Are you visiting Kauai for the first time? Its diverse terrain – gorgeous white sandy beaches, jagged sea cliffs, waterfalls, and botanical gardens – makes for a nature-lovers Eden. Obviously, we can’t fit everything in this 7-day Kauai itinerary, but that means you’ll have to return and continue exploring this island of bliss.



Day 1: Welcoming Touchdown and an Evening of Culture

Upon setting foot on the “Garden Isle,” you’ll quickly understand why many refer to Kauai as a slice of paradise. The “Garden Island” ambiance envelops you as you disembark at Lihue Airport. Secure your rental car, a must-have for navigating Kauai’s picturesque locales, and travel to your chosen hotel in Poipu, the vibrant hub of the South Shore.

After freshening up, you’re met with the beckoning soft sand and sparkling waters of Poipu Beach. Poipu Beach is one of the world’s best beaches. Here, you can swim with sea turtles, watch sea lions sunbathe, and explore paddle surfing. Shoot a round of golf nearby or take a surf lesson. And don’t forget to attend a luau for an authentic Hawaiian island experience. The nearby Spouting Horn is another fantastic site to watch this natural wonder spew seawater into the air.

As the day wanes, immerse yourself in a traditional luau experience. Beyond just a feast, it’s a journey into Hawaiian history and culture. And if you’re seeking recommendations for a beachfront dining experience, the Beach House Restaurant in Poipu offers a splendid blend of ambiance and local Hawaiian food.

Day 2: Soaring Views and Coastal Wonders at Kauai‘s NaPali Coast



Wake up with an early breakfast, fueling up for a North Shore day adventure. Your first stop? Na Pali Coast is a must-see, jaw-dropping seascape with jagged, emerald valleys and cliffs along turquoise waters. It’s only accessible by air, boat or hiking the Kalalau Trail (permit required). This spectacular coastline will leave you in awe! Experience a dolphin or whale-watching adventure (season permitting) on a catamaran.

You may get a grand view of NaPali Coast from above by booking a helicopter tour. This is not just any coastline; it’s a masterpiece, a dramatic juxtaposition of towering cliffs and azure waters. As your helicopter weaves through the valleys, each twist and turn reveals more of Kauai’s beauty, offering breathtaking views of spots like Hanalei Bay and Tunnels Beach.

Post the aerial adventure, dive deeper into the Na Pali Coast’s wonders by snorkeling or kayaking. Snorkel through the North Shore and marvel at the beauty of NaPali’s secluded beaches, natural waterfalls, and sea caves while sharing the ocean up close with tropical fish and sea turtles. The sea caves await exploration, and the tropical fish promise a vibrant underwater spectacle. As you paddle, the tales of the entire island come alive, from the legends of Waimea Canyon State Park, often hailed as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” to the rhythms of the Wailua River.

As evening approaches, retreat to Poipu and let the culinary journey continue. If you’re in the mood for a blend of comfort and luxury, consider dining at the Grand Hyatt Kauai or indulging in the best local food from nearby food trucks.

Day 3: The Grandeur of Waimea Canyon and Nostalgic Town Visits

Get an early start and take a scenic drive along the west side of the island to Waimea Canyon (the Grand Canyon of the Pacific) and Kokee State Park. The canyon is a dramatic sight, with several scenic lookouts into the valleys of the NaPali Coast. Bird lovers, hikers, and sightseers will love wandering around Kokee. Drive to the end of Highway 550 and soak in the breathtaking lookout into Kalalau Valley. The drive itself is a part of the experience, with every turn revealing more of the island’s lush valley and tropical forest beauty. But if you are feeling adventurous, cross skydiving off your Bucket List with a world-class diver.

Once you arrive, consider hiking up to the Waimea Canyon Lookout, a vantage point offering stunning views of both the North and South Shore. The juxtaposition of the canyon’s deep reds and the surrounding greenery is a sight to behold, making it a top spot on the ultimate Kauai itinerary.

Post your canyon escapade and make your way to the nostalgic Waimea Town. This cute town serves as a time capsule of Hawaiian history. After soaking in the town’s charm, the Kauai Museum offers a deeper dive into the island’s rich past. Finish your day with a delightful dinner in Waimea, and perhaps indulge in a traditional Hawaiian shaved ice for dessert.

Day 4: Hike into Kauai’s jungle and Silver Screen Flashbacks

As you head to Hanalei, a jewel of Kauai’s North Shore, gear up for a road trip. The Hanalei Valley Lookout en route offers a panoramic view of the island’s fantasy island landscapes, with taro fields stretching to the horizon. Once in Hanalei, the soft sand of Hanalei Bay awaits your footprints. Dive for a swim or take up a surfboard to ride the waves. If you prefer a calmer water experience, the nearby Ke’e Beach offers a more sheltered bay, ideal for snorkeling among the tropical fish.

