Best What to See on Kauai 1
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Best What to See on Kauai

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Greetings, Internet Stranger, and welcome to one day of what to see on Kauai, Hawaii. Kauai is famous for having the most stunning nature in all Hawaii, and that’s definitely saying something, considering many people think Hawaii is the most beautiful place on earth.

That’s why on this one day of what to see on Kauai, we’re going to head deep into nature. We’re going to go kayaking, we’ll trek into the forest, and then we’ll swim in a beautiful hidden waterfall. It will be almost more beauty and nature than we can stand.

But we will stand it. Oh yes, we will stand it.

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: What to See on Kauai

#1 TOP PICK

Best What to See on Kauai 2

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
KAYAK AND WATERFALL TOUR
✔️ Expert local guide
✔️ Visit a secret waterfall

#2 PICK

Best What to See on Kauai 3

KAUAI ZIPLINING
✔️ Tons of fun
✔️ Snacks included

#3 PICK

Best What to See on Kauai 4

ALL OTHER KAUAI TOURS
✔️ Find your favorite!
✔️ Get the best deals

one day of what to see on kauai

One Day of what to see on Kauai

Morning: Relax in Kauai

As you’ll soon see, we have a big afternoon coming up on our one day of what to see on Kauai. There will be kayaking, there will be hiking, and there will be mud. There will be so much mud.

So for the morning, I suggest that we keep it low-key. We don’t need to go running around Kauai like chickens with our heads cut off. Let’s be like this chicken who has his head firmly attached to his body.

one day of what to see on kauai

I will give you a few suggestions to get you started with your morning of beaching, shopping, and lunching. Let’s head right this way with…

Three Fascinating Facts: One Day of what to see on Kauai

one day of what to see on kauai
1) Where’s the best beach in the area?

Kauai is not as famous for beaches as Maui is, but it still has plenty of them. After all, Miss, this is Hawaii! I suggest going to Kapaa Beach, especially if you are staying in Kapaa, because it’s very convenient, and it’s the easiest beach to reach. You can apparently go swimming in this beach, but I don’t really recommend it.

I think it’s better to use this Kapaa Beach Park to go for a stroll. The earlier you get up, the more time you’ll have for relaxing on the beach. In fact, what I suggest doing is strolling along the beach in the direction of the meeting point for the kayaking/secret waterfall adventure.

That way you’ll enjoy some excellent views while you head towards your destination. And you won’t have to worry about getting an Uber because they can truly be impossible to get in Kapaa. I’ve had to wait for over an hour to get an Uber to the airport, no joke.

one day of what to see on kauai
2) What about shopping?

My favorite place to shop in Kauai was the Coconut Marketplace. Sometimes there’s live music there, but if you visit in the morning, there probably won’t be.

However, any time of day, it’s a great place to go shopping. As I’ve mentioned in other blog posts, I collect a pair of earrings in each city I visit. (Actually, I tend to collect more than one pair of earrings, but shush, don’t tell the IRS.)

I bought some local handmade jewelry at both Hawaiian Artisans and Kauai Handmade Jewelry, but I promise they have other treasures if earrings aren’t your bag.

Also, don’t worry about shopping on your way to the kayak trip. You’ll be provided with a large waterproof bag where you can store your things safely, so there’s no issue.

one day of what to see on kauai
3) OK, what about lunch?

Glad you asked! The hiking excursion leaves right after lunch, so we’ll want to go somewhere near the meeting point. And the best place for lunch near the meeting point for the excursion is Russell’s, also known as Eat Healthy.

As you can tell from the name, this cafe is dedicated to serving only food that’s good for your bod, with a vegetarian slant. I’m not vegetarian, but I can always appreciate good vegetarian food when it crosses my lips. That’s why I recommend the tempeh bacon VLT, which was so fresh and spicy that I almost didn’t miss the bacon fat.

Just be warned that Russell’s has a notice saying that they will not give you a refund if a chicken attacks your food.

one day of what to see on kauai

Yeah, not even this chicken. So keep him away from your sandwich!

one day of what to see on kauai

One Day of what to see on Kauai

Afternoon: Kayak to a Secret Waterfall

Have you ever heard of the Wailua River? Well, you’re going to hear all about it. It’s truly one of the most majestic and stunning places you’ll see during your one day of what to see on Kauai, and lucky for us, we are going to see it on this super fun tour.

This tour takes you on a kayak trip down the Wailua River, where you will park your kayak, and then hike through nature to a secret waterfall. It’s a lovely excursion, and if you’re a solo traveler like me, you’ll be in luck because you’ll share a kayak with the guide, so you basically won’t have to row.

