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7 day Kauai Itinerary
One of my most highly requested blog posts is Hawaii itineraries. I’ll be writing 7-day itineraries for all of the islands, but I will start with the most requested, Kauai! This 7 day Kauai itinerary should help get you started on planning your Kauai vacation. If you still need help, feel free to contact me! I am a Hawaii Travel Agent, and I know planning a Hawaii vacation can be stressful. If you’re curious what it’s like to work with a Hawaii travel agent, I have a blog post for that too! Now, let’s get on to the 7 day Kauai itinerary.
Where to stay on Kauai?
First, let’s talk about where you should stay in Kauai. I know that some will recommend a few days on the south shore and a few days on the north shore, but I recommend choosing one and staying the entire time. Kauai is a tiny island, and it only takes a little over an hour to travel between the two popular resort areas (Hanalei/Princeville and Poipu.)
So, where to stay on Kauai? If you’re going in the winter and want to avoid rain, sunny Poipu is always a good choice. However, it doesn’t rain all the time in the Hanalei/Princeville area, and you’ll see some beautiful rainbows when it does! I love the north shore, but there are many great options on the south coast too.
If you’re on a tight budget, The ISO in Kapa’a is an excellent choice for couples (east Kauai), and the Waimea Plantation Cottages (southwest Kauai) is a great affordable option for families.
7 Day Kauai Itinerary
Feel free to omit things you don’t want to do, switch days around, or create your own 7 day Kauai itinerary using this as a guide!
On day 0 you will be arriving in Kauai. You’ve most likely had a long flight, so plan for day 0 to consist of relaxing and maybe some light exploring if you arrive early enough. Check in to your resort and have a mai tai by the pool. Walk along the beach and take it easy.
Day 1: Relaxing Beach Day
I don’t want to worry anyone, but flights can and do get delayed so try not to plan anything “big” on day 1, just in case. Have a relaxing beach day and check out a local farmers market. Check out Wailua Falls and maybe take a Shelter Dog on a field trip with Kauai Humane Society! We took our shelter dog to the Wailua Arboretum for a little hike.
This is Ellen, my dog for the day!
Some of my favorite Kauai beaches:
- Hanalei Bay
- Poipu Beach
- Tunnels Beach
- Kiahuna Beach
- Polihale State Park
You might also enjoy the 10 best things to do in Kauai.
Day 2: See Kauai from above
Take a helicopter tour with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters I have a blog post that details my Kauai helicopter tour, so make sure to check it out. I always book through Viator because they offer the best price guarantee and free cancellation for up to 24 hours.
A helicopter tour is lots of fun, but it only takes up about two hours of your day. I recommend an early morning flight. For the rest of your day, explore more of the south and east Kauai area. Check out Glass Beach in Lihue and perhaps spot some Hawaii monk seals.
Later, head to Kapa’a and stop at Tiki Taco for lunch. Rent some bikes and bike along the Ke Ala Hele Makalae Kapaa bike path. I recommend Happy Hour or dinner at Lava Lava Beach Club.
Day 3 Sleeping Giant, then Explore Poipu
Start your day by hiking up Sleeping Giant. You’ll want to start early, but you’ll still be soon enough on your trip where this shouldn’t be a problem. Sleeping Giant (Nounou Mountain East Trail) is a great sunrise hike, but make sure to start around 5 AM and bring a flashlight!
After your hike, head down for a day at Poipu. Enjoy some shopping, and if you like spa treatments, you’ll love the Anara Spa at the Grand Hyatt. For pictures, and a full review, check out my Grand Hyatt Kauai review and tour. Drive to spouting horn, and here is another chance to take a shelter dog on a field trip with the Kauai humane society! Have dinner at either Tidepools at Grand Hyatt or Red Salt at Ko’a Kea Resort.
If you are looking for more ideas, here are 25 things to do in Kauai.
Day 4 Kayak the Wailua River
Kayak the Wailua River and hike to secret falls, or kayak the lesser-known Hule’ia River to Hidden Valley Falls. You can rent kayaks and do this one your own, or take a tour. If you like to go off and explore on your own, do that. If you think you’d enjoy a trip with a knowledgable guide, that’s another excellent option.
Enjoy dinner at the Smith Family Luau after a day of hiking and kayaking.
Day 5 Explore Hanalei Bay
Spend day 5 exploring Hanalei Bay. If you’re feeling up to it, take a surf lesson or rent a stand-up paddleboard. You can also use day 5 to check out Queens Bath (from above only, do not go down there!), the Kilauea Lighthouse, or snorkel at Tunnels Beach if you love snorkeling. Hanalei also has plenty of shops and food trucks, so don’t miss this cute little town. Head to Postcards Cafe or the Princeville Resort for dinner.
Day 6 Na Pali Coast
You’ve seen in from the air and now is your chance to see the Na Pali coast on foot. Newly reopened, you can hike to either Hanakapi’ai Falls or hang out at Ke’e Beach if you’re not feeling like a hike.
Another great way to explore the Na Pali coast is by boat. You can enjoy a Na Pali sunset dinner cruise, a Na Pali sail, and snorkel cruise, or my favorite, the Ni’ihau and Na Pali coast super snorkel cruise. This snorkel tour is one of the very few ways to “visit” Ni’ihau, even though you won’t entirely be on land. 🙂
Spend your last day at Waimea Canyon. You can either explore with a long hike or check out the scenic overlooks. One of our favorite nearby hikes is the Awa’awapuhi Trail which will also give you a spectacular view of the Na Pali Coast. While you’re on the west side, make the (long) drive out to the remote Polihale Beach. This beach is huge and very private. It’s quite a drive to get there, but I promise it’s worth it!
Polihale State Park
There it is, the highly requested 7 day Kauai itinerary. As I mentioned earlier, feel free to move the days around, leave anything out, or even simply use this 7-day itinerary as a template to create your own 7 day Kauai itinerary. I create custom itineraries for my clients, so if you’re looking for a VIP experience, make sure to contact me! I will also help create the best experience for you based on your specific preferences.
Ready to plan your Kauai vacation?
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