11 Kauai Tours and Activities to Fully Experience the Garden Isle

Visiting the Hawaiian island of Kauai is a dream come true for so many travelers. Beautiful beaches, colorful sunsets, dramatic cliffs, and rich green rainforests are perfect descriptions of this small but dramatic island.

Kauai is your spot if you want to vacation in a less touristy area and still have an adventure-filled trip.

Let’s look at all the ways you can have fun in this tropical paradise. Here are the best Kauai tours and activities you won’t soon forget…

What to Do on Kauai? - Hawaiianly.com

My Top 3 Picks: Best Kauai Tours and Activities

#1 Top Pick

Kauai Hawaii's coastline where the original Jurassic Park was filmed

Kauai ECO Adventure Helicopter Tour
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
✔️ 50 Min. Flight
✔️ Eco-Star helicopter reduces overflight noise by 50%

#2 Pick

Koloa Kauai Zipline Tour
✔️ 8 Different Traacks to Explore
✔️ Perfect for the Whole Family

#3 Pick

Kauai Na Pali Coast Sunset Dinner Cruise
✔️ Tour Lasts 4-5 hrs
✔️ Adult Drinks Included w/ID

Top 11 Kauai Tours

BEST KAUAI HELICOPTER TOUR

1. Kauai ECO Adventure Helicopter Tour

Imagine yourself soaring high above Kauai’s breathtaking landscapes, viewing cascading waterfalls, the stunning Na Pali Coast, and the awe-inspiring Waimea Canyon as you embark on the helicopter tour of a lifetime.

With helicopter safety being a top priority, you can relax in the comfortable Eurocopter Eco-Star while your skilled pilot navigates through scenic wonders that will leave you speechless.

Waimea Canyon State Park on Kauai - Hawaiianly

Kauai Helicopter Tour Key Points

  • ???? The tour lasts 50 minutes as you soar over the island’s diverse terrain, from rain-soaked Mt. Waialeale and the waterfalls of Waiapuna to the dry red ravine of Waimea Canyon and the breathtaking Na Pali Coast.
  • ???? The new Eurocopter Eco-Star helicopter reduces overflight noise by 50%.
  • ???? Use of Bose Aviation-grade, electronic noise-canceling headsets and microphones with 2-way communication with the pilot are included.
  • ????️ Requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, a different date or full refund will be offered.
  • ???? The experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, a different date or full refund will be offered.

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Capture incredible photographs of lush rainforests, dramatic cliffs, and vibrant valleys while easily spotting wildlife from above.

Not only will this once-in-a-lifetime experience satisfy your desire for freedom as you explore Kauai’s hidden beauty from an entirely new perspective, but it is also an eco-friendly tour that reduces overflight noise by 50%.

AMAZING tour with a great pilot & crew. Kauai has unreal, beautiful landscapes – it felt like we were on another planet! I’ve also never seen a helicopter like this one before where you can get basically 360 views… 10/10 recommend to everyone!!

– Travis (READ MORE REVIEWS)

Engage in fascinating conversations with your expert pilot as they share their experiences and interesting facts about the island with you through two-way communication via Bose Aviation-grade headsets.

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to witness Kauai’s unparalleled wonders while enjoying wildlife spotting and capturing picturesque memories during this unforgettable helicopter adventure.

BEST KAUAI ZIPLINING TOUR

2. Koloa Zipline Tour in Kauai

You’ll have a blast zipping through lush forests, soaring over the Waita Reservoir, and trying acrobatic stunts with the ‘Flyin’ Kauai’an’ harness on this unforgettable family-friendly adventure!

Not only will you experience thrilling zipline experiences like Superman and upside-down positions, but you’ll also learn about zipline history and eco-friendly ziplining practices.

Enjoying a Kauai Ziplining Tour

Knowledgeable guides will provide essential zipline safety tips to ensure everyone has a fun and secure time while taking in breathtaking views of Kauai’s natural beauty.

Kauai Ziplining Experience Key Points

  • ???? The zipline course goes through lush forests and over the Waita Reservoir, with 8 different tracks to soar across.
  • ????‍♀️ The “Flyin’ Kauai’an” harness allows for hands-free acrobatic stunts.
  • ???? Snacks are provided during a break among the eucalyptus trees.
  • ✋ Not recommended for pregnant travelers or anyone who has had surgery in the last 6 months.

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During your excursion, you’ll be equipped with all the necessary zipline gear essentials to make your adventure comfortable and safe. As you hike between each of the eight tracks, delight in scenic breaks among eucalyptus trees, where snacks and drinks will be provided.

