Enjoying Kauai Activities and Attractions for Little or No Cost
Many of the most memorable adventures on the Garden Island are absolutely free, exploring and discovering Kauai from the mountains to the sea. Many other great Kauai adventures and attractions cost very little money. Affordable and fun is the motto, and Kauai is the place!
Do you want adventure? Cultural experiences? Are you a history buff? Or do you want to just enjoy serenity and relaxation? There is something for everyone on Kauai!
Here are some of the top things to do on Kauai that will cost you very little or no money.
Take a Hike!
From rainforests to deep, ancient valleys to coastal hikes Kauai has an abundance of wonderful walks that allow you to take in the expansive scenery and lush landscaping of the Garden Island. From the 11-mile challenge of the Kalalau Trail to the pine forest hike up Sleeping Giant, there is plenty to see. To hike atop coastal cliffs visit Kokee State Park where you can also hike into Waimea Canyon and swim near a waterfall.
Kayak on the Wailua River
If you rent your own kayak you can paddle in the Wailua River, which is typically very gentle. Some guided tours are very inexpensive and will show you the way to an upriver swimming hole and waterfall. You can also see the famous Fern Grotto, a lushly landscaped natural amphitheater cave. Avoid all Kauai rivers during times of heavy rain.
See Hawaiian Hula, Try a Hawaiian Craft
Many hotels offer evening torch lighting ceremonies and free performances of hula and traditional Hawaiian music and chants. You can also see free hula shows once each week at Lihue’s Harbor Mall and Kapaa’s Coconut Marketplace.
There are also various craft classes offered including lei making and weaving lau hala. Check the local Garden Island newspaper for updates on cultural offerings around Kauai.
Visit Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Park
Atop the island of Kauai near the summit of Waialeale is Kokee State Park with breathtaking views of Kauai’s stunning Na Pali Coastline.
On the drive up to Kokee you will enjoy stunning views of the ten-mile wide, 3,500-foot deep Waimea Canyon, and trails in the park lead out onto the coastal cliffs or down into Waimea Canyon.
Hawaii is for the Birds!
Birdwatchers love Kauai. The highlands of Kokee offer sightings of rare and colorful forest birds. At the Kilauea Refuge Wildlife Refuge on Kauai’s north shore more than a dozen native seabird species may be seen. This is also a great place to look for whales and dolphins offshore.
Explore Historic Kauai Towns
Koloa town on the south shore has a rich sugarcane heritage and is the site of Hawaii’s first sugar plantation. You can travel Koloa’s Heritage Trail to learn about the town’s past. Nearby is Hanapepe which looks so much like the Old West it has been used in movie sets. Friday Art Night in Hanapepe features live entertainment and fine art.
Kauai Waterfall Viewing
On Kauai’s east side you can view two spectacular waterfalls including Opaekaa (Rolling shrimp) Falls, and the 80-foot Wailua Falls made famous in the Fantasy Island television series.
Lounge on the Beach – Snorkel, Surf, or Stand Up Paddleboard
The ultimate free Kauai activity: the beach! With dozens of amazing white and golden sand beaches on Kauai there is no shortage of different beaches to explore and enjoy.
If you want to rent a stand up paddle board or a surfboard give us a call and we can recommend a reputable company or book the rental for you. Rentals are very inexpensive. Be sure to ask for some tips on the best area for beginners on that day!
For snorkeling you can rent gear in Hanalei town and then head out to Tunnels Beach in Haena for some of Hawaii’s best snorkeling.
Visit Kauai Cultural Sites
At Prince Kuhio Park in the town of Lawai you can see the foundation of the prince’s home, a heiau (sacred place of worship), and also the site of a royal fishpond.
Other heiaus can be seen near Lydgate Park and farther up Wailua Valley off Kuamoo Road where information signs provide information about the important cultural sites.
Viewing the Alekoko Fishpond in the Huleia National Wildlife Refuge is free and is a great place to see native Hawaiian waterbirds. Also known as the Menehune Fishpond, this huge ancient pond is said to have been built by the mythical race of ancient menehune known for their small stature and amazing work ethic, always completing their projects at night and then disappearing from sight before daybreak.