How to Explore Kauai in 3 Days

Today, I want to tell you all about one of my most favorite places on planet earth.

I have an extreme desire to visit New Zealand. Until I can fit enough time into my schedule and money into my pockets to properly explore New Zealand, I thought a tiny island adventure would fill the void.

It filled the void and then some. I fell head over heels in love with one of the Hawaiian Islands:


How did we decide to visit Kauai in February? Well, United’s marketing tactics had something to do with it. They were feeding my boyfriend and I emails about how it was only 45,000 mileage points to visit Honolulu round trip. After talking about it for what felt like weeks, we were ready to put our miles to good use!

We booked the trip on my birthday back in November and we’re so eager to get this journey started. After booking our initial flight and doing some research, we figured 10 days was enough time to explore two islands. A couple of our friends had been to Kauai, so it already came highly recommended. It sounded like it was one of the more adventurous islands, with plenty of hiking, options for helicopter and boat tours, and water sports.

We booked a round round trip flight on Hawaiian Airlines to Kauai for fairly cheap (there are plenty of options throughout the day for flight times), so we landed in Honolulu and immediately hopped on a plane to Kauai.

We arrived after the sunset, so it was tough to see the beautiful scenery when we first got there, but we had 3 full days to drive through the entire island. Of course I wish we had more time, but 3 days does enable you to see A LOT of Kauai.

Really, the one main tip I have for you is to…


It’s so easy to drive from destination to destination on Kauai. There aren’t a lot of roads through the middle of the island, but the drives along the coasts are so amazing.

We stayed on the east side of the island in Kapaa, about 15 minutes from where the airport is in Lihue. There were cute restaurants and nice beaches to lounge at here.

And, you’re really close to the Wailua Falls, which were popping off like crazy because of all the heavy rain.

One day, we went west to hang out at Poipu Beach (where there’s always sleeping turtles and sea lions!) and other beaches, as well as visit Waimea Canyon. Holy stunning sight. Luckily, we waited out the fog and it cleared to snap some wonderful pictures.

The further north you go from here, you see the ever-so-beautiful Na Pali Coast State Park. Picturesque landscapes everywhere you turn.

The next day, we drove along the east coast and up to the northern part of Kauai, where Princeville is and a couple of the trailheads into the Hono’Onapali Natural Reserve Area and the Na Pali Coast are located.

We did an 8 mile hike to an amazing waterfall – Hanakapi’ai Falls. It took all day and was exhausting, but it was so worth it for the beautiful reward at the end.

On our last day, we took a boat tour along the Na Pali Coast, so we could see it from the ocean. It was cold and rainy, but that didn’t matter (did I mention it rained almost the whole time)? We saw whales and other wildlife, and met some cool people along the way. Just look at the pure joy on this man’s face.

Even with the rain, Kauai was all parts fun and beautiful. My boyfriend and I talk about moving to this wonderful place all the time, and living the island life dream. I can’t tell yet if we’re serious..

I’m so glad we picked Kauai, and I know I’ll be back to visit again when we check out Maui and the big island for our next Hawaiian adventure!

I'm Abby - a weekend getawayer, lover of beach volleyball, grilled cheese enthusiast and puppy dog admirer.

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