We had a great time! Breathtaking views, excellent staff and amazing zip lines! Perfect for our kids ages 15, 13 and 10 as well as us parents! Highly recommend!

– Kim (READ MORE REVIEWS)

Keep in mind that some hiking is involved, which may be challenging for some participants. However, the emphasis on safety paired with encouraging guides makes this tour suitable even for first-time zipliners or those conquering a fear of heights.

Don’t miss this opportunity to explore Kauai’s stunning landscape from an entirely new perspective!

BEST DINNER CRUISE ON KAUAI

3. Na Pali Coast Sunset Dinner Cruise

Sail into a stunning sunset while witnessing the wonders of the Na Pali Coast on the Lucky Lady – Deluxe Na Pali Sunset Tour.

You’ll be treated to breathtaking views, beautiful wildlife encounters, and delightful drinks and snacks. This eco-friendly cruise offers an unforgettable experience as you watch dolphins, turtles, and whales frolic in their natural habitat.

Watching the sun set along the Na Pali Coast on Kauai

Capture these magical moments using their sunset photography tips to ensure your pictures are as spectacular as the scenery.

Kauai Sunset Dinner Cruise Key Points

  • ???? The Lucky Lady – Deluxe Na Pali Sunset Tour offers a sunset cruise along the scenic Na Pali Coast.
  • ???? Travelers can expect to see marine wildlife like dolphins, turtles, and whales.
  • ???? The tour includes drinks like beer, wine, and Mai Tai’s (with ID), as well as snacks.
  • ???? The tour lasts 4-5 hours, starting at 1:15 PM and returning at sunset.
  • ???? Hotel pickup and drop-off is included.

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As you enjoy the beauty of this romantic Kauai spot, indulge in some Hawaiian cuisine options that perfectly complement this enchanting evening. Dress for the occasion with dinner cruise outfits that combine comfort and style.

Enjoy excellent customer service from the helpful captain and crew. Suitable for all ages, this 4-5 hour tour starts at 1:15 PM and returns at sunset after a mesmerizing journey along Na Pali’s dramatic coastline.

The sunset cruise was great. It is definitely a must do. Beautiful beyond words. The crew was awesome. They went above and beyond to make sure the trip was perfect.

– Johnnie (READ MORE REVIEWS)

With hotel pickup and drop-off included, along with delicious food and drinks such as beer, wine, and Mai Tai’s – this Kauai Sunset Dinner Cruise is a must-do activity during your stay on the island.

Check off this bucket list-worthy experience by booking well in advance!

BEST NA PALI COAST RAFT TOUR

4. Kauai 1/2 Day Na Pali Raft and Snorkel Tour

Embark on an exciting half-day Na Pali coastal adventure by motorized raft, where you’ll splash through sea caves, pass under waterfalls, and spot spinner dolphins, sea turtles, and perhaps even migrating humpback whales.

This once-in-a-lifetime experience allows you to witness the breathtaking beauty of the Na Pali coastline while learning about its cultural significance from the friendly crew members.

Kauai Raft and Snorkel Adventure Key Points

  • ????‍♀️ Half-day Na Pali coastal adventure by motorized raft
  • ???? Splash through sea caves and pass under waterfalls (conditions permitting)
  • ???? Spot spinner dolphins, sea turtles, and perhaps migrating humpback whales
  • ???? Snorkel over the pristine reef at Nu‘alolo Kai (conditions permitting)
  • ???? Juice, Soda & Water included
  • ???? Hotel pickup and drop-off included

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As you venture into secret sea caves and marvel at Napali wildlife encounters, your skilled captain ensures a thrilling raft ride that’s fun and safe.

Before plunging into the pristine waters of Nu‘alolo Kai for an unforgettable snorkeling session teeming with vibrant marine life, pay close attention to snorkeling safety tips provided by your expert guides.

The trip to Na Pali was amazing!! We saw spinner dolphins, and most beautiful scenery!! Our Captains NoNo and Gabe were excellent!! Hands down the best company!! Hope to come back and do it again someday!

– Robin (READ MORE REVIEWS)

Their dedication to marine life conservation ensures a responsible approach while exploring this precious underwater ecosystem.

With stunning views of the Na Pali Coast above water and unique encounters with sea turtles and dolphins below the surface, this tour caters to your deep-seated desire for freedom while nurturing a newfound appreciation for nature’s wonders.

BEST KAUAI KAYAK TOUR

5. Guided Secret Falls Kayak Tour

Prepare for an unforgettable adventure as you combine kayaking and hiking on this guided tour. The tour features a sparkling waterfall, breathtaking views, and fascinating cultural insights.

