Kauai Feature

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Top 5 Kauai Outdoor Adventures

Kauai's spectacular scenery makes getting outdoors a must-do activity for most people.

There are endless options here for spending time outside enjoying waterfalls, rivers, coastlines, and canyons, but here are a few of our favorites.

Tour Napali Coast by Boat

Every one of the Hawaiian Islands possesses something spectacularly unique to it and this stretch of folding cliffs is it for Kauai. To see it, though, you'll want to hop aboard a boat. You may opt for a leisurely ride aboard a catamaran or a more adventurous inflatable raft. Some tours offer the opportunity to stop for snorkeling or a walk through an ancient fishing village.

Kayak the Wailua River

The largest river in all Hawaii, the Wailua River's source is the center of the island—a place known as Mt. Waialeale—the wettest spot on earth. And yet it's no Mighty Mississippi. There are no rapids to run. And that makes it a great waterway on which to learn to kayak. Guided tours will take you to a remote waterfall. Bring the whole family on this one.

Hike the Kalalau Trail

The Sierra Club allegedly rates this famous, cliffside trail a difficulty level of 9 out of 10. But don't let that stop you. You don't have to hike the entire 11 miles. A mile hike will reward you with scenic ocean views—in winter, you might see breaching whales—and sights of soaring seabirds and tropical plant life dotting the trail sides. Wear sturdy shoes, pack your camera, and be prepared to ooh and aah.

Enjoy a Helicopter Ride

If you drive from Kee Beach to Polihale, you may think you've seen all of Kauai, but we're here to tell you there's more scenic beauty awaiting you. Lots more. Save up for this one. It's not cheap, but a helicopter ride over the Garden Island will make you think you're watching a movie with 3D glasses. For breathtaking photos with no glass reflection, or if you just want a thrill, consider a doorless helicopter tour.

Zipline over the Trees

It may not feel natural to take a running leap over the ledge of a valley, but it sure is fun. Guides clip your harness to wires and slow you down for landings, leaving you free to enjoy ocean and mountain views as you "fly" over treetops and across valleys. Most outfitters offer a shorter "express" version of their signature tours, though we recommend the full tour so you have time to catch your breath—you're sure to lose it screaming.

Updated: 07-2013

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