You can book this amazing experience right here

It’s basically impossible to do on your own, anyway. Then get ready for…

Approximately Top 5: Wailua River

one day of what to see on kauai
1) Get Prepared

So, there’s a few things you need to get ready for the excursion. First, wear comfortable shoes and clothes that you don’t mind getting muddy. I wore waterproof shorts, a bathing suit, and waterproof shoes.

But since we’re going to want to go out to dinner after the excursion, I suggest bringing a change of clothes with you in your bag. You might not have time to get back to your hotel before your dinner reservation, and as I mentioned, Ubers are real slow in Kauai.

Also, make sure you’re prepared in terms of fitness. As you can see from the description, you have to have arms that are strong enough to power the kayak, and you need to be able to handle the walk to the secret waterfall.

For some reason, most of the other people on the excursion with me were in the military, and they were all mega-jacked and able to do anything. But there was one elderly couple that had a little trouble with how active the tour was. If you are up to the activity, I think it’s a once in a lifetime experience.

one day of what to see on kauai
2) Kayak!

Have you ever been kayaking before? I had only been kayaking once before, in New Zealand, but I went canoeing in summer camp in Minnesota many times. It’s quite hard on the arms, especially if you are not a super jacked member of the military or something.

However, it’s worth the pain to get to experience the Wailua River, which is stunning and remote in a way that I never get to experience in most of the rest of the United States. In fact, for an non-driver like me, a place like this can be almost impossible to get to.

Anyway, it’s only about two miles down the Wailua River until you reach your destination…time to walk!

one day of what to see on kauai
3) Let’s Walk!

OK, so you’ll park your kayak and head into the…woods? Forest? Jungle? It’s a whole bunch of trees and water, that’s what really matters. This is where it matters that you wore waterproof gear because you will cross this river you can see in my photo above.

There’s rocks on the bottom that are hella slippery, and there’s a good chance that you could slip and fall, especially if you are the clumsiest person in the world, aka me. However, fortunately I had my cell phone in my waterproof shorts pocket, and so it was totally fine. Thanks, technology!

one day of what to see on kauai

Once you get past that river, the walk is a little smoother, and there’s actually a wooden pathway to walk on, so it is pretty easy to get to the rest of the way to the waterfall.

On the way back from the waterfall, the military troop hurried on ahead back to the kayaks without us, and the guide hung back to help the oldies who were taking their time. I was stuck in the middle, wending my way to the kayaks, and I got slightly turned around.

I did make it back to the kayaks, but not before falling on my butt and getting covered in mud. (Seriously, so much mud. Fortunately, there’s a ton of water around, so it was easy to wash off. But stick with the guide if you are also clumsy and get lost easily, comme moi.

one day of what to see on kauai
4) Secret Waterfall!

OK, as you can see from my photo above, this waterfall isn’t 100 percent a secret. There will be other people there. And yet, as far as I can tell, everyone seems to call this the secret waterfall, so we’re just going to go with that.

I do recommend going for a swim, which is terribly refreshing, and an opportunity to wash any mud you may have acquired off of yourself. Our guide suggesting heading behind the waterfall to experience the magical sights and sounds of the back of water.

However, I did not do that because I knew my hair would get absolutely soaked, and I had a dinner reservation. Up to you and your hair what you choose to do!

one day of what to see on kauai

Once you’re done swimming, kick back and relax with one of the omnipresent chickens of Kauai and chat with a companion or read a mystery novel. Sooner than you think, it will be time for your return trip: first the hike, then the kayak.

one day of what to see on kauai
24 Hour Tip

And that’s the last secret of the kayak tour I can share with you for now. You’ll have to book the tour if you want to find out more!

Check rates and availability right here!

Then our one day of what to see on Kauai can continue.

one day of what to see on kauai

One Day of what to see on Kauai

Evening: Dinner at Aina Kauai

I’m sure at this point in our one day of what to see on Kauai, you’ll be hungry. Many people don’t realize that Hawaii is famous for Japanese food. After all, many Japanese immigrants once came to Hawaii, and the islands are still very popular for Japanese tourists. Some of the best sushi I’ve ever had in my life was in Honolulu.

However, you can find other great types of Japanese restaurants in Hawaii, not just sushi. Aina Kauai specializes in kaiseki, which is a type of Japanese fine dining that is especially popular in Kyoto. A meal here isn’t cheap, but it’s a great value considering the amazing quality and amount of food that you are getting.

