Kauai Experiences

Advertisement

Kauai Features

  • Kauai and Hawaii Today

    Despite its small size—about 550 square miles—Kauai has four distinct regions, each with its own unique characteristics. The windward coast,... Read more

  • Top Attractions in Kauai

    Some things defy words, and the Napali Coast is one of them. Besides, beautiful, verdant, spectacular, and amazing lose their meaning after repeated... Read more

  • 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... Read more

  • Top 5 Kauai Scenic Spots

    Verdant valleys, epic cliffs, plunging waterfalls, and majestic canyons are just a few of the features you'll find on Kauai. You might almost get... Read more

  • Top 5 Kauai Beaches

    With more than 50 miles of sandy shores—more than any other Hawaiian island—Kauai is a beach bum's dream. It's easy to give in to "Hawaii time"... Read more

  • Kauai for Kids and Families

    With dozens of adventures, discoveries, and fun-filled beach days, Hawaii is a blast with kids. Even better, the things to do here do not appeal... Read more

  • Seal-Spotting on the South Shore of Kauai

    When strolling on one of Kauai's lovely beaches, don't be surprised if you find yourself in the rare company of Hawaiian monk seals. These are among... Read more

  • Hawaii's Geology

    The Hawaiian Islands comprise more than just the islands inhabited and visited by humans. A total of 19 islands and atolls constitute the State of... Read more

  • Hawaiian Stargazing

    One advantage of being the most remote island chain in the world is that Hawaii has clarity of air found in few places on the planet. This, combined... Read more

  • Hawaii's Flora and Fauna

    More than 90% of native Hawaiian flora and fauna are endemic (they evolved into unique species here), like the koa tree and the yellow hibiscus.... Read more

  • The Polynesians

    Long before both Christopher Columbus and the Vikings, Polynesian seafarers set out to explore the vast stretches of the open ocean in double-hulled... Read more

  • A United Kingdom

    When the British explorer Captain James Cook arrived in 1778, he was revered as a god. With guns and ammunition purchased from Cook, the Big Island... Read more

  • Modern Hawaii

    In 1893, the last Hawaiian monarch, Queen Liliuokalani, was overthrown by a group of Americans and European businessmen and government officials,... Read more

  • Shop Local Farms and Markets

    From Kauai to the Big Island, farmers' markets are cropping up, providing a place for growers to sell fresh fruits and vegetables. There is no... Read more

  • Support Hawaii's Merchants

    Food isn't the only sustainable effort in Hawaii. Buying local goods like art and jewelry, Hawaiian heritage products, crafts, music, and apparel is... Read more

  • Choose Green Tour Operators

    Conscious decisions when it comes to Island activities go a long way to protecting Hawaii's natural world. The Hawaii Ecotourism Association ( Read more

  • The Role of Tradition

    The kingdom of Hawaii was ruled by a spiritual class system. Although the alii, or chief, was believed to be the direct descendent of a deity or... Read more

  • Who Are the Hawaiians Today?

    To define the Hawaiians in a page, let alone a paragraph, is nearly impossible. Those considered to be indigenous Hawaiians are descendants of the... Read more

  • Modern Hawaiian Culture

    Perfect weather aside, Hawaii might be the warmest place anyone can visit. The Hawaii experience begins and ends with aloha, a word that envelops... Read more

  • How to Act Like a Local

    Adopting local customs is a firsthand introduction to the Islands' unique culture. So live in T-shirts and shorts. Wear cheap rubber flip-flops, but... Read more

  • Aloha Shirt

    To go to Hawaii without taking an aloha shirt home is almost sacrilege. The first aloha shirts from the 1920s and 1930s—called "silkies"—were... Read more

  • Hawaiian Quilt

    Although ancient Hawaiians were already known to produce fine kapa (bark) cloth, the actual art of quilting originated from the missionaries. Hawaiians... Read more

  • Popular Souvenirs

    Souvenir shopping can be intimidating. There's a sea of Islands-inspired and often kitschy merchandise, so we'd like to give you a breakdown of... Read more

