How to spend a long weekend in Kauai
I simply love Kauai. My first trip to this island was in March and while I spent a whopping two weeks there, it felt like a long weekend in Kauai. I spent most of my time working in an incredibly comfy airbnb with an open lanai (balcony) and relaxing amongst the trees and chickens.
There isn’t much to do in Kauai other than the beach, hiking, and relaxing in nature. The pace is slower…than slow. There’s only one major road really around the entire island. There’s free range chicken and roosters everywhere (due to the hurricanes in the past that destroyed the chicken coops). It’s the most idyllic and green of the Hawaiian islands. It’s the oldest island and while there, you can forget the rest of the world.
If you’ve got a long weekend in Kauai, there’s a lot of things to do.
Open-door helicopter ride
An absolute must is the open air helicopter tour. It’s a splurge but trust me – it’s worth it. You can read all about my experience riding in an open-door helicopter ride here.
Kauai is known as the “Garden Isle” and it truly shows in this ride. Bring your camera and tie your hair back for a fun & exhilarating experience.
Cliff Jumping or enjoying great views
There’s Shipwreck Beach down south in Poipu. Just drive down past all the fancy resorts and turn into the small parking lot. You’ll find an easy trail that’ll lead you to the top of a small cliff. It’s incredibly windy and while I just enjoyed the views, there were some daredevils jumping down into the water below. The waves are strong around this area, so be prepared!
If you’re into animals and horseback riding, I recommend spending some of your long weekend in Kauai by doing a horseback ride with Silver Falls Ranch. The horses are great and easy to ride – they pair you up by experience as well as weight. I had a great time but because it’s Princeville, be prepared for rain at any time and the trail can get muddy.
They provide lunch and drinks. Lunch is teriyaki chicken with rice and if you’re a vegetarian, they offer a taro burger as well. Silver Falls Ranch really cared about their horses and the riding guides seemed truly enthusiastic and in love with their job.
You CANNOT miss going to Waimea Canyon. There’s a few look out points so be sure to enjoy the drive up and down. I think the best time is going before noon or near sunset for the best photos. Otherwise, it gets too bright. Bring sunscreen and plenty of water.
Kilauea Lighthouse & Wildlife Refuge
If you’ve got some time to spare, visit the Kilauea Lighthouse & Wildlife Refuge. It’s open Tuesday to Saturday 10:00 am to 4:00pm, closed on Sunday and Monday and all federal holidays. Admission is $5.00 per person. Children 15 and under are free.
The ocean cliffs and tall grassy slopes of a dormant volcano provide a protective breeding ground for many Hawaiian seabirds. It’s a easy walk and pit stop for spectacular photographs.
Sunset Cruise down the southern coast
Take a sunset cruise (they also offer snorkel & scuba cruises & a dinner cruise) with Blue Dolphin Kauai cruises. We were able to watch dolphins and sea turtles as well as enjoy the Napali coast. Our captain & his crew were amazing with the service and guided commentary. Drinks are provided including beer, wine, and mai tais. Just sit back with your camera and enjoy the sea breeze.
Drinks at St. Regis
If you’re in Princeville, I suggest exploring Queen’s bath. Go super early in the morning or before sunset as it gets really crowded and there’s no parking. The neighborhood will issue parking tickets if you’re parking anywhere you’re not allowed. Be careful of the warnings. Plenty of people have died or gotten seriously injured at Queen’s Bath. Wear proper shoes or take off your slippers because it gets slippery.
Afterwards, get drinks at the St. Regis hotel – not too far from Queen’s Bath. Go early to snag the best seats and enjoy the sunset. Every night, they do a little ceremony, pop a bottle of bubbly, and everybody gets a glass.