Kayaking the Wailua River on Kauai - Hawaiianly

This Kauai kayak tour is perfect for families and groups seeking a challenging yet enjoyable outdoor experience. Though some parts of the hike can be muddy, it’s well worth it once you reach the beautiful waterfall destination that awaits.

Secret Falls Kayak Tour Key Points

  • ???? Kayak tour led by state-certified guides
  • ????️ Kayaking and hiking to a sparkling waterfall
  • ???? Kayaking equipment and life jackets provided
  • ????‍????‍????‍???? Not recommended for pregnant travelers

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Along the way, you’ll experience eco-friendly experiences while learning about local flora and history from your knowledgeable guide.

Kayak fishing opportunities may arise during your journey before reaching the hidden waterfall adventures that await at the end of a fantastic hike.

Enjoy a wonderful kayaking trip down the river! Explore the natural beauty of the land while hiking! Bask in the cool waters beneath an incredible waterfall! This experience was highly enhanced by Levi’s dedication to his Hawaiian culture.

– Amy (READ MORE REVIEWS)

This weather-dependent tour may not be suitable for those with mobility issues or pregnant travelers.

So gather your loved ones and immerse yourselves in one of the best Kauai tours and activities available – a unique combination of kayaking, hiking, cultural insights, and astonishing scenery!

Secret Falls Kauai - Hawaiianly.com

BEST ATV TOUR ON KAUAI

6. Kauai ATV Backroads Adventure Tour

After exploring Kauai’s waters on a fantastic kayak tour, it’s time to take your adventure up a notch and conquer the land with an exhilarating ATV tour.

Discover the beauty of Kauai’s landscapes as you navigate through diverse terrain on off-road adventures that are perfect for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike.

Kauai ATV Backroad Adventure Key Points

  • ???? Explore Kauai’s landscapes on an ATV
  • ???? Drive through plantations and up to an inactive volcano
  • ???? Opportunity for catch-and-release fishing at Waita Reservoir
  • ???? Learn about local history and culture from guides
  • ???? Snacks and a bottle of water provided
  • ???? Goggles, helmets, and souvenir neck gaiters provided

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As you traverse Kauai ATV routes, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views, unique experiences, and memories that will last a lifetime.

Before embarking on this adrenaline-pumping journey, brush up on ATV safety tips to ensure a fun and secure experience.

Experienced guides will accompany you throughout the trip, sharing fascinating stories about local history, culture, and wildlife spotting opportunities along the way.

You’ll have the chance to drive through lush plantations and even ascend an inactive volcano!

For those interested in fishing, there’s also an opportunity for catch-and-release at Waita Reservoir.

We had a great time with Ari and Mona as our guides. Both were knowledgeable about the history and beauty of the island. They were funny and really wanted everyone to have fun. I highly recommend this as a fun family event.

– Jill (READ MORE REVIEWS)

As you explore these pristine landscapes from ocean to mountain, don’t forget to snap some photos of your epic off-roading adventure – just remember that things can get quite muddy during the ride!

With all these incredible sights and activities awaiting you on this unforgettable ATV tour in Kauai, prepare yourself for an experience that encapsulates the spirit of freedom like no other.

TOP GARDEN TOUR ON KAUAI

7. Princeville Kauai Botanical Gardens Tour w/Chocolate Tasting

Immerse yourself in the lush beauty of Princeville Botanical Gardens, where you’ll experience a guided tour filled with vibrant ecosystems, mouth-watering chocolate tastings, and delicious tropical fruit samples.

As you explore this tropical paradise, you’ll discover rare plant species and themed garden designs that showcase the diverse flora found on the island.

Princeville Botanical Gardens Tour Key Points

  • ???? Explore Princeville Botanical Gardens on a guided tour that showcases different ecosystems, including the valley floor, creek sides, and hillside terraces
  • ???? Taste at least five different single-origin chocolates from around the world and learn how chocolate is made from raw cacao beans
  • ???? Sample fresh tropical fruit and local honey from the gardens while learning about the plants and flowers that thrive at different elevations on the island
  • ????️ Admission ticket includes guided tour, fruit samples, gourmet chocolate tasting, and insect repellant (available for use and purchase)

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Along the way, your guide will share garden photography tips to help you capture stunning images of your surroundings while enlightening you about conservation efforts to protect these natural wonders.

Tropical flora exploration at Princeville Botanical Gardens satisfies your senses with its breathtaking scenery and educates and inspires visitors about environmental stewardship.

Stroll through valleys, creekside paths, and hillside terraces as you learn how different elevations affect the growth of various plants and flowers.