In a kaiseki meal, you don’t order a la carte off a menu. The chef prepares about ten smaller courses, according to a set progression. We started with kakigori, a kind of Japanese shaved ice.

one day of what to see on kauai

I’ve had kakigori in Japan, but it was always sweet. This dish was more savory, made with mint and peas. It was surprising and a refreshing way to begin the meal.

one day of what to see on kauai

Up next was the sarada course, which you can probably guess means salad. I loved that this salad was made with surprising greens like wasabina, which are mustard greens, and shungiku, which is an edible chrysanthemum. The slight sweetness in the dressing balanced out any bitterness in the greens.

one day of what to see on kauai

Aha! Here we have the sashimi course, made with the freshest local ahi. It was served in a light ginger ponzu sauce, with ogo (Hawaiian seaweed) and negi, which are Japanese long green onions. The vegetables were so light, all your attention is on the quality of the raw fish.

one day of what to see on kauai

The sanshu mori course presented three different vegetables dishes. The first was ohitashi, which were blanched greens with macadamia nut sauce. The next was furofuki, a braised daikon radish with miso and ginger. And finally, we have agebitashi, which was fried eggplant with dashi-shoyu broth.

I liked that each dish had a totally different flavor, from the bitter greens to the sweet eggplant to the savory daikon dish. It just showed how magical vegetables can be.

one day of what to see on kauai

Now we’re getting into the heavier courses like the sakana, which means fish. This was served with tangerine miso, which I had never seen before, kalo, which is Hawaiian for taro, and kukui nut.

I appreciate that even though this is a Japanese fine dining restaurant, the chef used so many Hawaiian ingredients. You wouldn’t find a place exactly like this in Tokyo.

one day of what to see on kauai

The robata course is always going to present grilled foods on skewers. One of them is vegetables, then tsukune (chicken meatballs), beef, and tsumire, which are fishballs.

It’s nice to see the humble fishball getting its due. I also liked the mango habanero sauce, which again distinguished this from a robata course you’d see in Japan.

one day of what to see on kauai

You can probably guess that this is the tempura course. The chef had fried an assortment of vegetable goodies, like kabocha squash and kale, as well as some local shrimp.

It was an excellent display of all the different textures and substances you can use to make delicious fried goods. I mean, if you can fry kale and you can fry squash, you can pretty much fry anything.

one day of what to see on kauai

The final savory course is the shokuji. One of these dishes is pickled vegetables, another is broth with kamaboko fish cake and winter melon, and the final dish is rice with local mushrooms.

Again, you have an interesting contrast of textures and flavors because one dish is sour, another is savory, and a third is salty. I like to take alternating bites of each dish to keep it interesting.

one day of what to see on kauai

The dessert course in a kaiseki meal can sometimes be the least interesting. That’s not the case at Aina Kauai. In this quartet, you can see a chocolate truffle, an extraordinary local pineapple, a dish of sorbet, and the fruit jelly shaped to look like a volcano.

It was almost too pretty to eat, but I didn’t let that stop me. And it is the perfect end to our one day of what to see on Kauai

one day of what to see on kauai

One Day of what to see on Kauai

Where to Stay?

For your one day of what to see on Kauai, you’re going to want to stay in a town like Kapaa. Kauai moves at a slower pace even than some other islands in Hawaii, and it can take forever for an Uber to show up. This can be frustrating if you want to get somewhere with relative speed. So you’ll want to be within walking distance of some places to eat and shops.

That’s why I recommend staying at the Hotel Coral Reef. It’s an adorable family-run hotel, and the family grandmother provides banana bread and chitchat with all the guests. Plus they have a guard cat who actually seemed to learn who I was by the end of the stay. Hard to be more impressive than that!

If you want a great deal on this hotel, just click here.

If you’re looking for other hotel options in Kapaa, check out these fantastic prices on many other hotels in Kauai.

You can explore the best deals on Kauai hotels by clicking here.

This search engine will help you find the perfect place to stay as the base for your one day of what to see on Kauai. With hundreds of options to choose from, I’m sure you’ll find something for your schedule and budget.

one day of what to see on kauai

That’s a Perfect One Day of what to see on Kauai

If you thought this article was funny, check out my hilarious travel guide Get Lost.

What would you do with one day on Kauai? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Kapaa now? And why does Kauai have so many chickens? Please email me at stellajane@aroundtheworldin24hours.com and let me know.

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: What to See on Kauai

#1 TOP PICK

Best What to See on Kauai 2

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
KAYAK AND WATERFALL TOUR
✔️ Expert local guide
✔️ Visit a secret waterfall

#2 PICK

Best What to See on Kauai 3

KAUAI ZIPLINING
✔️ Tons of fun
✔️ Snacks included

#3 PICK

Best What to See on Kauai 4

ALL OTHER KAUAI TOURS
✔️ Find your favorite!
✔️ Get the best deals

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend one day of what to see on Kauai

You can also add 24 hours in Honolulu. You can go on a circle tour of Oahu. Why not add a Big Island Kona things to do tour? You can then try what to do in Kona HI. You can experience a snorkel tour in Maui. Add on the best things to do in Lahaina HI. Check out what to do in Wailea Maui. Finally, try the best things to do at Hilo Hawaii.

Best What to See on Kauai 8

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