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Do you see a trend emerging here? I’m always looking for a good deal, and I’m scouring the Hawaiian Islands on my mission to find the best free things for you to do during your vacation. I recently wrote about 10 Free Things To Do On The Big Island, as well as 8 Free Things To Do On Oahu.
Today, I’m back with ten free things to do on Kauai.
One of the top attractions on Kauai is completely free! Waimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, is ten miles long and up to 3,600 feet deep. Rivers and floods from the summit of Mount Waialeale began the carving the canyon thousands of years ago.
The canyon is also home to the Waimea River. Waimea is Hawaiian for “reddish water,” and, indeed, the water has a reddish tint to it.
When you drive to the canyon, you will see waterfalls popping out against the backdrop of the canyon, whose colors change from reds to browns to greens. If you are lucky, you might even see a waterfall.There are two lookout points that you can drive right up to that offer incredible views. You can park, walk around, and marvel at the beauty of Waimea Canyon.
There are also many hikes within the park.
If you are a dog lover visiting Kauai, this might be the best thing you do during your entire vacation. The Kauai Humane Society has a program called Shelter Dogs on Field Trips, through which visitors to Kauai can “check out” a dog for a day. After coming to the shelter to pick up your buddy for the day, you can take them hiking or to the beach. Some hikes you might want to take your furry friend on including Maha`ulepu Beach in Poipu, Kalapaki Beach in Lihue, Sleeping Giant in Wailua, Moalepe Trail in Wailua, Wailua Arboretum in Wailua, and Koke`e State Park/Waimea Canyon. Most beaches allow dogs, too.
The Kauai Humane Society has this program because it helps the dogs get their much-needed socialization, and it also helps visitors get their “dog fix.” While there is absolutely no pressure to adopt, many visitors fall in love with their dogs and end up bringing them home. This also helps the Kauai Humane Society get more dogs adopted. Everyone wins!
What better way to experience the Hawaiian Islands than also to give back while you are here? For more information and all of the guidelines, check out my post about this program here.
I exclusively drink coffee from the Kauai Coffee Company at home. I order it in bulk and use it to make cold brew coffee in the summer and hot coffee during Hawaii’s rainy season. The Kauai Coffee Company grows its coffee in the fertile volcanic soil on Kauai.
So, whenever I go to Kauai, I absolutely must make a stop at the Kauai Coffee Company to try their coffee and to see what’s new. Lucky for me, you can taste as much their estate-grown Hawaiian coffees as you like. Walking tours of the coffee orchard are also free. During this walking tour, you will see five different coffee varietals and learn about how the coffee is grown, harvested, processed, and roasted — all right in Kauai.
Every Wednesday, Kauai Coffee Company also hosts a Scavenger Hunt. This scavenger hunt will bring you to take pictures at some amazing places throughout the island, some of which you might not have found on your own. The first five teams completing the race will be treated to lunch at the Kauai Coffee Estate. Every participating team that comes to the Kauai Coffee Estate will receive a free bag of Kauai Coffee. For more information, click here.
There are a number of ways to see the Na Pali Coast, Kauai’s other main attraction. The Na Pali Coast is a rugged coastline that is quite inaccessible.
But the Kalalau Trail provides the only land access to this part of the Na Pali Coast. There is no cost to hike here. You can hike from Ke’e Beach to Hanakapi’ai, which is two miles each way. This is the most popular route for many people because it gives you excellent views of the coast and leads you to a beautiful beach. Please remember that swimming or wading at Hanakapi’ai Beach is extremely dangerous, so do not enter the water.
More experienced hikers might want to hike from Ke’e Beach to Hanakapi’ai Beach, and then continue to Hanakapi’ai Falls. The trail from the beach to the waterfall is two miles each way and is not maintained. This is an 8-mile round trip hike.
Those who want to hike the full 11-mile trail Kalalau Beach (one way) need a permit and camping gear. Note that this trail is very dangerous and should only be attempted b the most experienced hikers. Click here for more information about these hiking trails.
It is free to enter Wailua River State Park, and there are many things to do and see here.
There are two beautiful waterfalls to check out, ‘Opaeka‘a Falls, and Wailua Falls. You can also visit the Wailua Complex of Heiau, a National Historic Landmark. This is a sacred place with remains from several important places: places of worship (heiau), places of refuge (puʻuhonua), and royal sites.
Wailua River Stae Park is ADA Accessible, has a concession stand, picnic tables, a restroom, and water fountains. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy this free park!
Living up to its name, Spouting Horn is a blowhole located near Poipu. It is one of Kauai’s most photographed spots. Spouting Horn was created by a lava tube. When the lava tube gets flooded, spouts of water come up through the tubes, creating the blowhole.
Spouting Horn makes noise as the waves come in and out. Legend has it a giant lizard named Kaikapu once guarded the area. He would eat anyone who came into his territory. One day, a young boy decided to outwit the lizard by shoving a sharp stick into its mouth. The boy then escaped through a lava tube. Kaikapu got stuck in the lava tube trying to find the boy. The sound that the blowhole makes is said to be the roar of the lizard.
Although the amount of water you will see depends on the weather conditions, this is a great little spot to check out. There is also a market that sells Hawaiian gifts.
Koloa Heritage Trail is probably one of the most underrated places in Kauai. The Koloa Heritage Trail is a self-guided 10-mile trail. There is a series of 14 stops spanning 5 million years of history. At each stop, there is educational information. You can walk or bike, and many sites are also accessible by car. If you would like to receive a Koloa Heritage Trail guide, click [related href="www.poipubeach.org/contact-us/"]here.
Stops on the trail include Spouting Horn Park, Prince Kuhio Birthplace & Park, Hanaka’ape Bay and Koloa Landing, Pa’u A Laka (gardens), Kihahouna Heiau (the remains of a temple), Poipu Beach Park, Keoneloa Bay, Makaweh and Pa’a Dunes, Pu’uwanawana Volcanic Cone, Hapa Road (which served as a supply and emergency evacuation route during World War II), Koloa Jodo Mission (a Buddhist temple), Sugar Monument, Yamamoto Store & Koloa Hotel, and Koloa Missionary Church.
There is so much history to see and learn about here, and it’s all free for everyone to access!
Poipu Shopping Village offers free entertainment, including Hula performances alongside live Hawaiian music. Entertainment is always free and takes place in the central courtyard. It takes place every Monday and Thursday at 5:00 pm. Click here for more information.
Poipu Shopping Village is also a great place to shop and eat. While in Poipu, don’t forget to check out Spouting Horn and drive to Kauai Coffee Company.
Kauai’s Hindu Monastery is located in Kapaa. The Monastery grounds is home to waterfalls, rainbows, jungles, and gardens.
The Monastery welcomes visitors, but please visit their website for rules and to learn what is off-limits to visitors. For example, guests are asked to either wear traditional Hindu clothing or modest clothing.
The front area of the monastery is open from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm. Visitors are welcome to take a self-guided tour, for which maps are available. Guided tours are also offered. Contact them to set it up.
All are welcome to meditate under the banyan tree, explore the information panels, and browse through the publications in the Mini-Mela visitor center. Always plan to come in the morning.
I truly believe that some of the best things in life are free, and that your trip to Hawaii can be affordable. If you want more help planning your Hawaiian vacation on a budget, call our travel agents today. We work with people with a variety of budgets and interests, and we would be happy to help you make your dreams of a vacation in paradise a reality.