Heidi was a great guide and extremely informative. Learning about the invasive species, evolution of the landscape, famine plants, and the processing of cacao was eye opening. The chocolate and plant tasting topped of a wonderful experience!

– Raymond (READ MORE REVIEWS)

This unforgettable journey is perfect for nature lovers who yearn for freedom and an appreciation for Mother Earth’s incredible biodiversity.

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to connect with nature while indulging in delectable treats from around the world!

BEST KAUAI FOOD TOUR

8. Hanalei Kauai Walking Food Tour

You’ll feel like a true foodie as you stroll through the charming town of Hanalei on this 2-hour walking tour, savoring mouthwatering dishes and uncovering hidden culinary gems that showcase Hawaii’s rich gastronomic culture.

Delight in the unique island flavors as you explore local cuisine, learning about Kauai food history while experiencing farm-to-table experiences at some of the best restaurants in town.

Hanalei Bay Kauai shopping - Hawaiianly

Your insightful guide will introduce you to delicious local specialties and share insights into cultural culinary influences that have shaped the flavors of this beautiful island.

Kauai Walking Food Tour Key Points

  • ???? Guided food tour of Hanalei, Kauai: Visit the town’s best restaurants
  • ????️ 2-hour walking tour featuring Hanalei’s food culture and local history
  • ????️ Sample delicious and unique dishes and local Hawaiian specialties
  • ???? Learn about local Hanalei history as well as its food culture from your guide
  • ???? Get tips on more great food spots and where to go afterward from your guide
  • ????️ Tour may take place rain or shine

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As you immerse yourself in this unforgettable walking food tour, your taste buds will dance with joy as you sample diverse dishes and experience authentic Hawaiian hospitality.

Whether rain or shine, your adventure continues with an informative and engaging look at Hanalei’s history and vibrant food scene.

Great experience with delicious food. Highly recommend doing this tour early in your visit to Kauai. Our guide was full of good info about Hanalei & the vendors. He gave lots local restaurant recommendations & provided umbrellas when it started to rain. Fun afternoon activity rain or shine.

– Nicole (READ MORE REVIEWS)

With tips from your personable guide on more great food spots to visit and activities to enjoy after the tour, this excursion is perfect for satisfying your appetite for delicious island fare and your desire for freedom.

So go ahead – indulge in an unforgettable journey through Hanalei’s picturesque streets, feasting on incredible cuisine while deepening your understanding of Kauai’s rich cultural tapestry along the way.

MOST UNIQUE KAUAI ACTIVITY

9. Kauai Hawaii Movie Tour

After savoring the flavors of Kauai on a walking food tour, it’s time to immerse yourself in the island’s cinematic history with the best Kauai movie tour.

This full-day excursion allows you to step into iconic film scenes and discover behind-the-scenes movie location insights that have made Kauai a favorite destination for Hollywood productions.

Wailua Falls Kauai Overlook - Hawaiianly.com

Get ready to relive moments from movies like ‘South Pacific,’ ‘Tropic Thunder,’ ‘Pirates of the Caribbean,’ ‘Castaway’ and ‘Jurassic Park’ as you explore their real-life settings.

Kauai Movie Tour Key Points

  • ???? Full-day tour of Kauai’s famous film and TV locations
  • ????️ See dozens of island shooting locations immortalized in films and TV shows like ‘South Pacific,’ ‘Tropic Thunder,’ ‘Pirates of the Caribbean,’ ‘Castaway’ and ‘Jurassic Park’
  • ???? Travel in an air-conditioned minibus and watch movie clips on board
  • ???? Fun and entertaining way to experience Kauai’s beauty

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The comfortable air-conditioned minibus will take you on a journey through Kauai’s film history while welcoming tour guides provide interesting information about each location.

As you visit these scenic spots, watch clips from your favorite movies on board, adding an extra layer of excitement to your experience.

Along with these cinematic tour benefits, who knows, you might even have some celebrity encounters during your adventure!

GREAT way to see the island. Our guide was GREAT. LOVED everything about this tour. You don’t have to be a movie buff to enjoy this tour but if you are you will really enjoy it.

– Anita (READ MORE REVIEWS)

This entertaining and informative tour is perfect for movie buffs and those simply looking to experience Kauai’s beauty in a unique way.

So, why not enhance your vacation memories by following in the footsteps of famous actors and filmmakers who’ve been captivated by this stunning Hawaiian island?

Two Hawaii Movie Fun Facts…

1. One of the helicopters I worked on when I was stationed at HSL-37 on Oahu was used prominently in the movie Tears of the Sun, with Bruce Willis as the lead.

