill.

You’ll need 5-7 days on Kauai and 5-7 days on another island if you’re island hopping. You should prioritize things you can only do on Kauai (like Waimea Canyon and the Na Pali Coast).

I am aware that some families are strapped for time but nonetheless desire to visit Kauai. Scroll down to see a few simple itineraries for 1–10 days on Kauai.

Kauai Itinerary: 1 Day

It is entirely possible to visit Kauai for a single day while vacationing on another island, but you will need to make some choices.

You might take an island tour where you begin in the Waimea Canyon, continue to Wailua to see the waterfalls, and ascend to the North Shore. You would have to leave early in the morning on a flight to accomplish this.

Or you may decide to go on an experience like a boat tour, a helicopter ride, or mountain tubing in Kauai.

Kauai Itinerary: 2 Days

You have a bit more leeway with 2 days in Kauai. I advise staying on the East Side (Kapaa or Lihue) to be centrally placed.

One day could be spent traveling to the North Shore to visit Hanalei, partake of Wishing Well Shave Ice, see Kilauea Lighthouse, stroll through Na Aina Kai Botanical Garden, and conclude with the Ahi Lele Fire Show.

The following day, you might travel to the south or west to see Waimea Canyon (hiking is optional), stroll around Hanapepe Town, view Spouting Horn in Poipu, and then have a look at the waterfalls at Wailua.

Kauai Itinerary: 3 Days

In Kauai, it’s simple to have three beautiful days. To reduce driving, I still advise remaining on the East Side.

I’d advise following the 2-day program for Kauai (see above), but adding a Kauai experience in between. My top recommendations would be taking a cuisine tour, ziplining, a helicopter trip, or a boat tour of Kauai.

Kauai Itinerary: 4 Days

You’ll have a little more leeway with your lodging with 4 days in Kauai. If there was a great pool area or other amenities, I’d pick somewhere on the East or South shore.

Make a day set aside to explore the North Shore. It would be fantastic if you could get reservations for Ha’ena so that you may visit Ke’e Beach, explore some Kauai caves, or go on a hike to Hanakapiai. You will then visit the Limahuli Botanical Garden. After that, you can have some time to rest at Hanalei Bay or eat lunch in Hanalei.

You should set aside a day to tour West and South Kauai. Early in the morning, make your way to Waimea Canyon and go hiking. After that, you can keep traveling until you reach Kokee State Park (either to have lunch at Kokee Lodge or do more hiking). The last option is to travel to Poipu and go shopping.

On the East side of Kauai, allocate a full day. Either go kayaking on the Wailua River or take a bike ride along the Kauai Coastal Path as your first activity. And wrap up the day with a luau in Kapaa or Wailua.

Pick a Kauai tour or activity from your Hawaii bucket list for your fourth day. You could also carry out separate morning and afternoon/evening activities. Or simply unwind by the pool all day.

Kauai Itinerary: 5 Days

If you have five days in Kauai, you should follow the four-day schedule listed above, but add a day on the beach.

You’ll probably have an idea of where you would like to spend a few hours at a Kauai beach since you’ll be driving across the island.

I advise grabbing plate lunches from Koloa Fish Market or Mark’s Place to enjoy along the beach. On your way back, make a stop for some shaved ice!

Kauai Itinerary: 6-10 Days

On Kauai, your alternatives for vacations longer than five days are virtually endless. To experience extremely diverse surroundings, you may even split your stay between the North Shore and the South Shore.

Use the five-day Kauai schedule as a starting point, then add some tours, a few excursions, and downtime at the beach or by the hotel pool.

How Many Days to Spend in Kauai FAQs

What is the prettiest Hawaiian island?

The rich vegetation on Kauai makes it the most picturesque of all the Hawaiian islands, in my opinion. It has hiking paths, waterfalls, and a number of eco-adventures. Most visitors go to Kauai in order to escape the busyness of Oahu and Maui and enjoy a more disconnected holiday.

Are 4 days in Kauai enough?

While 4 days is the very minimum to prepare for a Kauai road trip, if you want to explore the island’s key features, you may easily spend 7 days in Kauai (or much more!).

Do I need a car to get around Kauai?

That’s what I recommend. You can use the shuttle, tour bus, cab, or public transit to navigate around Kauai. But think about renting a car to make the most of your time in Kauai.

How Many Days Do You Need in Kauai Wrap Up

I hope these sample itineraries have assisted you in deciding how long to stay in Kauai. Even while staying in Kauai for 7–10 days is ideal, even with fewer days you’ll have a blast. Additionally, it’s a wonderful reason to return!

Looking for more Hawaii travel resources? Find out the biggest Hawaii mistakes, Kauai or the Big Island, cheap Kauai hotels, first-timer tips, how many days in Hawaii do you need, and tips for exploring Hawaii on a budget!

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