  • Traditional Canoe

    Hawaii's ancestors voyaged across 2,500 miles from Polynesia on board a double-hulled canoe with the help of the stars, the ocean swells, and the... Read more

  • Luau

    The luau's origin, which was a celebratory feast, can be traced back to the earliest Hawaiian civilizations. In the traditional luau, the taboo or kapu... Read more

  • Nose Flutes

    The nose flute is an instrument used in ancient times to serenade a lover. For the Hawaiians, the nose is romantic, sacred, and pure. The Hawaiian... Read more

  • Slack-Key Guitar and the Paniolo

    Kihoalu, or slack-key music, evolved in the early 1800s when King Kamehameha III brought in Mexican and Spanish vaqueros to manage the overpopulated... Read more

  • Ukulele

    The word ukulele literally translates to the "the jumping flea" and came to Hawaii in the 1880s by way of the Portuguese and Spanish. Once a fading... Read more

  • Hula

    "Hula is the language of the heart, therefore the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people." —Kalakaua, the Merrie Monarch. Thousands—from tots to... Read more

  • The Big Day

    Choosing the Perfect Place. When choosing a location, remember that you really have two choices to make: the ceremony location and where to have... Read more

  • The Honeymoon

    Do you want champagne and strawberries delivered to your room each morning? A breathtaking swimming pool in which to float? A five-star... Read more

  • Saimin

    The ultimate hangover cure and the perfect comfort food during Hawaii's mild winters, saimin ranks at the top of the list of local favorites. In... Read more

  • SPAM

    Speaking of SPAM, Hawaii's most prevalent grab-and-go snack is SPAM musubi. Often displayed next to cash registers at groceries and convenience... Read more

  • Manapua

    Another savory snack is manapua, fist-size dough balls fashioned after Chinese bao (a traditional Chinese bun) and stuffed with fillings such as... Read more

  • Fresh Ahi or Tako Poke

    There's nothing like fresh ahi or tako (octopus) poke to break the ice at a backyard party, except, of course, the cold beer handed to you from the... Read more

  • Tropical Fruits

    Tropical fruits such as apple banana and strawberry papaya are plucked from trees in Island neighborhoods and eaten for breakfast—plain or with a... Read more

  • Plate Lunch

    It would be remiss not to mention the plate lunch as one of the most beloved dishes in Hawaii. It generally includes two scoops of sticky white... Read more

  • Bento Box

    The bento box gained popularity back in the plantation days, when workers toiled in the sugarcane fields. No one brought sandwiches to work then.... Read more

  • Malasadas

    The Portuguese have contributed much to Hawaii cuisine in the form of sausage, soup, and sweetbread. But their most revered food is malasadas,... Read more

  • Shave Ice

    Much more than just a snow cone, shave ice is what locals crave after a blazing day at the beach or a hot-as-Hades game of soccer. If you're lucky,... Read more

  • Crack Seed

    There are dozens of varieties of crack seed in dwindling specialty shops and at the drugstores. Chinese call the preserved fruits and nuts see mui... Read more

  • Cruising to Hawaii

    Carnival Cruises is great for families, with plenty of kid-friendly activities. Departing from Los Angeles or Vancouver, Carnival’s "fun ships"... Read more

  • Cruising within Hawaii

    Norwegian Cruise Lines is the only major operator to begin and end cruises in Hawaii. Pride of Hawaii (vintage America theme, family focus with... Read more

  • Niihau: The Forbidden Isle

    Seventeen miles from Kauai, across the Kaulakahi Channel, sits the privately owned island of Niihau. It's known as the Forbidden Isle, because... Read more

  • The Plate-Lunch Tradition in Kauai

    To experience island history firsthand, step up to the counter at one of Hawaii's ubiquitous "plate lunch" eateries, and order a segmented Styrofoam... Read more

  • Kauai in the Movies

    Though Kauai has played itself in the movies, most recently starring in The Descendants (2011), most of its screen time has been as a stunt double... Read more

Advertisement

Trip Finder
Store
Guidebooks

Fodor's Kauai

View Details
Travel Deals
Forums