2. Although not filmed on Kauai, I was an extra in the movie Pearl Harbor when it was being filmed in 2000 on Oahu.

BEST KAUAI WHALE-WATCHING TOUR

10. Kauai’s Ultimate Whale Watching Tour

Get ready for an unforgettable adventure as you embark on the ultimate whale-watching tour in Kauai, where you’ll have the chance to witness majestic whales, playful dolphins, and graceful turtles up close from December through May.

See whales on Kauai - Hawaiianly

This 2.5-hour small-group excursion takes place on a Zodiac boat, offering excellent views and photo opportunities of these magnificent creatures while ensuring your safety and comfort.

Kauai Whale and Dolphin Watching Tour Key Points

  • ???? This is a whale and dolphin watching tour in Kauai from December through May
  • ????️ Tour takes 2.5 hours and includes a small-group experience with a maximum of 14 passengers
  • ???? The tour takes place on a Zodiac boat for excellent views and photo opportunities
  • ???? Snacks, water, and rain/splash jackets are included, but not transportation
  • ????‍♂️No snorkeling is allowed on this tour

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Your well-rounded crew will share fascinating insights about local marine life, offer photography tips to capture that perfect shot, provide ocean safety guidelines during your journey, and discuss their ongoing efforts in marine conservation.

With a maximum of only 14 passengers per tour, you’ll enjoy an intimate experience as you watch captivating whale behavior up close.

The ride might be bumpy and wet at times due to the boat’s speed, but rest assured that snacks, water, and rain/splash jackets are provided for your convenience.

Great tour on the Zodiac with a great crew. We were able to cruise along the Kauai shore, watching whales cruising and jumping out of the water. With a wonderful sunset. Great experience!

– Laurent (READ MORE REVIEWS)

Although there is no snorkeling allowed on this tour, being so close to the water offers an incomparable perspective on these amazing animals in their natural habitat.

Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the wonders of Kauai’s marine environment while satisfying your desire for freedom and exploration!

BEST LUAU ON KAUAI

11. Experience Smith’s Garden Luau

When visiting a Hawaiian island, experiencing a Luau is a must. After some research for our Kauai trip, we attended Smith’s Garden Luau, which did not disappoint.

It is a family-operated event and you almost feel as if you are a part of the event.

Smith's Garden Luau on Kauai - Hawaiianly.com

Your evening first starts with a ride on a tram around the beautiful tropical gardens. You then have time to explore the land and take pictures but don’t stray too far because you will want to be back to attend the Imu Ceremony.

Smith’s Garden Luau Key Points

  • ???? The Smith family has been running the business for over 50 years and celebrates the Hawaiian spirit of aloha.
  • ???? The luau runs on a seasonal schedule, with shows in February-October on Mon/Wed/Thu/Fri, in June-August on Mon/Tue/Wed/Thu/Fri, and in November-January on Mon/Wed/Fri.
  • ???? The luau includes a traditional Hawaiian feast with dishes like kalua pig, teriyaki beef, and mahimahi.
  • ???? Entertainment at the luau includes music and dancing representing various cultures, including Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa, the Philippines, New Zealand, and Japan.
  • ???? Transportation options to the luau are available, and their website has driving directions.

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This ceremony demonstrates the Hawaiian tradition of using an underground oven full of hot coals for cooking the delicious pulled pork you will have the option of eating at dinner time.

Drinks and music are also a part of the experience before heading to the amphitheater to watch their famous Aloha Show.

Although the Smith’s Luau takes place all year, there is a seasonal schedule, so check their website for the specific days and times to attend.


FAQs

What is the number one thing to do in Kauai?

If you can only do one thing in Kauai make sure to check out the Na Pali coast. There are plenty of boat tours or even better book an airplane or helicopter tour to check out the Na Pali coastline from above. Either way you will leave Kauai with no regrets because words and other people’s pictures do not do the NaPali coast justice!

What is Kauai popular for?

Kauai is most popular for the distinct and dramatic natural beauty all around this Hawaiian island. Whether you visit Waimea Canyon, take a boat or helicopter tour of the Na Pali coast, kayak to a waterfall or just hang out at the beach in Hanalei Bay you will be left in awe of everything Kauai has to offer!


Wrapping It Up…

Even if you are not able to fit all of these experiences in on your trip there are enough activities on Kauai that will provide spectacular memories for years to come!

And if you are looking for more specific Kauai tours to book on your next vacation check out our other recommendations below…
Best Kauai Helicopter Tours
Best Kauai Private Tours

Check out our Google Web Stories – 5 Best Kauai Excursions and Things to Do in Kauai

What to do on Kauai - Hawaiianly

If you’ve already visited the Garden Isle what are your can’t-miss activities? Let us know in the comments…


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