Paddle into the lush jungle along the Wailua River, hike to a waterfall and enjoy a picnic lunch on a kayak or tubing tour. Need for speed? Book an ATV tour and ride through private ranch land. As you explore, you’ll likely recognize backdrops from famous films. Hanalei and the surrounding North Shore have graced the screens in classics like “Jurassic Park” and “Raiders of The Lost Ark.” Don’t miss getting deeper into Kauai’s interior by scheduling an exhilarating zipline tour across the world’s tallest and longest zipline.




Day 5: Secret Trails and the Lure of Kauai’s North Shore

Your fifth day on the “Garden Isle” takes you deeper into Kauai’s North Shore. Start by exploring the Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail, a less-traveled path that offers a peaceful exploration of the island’s coastal beauty. Along the trail, the stunning vistas of Shipwreck Beach unfold, with its unique rock formations and waves crashing on the shore. This popular spot for daring cliff jumpers is a must-see for any thrill-seeker.

As you head to Princeville, take a photo of Kilauea Lighthouse, where you may even spot a whale during winter. The day won’t be complete without a visit to the lighthouse, which stands tall on the cliffs of the North Shore and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding coastline.

On returning to your lodging, consider stopping by food trucks or local eateries to taste authentic island flavors. Kauai’s North Shore offers a variety of delicious dining options, from casual eateries to fine dining establishments.

Book a horseback and hiking tour, or visit the Princeville Botanical Gardens if you want an active adventure. The gardens offer a tour three days a week with homemade chocolate, honey, and seasonal fruit tastings.

While you’re on the North Shore, it would be a shame to miss Tunnels Beach. Its pristine waters and offshore reef make it a haven for snorkelers eager to glimpse Kauai’s diverse marine life. The underwater sea caves are a particular draw, evoking a sense of wonder and adventure in every diver.

By afternoon, drive down to the Coconut Coast, an east-side gem named for the groves of coconut palms that line its shores. As you stroll, you’ll find a range of vacation rentals, each offering a unique ocean view. For dinner, consider dining at the Beach House, where the island’s flavors come alive in every dish.

Day 6: Pamper yourself at the Koloa Landing Spa

Beachside spa services, anyone? Today is dedicated to relaxation and indulgence, and what better place to start than at the Koloa Landing Spa®. This haven of tranquility promises rejuvenating treatments that meld traditional Hawaiian techniques with modern luxuries. Whether you choose a Lomi Lomi massage, a seaweed body wrap, or a customized facial, you’re sure to leave feeling refreshed and renewed.

After your spa treatment, take some time to explore the surrounding area. Several unique boutiques and art galleries are within walking distance of the resort. You can also visit the Kauai Museum, which houses a collection of historical artifacts, cultural exhibits and unique Kauai gifts.

Head to Polihale State Park for a breathtaking sunset experience in the evening. This remote beach is one of the longest in Kauai and offers stunning coastline views. As the sun dips below the horizon, the sky turns a kaleidoscope of colors, creating a truly unforgettable sight.

Day 7: Final Farewells and Last-Minute Adventures

Your final day on the Garden Isle is a bittersweet balance of reminiscing the week’s adventures and seizing those last moments for more discovery. Begin your day with an early breakfast, preferably with a view of the waves crashing on the shores of Kauai’s beautiful beaches.

If you’re feeling adventurous, consider a kayak tour of the Wailua River. Paddle through lush tropical forests, and if you venture far enough, you may find yourself at the base of the captivating Wailua Falls. This cascade is a picture of Kauai’s natural beauty, and the fall’s misty spray offers a refreshing start to the day.

In the afternoon, drive down to Lihue Airport but briefly stop at the Queen’s Bath on the way. This tide pool, set among lava rocks, is a unique natural wonder of the island. The waters are refreshingly cool, and if you time your visit right, you might spot some playful sea life.

If you have a few hours to spare before your flight, consider island hopping to one of the other Hawaiian Islands. Several rental companies offer quick flights, making it feasible even on a tight schedule.

However, that’s perfectly understandable if you prefer to savor every last second on Kauai. Grab some delicious Hawaiian food from a local food truck, or spend your remaining hours walking along the beach walk, relishing the feeling of soft sand beneath your feet. As you board your flight, clutching souvenirs and memories, you’ll already be planning your next Kauai trip. The Garden Isle’s allure is timeless; every visit feels like the first.

Plan Your Perfect Kauai Vacation Itinerary

There is truly so much our island can offer visitors. Let our experienced Kauai Resort concierge help you plan your itinerary today. Give us a call at 808-240-­6609.