Leisurely Kauai Vacations
People often think of Oahu and Waikiki when they think of Hawaiian vacations. You won't find the equivalent of Honolulu's bustling nightlife or Waikiki's many tourist attractions on Kauai. A vacation of Kauai is slower and more relaxed than on Oahu or Maui.
Kauai is for lovers of nature. Ask a local for a Kauai activity and chances are taking advantage of the Garden Island's natural beauty will factor into the answer. Whether you're donning snorkel gear, relaxing on Kauai beaches, surfing, or taking a whale watching cruise, nature dominates vacation on Kauai.
The less touristy feel of Kauai attracts certain types of tourists. A common local joke claims that island visitors are mostly composed of"the newly weds and the nearly deads" (honeymooners and retired couples). Certainly the Garden Island's romantic settings and relaxed atmosphere attract both categories, but there's plenty to do on island for the adventure seeker and family vacationers.
Thrill Seekers on Kauai
Kauai has its share of thrilling activities. On the water you cankite-surf, windsurf, boogie board and, of course, surf. There's deep water fishing for the sportsperson and some of the best scuba diving in the state.
Back on shore, thrill seekers can ride ATV's into the back country or zipline through the treetops. Hiking Kauai is always a thrill, with paths such as the Kalalau trail, one of the most strenuous and challenging hikes in Hawaii.
If you're more into airborne adventure, there's little to match the thrill of skydiving over Kauai. Ultralight planes fly out of the Port Allen airport on a daily basis, and the Lihue airport is the base for several helicopter tours.
Family Fun on the Garden Island
Many families choose Oahu or Maui for their Hawaiian vacations because there are so many kid-friendly activities to choose from on those islands. Kauai may not have Maui's Oceanarium or Oahu's Polynesian Cultural Center, but there's still plenty to keep an active family occupied.
The snorkeling on the Garden Island is second to none, and many of the local beaches are watched over by lifeguards. Lydgate Park, on the east side of the island, offers an enclosed swimming area where first-time snorkelers can safely view Kauai's colorful underwater life. Lydgate also offers an extensive playground designed by local children.
Horseback rides are available from several stables on the island, or you can rent kayaks and paddle up tropical rivers to picnic by one of Kauai's many waterfalls. Should it rain, the Children's Discovery Museum, housed in Lihue's Kauai Museum, offers a variety of interactive exhibits and play opportunities for young vacationers.
Whale Watching Cruises
During the "winter" months (approximately November to March) hump backwhales congregate in the waters around Kauai to calve and mate. Whale watching cruises are a popular Kauai activity at this time, especially cruises up the north shore of the island, along the breathtaking faces of the na Pali (Hawaiian for "the cliffs").
Many whale watching cruises also include snorkeling and scuba diving stops as part of the cruise. If the weather is good and the sea calm,special whale watching cruises travel out to Niihau, Hawaii's forbidden island.
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