Advance Planning

Three months before Decide which region’s attractions and climate match your interests. Search for internet deals on flights, cars, accommodations.

One month before Secure reservations for popular activities, such as sailing or snorkeling cruises, helicopter tours, or a luau.

One week before Make fine-dining reservations, check the weather and surf report, start a seven-day countdown on your Facebook status.


Lonely Planet ( Destination information, hotel bookings, traveler forum and more.

Kauai Surfrider ( Insights on the state of Kauaʻi's waters and the chance to volunteer with local riders to clean up beaches.

The Garden Island ( Pick up a copy or read online for details on events and local politics.

Kauai Explorer ( Great site for ocean reports, trail information and beach tips.

County of Kauaʻi ( Explore the progress of the HoloHolo 2020 initiative. A blend of sustainability, transportation, social and infrastructure programs.

Top Tips

  • Balance your visit. Yes, everyone loves Hanalei, but don't be so North Shore obsessed you forget to explore east, south and west. We suggest lodging for a few days on the North and South Shores for optimal exploration.
  • Seek out serenity. Forego the obvious beaches and trails and favor adventure over easy access for maximum stoke factor.
  • Eat Eastside. There's good food everywhere, but the new kitchens on the Eastside make it the best place to graze on the island.
  • Early to rise early to bed. Kauaʻi is a daylight destination. Wake early, adventure all day, sleep when the moon's up. There's not much nightlife here anyway.
  • Get into the local rhythms by driving slowly, speaking softly and showing respect. In Kauaʻii, you don't have to demand the best table or the fastest service. Go soft and easy.

What to Take

  • Your driver’s license to rent a car and to prove you are of age
  • Hiking shoes – highly recommended if hiking to Kalalau or in Kokeʻe State Park
  • UV-protection sunglasses for ocean glare and highway driving
  • Sunscreen and hat – this is the tropics so protect yourself

What to Wear

On Kauaʻi its possible for guys to spend the entire trip in board shorts, slippers (flip-flops or thongs) and a T-shirt, or for women to wear sandals and a sundress ideal for cloaking the bikini beneath. And though 90% of your holiday will likely be spent that way, it makes sense to bring hiking gear, including trail shoes, and at least one nice outfit to wear to dinner. There are precious few places with dress codes on the island, but evening wear and closed-toe shoes may come in handy. The Kauaʻi Hindu Monastery is the one place on island that asks for shoulders and knees to be covered to tour the temple grounds.

Pre-Departure Checklist

  • Make sure your driver's license is valid, so you can rent a car
  • Check the airline baggage restrictions if you're bringing beach and ocean gear
  • Inform your debit-/credit-card company you’re heading away
  • Arrange for appropriate travel insurance
  • Make fine-dining reservations a week out
  • Set alerts for weather updates and the surf report