“Kaua'i no ka oi” is Hawai'ian for “Kaua'i is the best,” and when it comes to things you can enjoy for free or almost free, the Garden Island really does have an edge on its more more famous counterparts in the Hawai'ian archipelago.
“Kaua‘i is the Hawai‘i that everyone wants to experience because of its rich diverse setting that allows you to discover nature’s beauty in the tropics,” says Sue Kanoho, Executive Director of the Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau.
“Whether a person is a first-time visitor or has been here many times, exploring Kaua‘i is a never-ending treasure hunt of sights and wonders that can be both fascinating and affordable.”
Here are 10 things that you can do for free – or nearly free.
- Explore the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” Waimea Canyon is a mile wide, 10 miles long, and more than 3,500-feet deep. Take in the stunning views from the lookouts or hike into the crater.
- Hike Amid Rain forests and Lush Valleys. Kaua‘i is a hiker’s dream destination, with spectacular hiking trails that immerse one into the magnificence of Kaua‘i’s verdant wilderness.
- See Kaua‘i’s Cherished Sites. Prince Kuhio Park was home to Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole (1871-1922), beloved as the “People’s Prince” for his tireless work on behalf of Hawai‘i’s people. He was the last royal heir to the Hawaiian throne.
- Enjoy Kaua‘i’s Culture. Hawai‘i is the only state with its own music, language and dance. On Kaua‘i, the host culture of Hawai‘i can be enjoyed for free or at little cost.
- Go Birdwatching. For a nominal entry fee, the Kilauea National Wildlife Refuge is a uniquely special setting for bird lovers. Framed by breathtaking views of Kaua‘i’s north shore, Hawai‘i’s endangered birds are seen nesting in the cliffs, including the Hawaiian Gallinule, red-footed boobies, tropicbirds, albatrosses, and frigate birds.
- Rent a Kayak. The only navigable rivers in Hawai‘i are found – and enjoyed – on Kaua‘i. Rent a kayak and leisurely paddle along one of the gentle rivers bordered by lush, tropical foliage. Or, journey by riverboat up the Wailua River to the famous Fern Grotto.
- Discover Kaua‘i’s Quaint Towns. Koloa is a historic 19th century plantation town that was the site of Hawai‘i’s first sugar plantation. Every July the Koloa Plantation Days celebrates the town’s proud heritage.
- Check Out a Waterfall. Kaua‘i’s waterfalls are a year-round display of nature’s ability to keep the Garden Isle green and vibrant. In Lihu‘e, one can drive right up to picturesque Wailua Falls.
- Experience Kaua‘i’s History. The telling of Kaua‘i’s story can be experienced in museums offering intriguing exhibits and artifacts. In Lihu‘e, the Kaua‘i Museum tells the island’s story from its formation and the arrival of the first Polynesians to more modern times with the start of the sugar plantation, and the various ethnic cultures that have contributed to its history.
- Hit the Beach! Kaua‘i has more than 50 miles of gorgeous white sand beaches to choose from – more beach per mile than any other island in Hawai‘i! Altogether, 43 white sand beaches beckon to wile away the day.
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With great beaches, friendly people, and beautiful scenery, Kaua‘i is one of the world's great travel destinations.