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How to Have the Perfect Day in Kauai, the Jurassic Park of Hawaii

by Matador Creators Jul 6, 2023

While there are several Hawaiian islands to choose from on your next trip, Kauai is known for its stunning landscapes, lush greenery, and plenty of outdoor activities. Spending a day in Kauai is an excellent opportunity to explore the island’s natural beauty and soak up Hawaiian culture. But there’s so much to do — where do you even start? Here’s how to spend the perfect day in Kauai.

Traveling to Hawaii? Check out Matador’s guides to the best places to stay on each island:

Start your day early and head to Hanalei Bay for a sunrise paddle boarding or kayaking session. From the water, you’ll get stunning views the bay’s mountains and pristine beaches. Then, take a scenic drive on the famous Kuhio Highway, and head to the north shore of the island to visit the Kilauea Lighthouse. The lighthouse sits on a volcanic rocky cliff, with views of the ocean and wildlife. You can also explore the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, where you’ll find many species of native Hawaiian birds.

Take a break from exploring and head to Anahola, in the northeast of the island, for lunch. Stop by the popular Kalalea Juice Hale for a refreshing organic juice or smoothie bowl, before enjoying some food on their beachside seating area.

After lunch, head to the Waimea Canyon State Park, often referred to as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. The canyon features stunning red and orange rock formations, a vast landscape of greenery, and cascading waterfalls. Take a drive and enjoy the scenery, or hike Kaumuali’I Trail, which offers stunning coastal views. You can also check out Poipu Beach for a relaxing beach day before sunset, swim in the turquoise ocean, or explore the nearby tide pools. You might even spot some of the famous Hawaiian sea turtles or monk seals.

End your day with a delicious dinner at Red Salt, a popular local restaurant in Poipu. The restaurant offers a mix of Hawaiian and Pacific Rim cuisine, accompanied by an extensive wine list. Enjoy the delicious food on their outdoor patio or indoor seating while taking in the fresh ocean breeze.

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