Whatever calls to you, follow in the footsteps of the island’s residents to discover the true magic of life in Kauai.
Kauai is a small volcanic island with an abundance of natural wonders. Hike the lush rainforests and pristine beaches. Gaze in wonder at the beauty of falling water, or snorkel serenely past fish, coral and other marine life. Learn to surf the island’s iconic waves from local instructors who embody Kauai’s spirit. Whatever calls to you, follow in the footsteps of the island’s residents to discover the true magic of life in Kauai – you may even find yourself longing to join them, with an oceanfront island home at a spot like Timbers Kaua’i. There are direct flights from Seattle to Kauai, making this an easy-to-reach destination.
Take a hike
Hiking on Kauai gives you an opportunity to explore areas that are inaccessible by car and allows you to experience the tranquility of the natural environment. Kauai’s hiking trails are an important part of Hawaiian culture and history. Discover historic and archaeological sites along many trails.
Here are just a few hikes to get you started.
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The hike to Hanakapiai Trail is one of the most beautiful in Hawaii. The Hanakapiai Trail climbs steadily for the first mile to an elevation of 400 feet. At the first half-mile vista, you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of the Napali coastline and a view of Kee beach and the coral reef that creates its lagoon.
Mahaulepu Coastal Trail is a Kauai History Heritage site and the last stretch of accessible coastline on the south shore that has not been developed. This is a sacred sanctuary that needs to be preserved. Tread lightly and leave only footprints behind.
Kalalau Trail is one of the most challenging hikes on Kauai. This 11-mile stretch of coast is the original trail used by the Hawaiians who lived the valleys along the Napali, and provides the only land access to the Napali Coast on Kauai.
Spot a waterfall
The journey to Uluwehi Falls is an adventure, and most opt to take a guided tour, as you’ll need to kayak and then hike to reach the falls. Uluwehi Falls is referred to as “Secret Falls” by locals. Have no fear, Uluwehi is a safe spot despite its nickname, and both the kayaking and the hike are under 2 hours.
Looking for that perfect Kauai Instagram picture? Then look no further than Wailua Falls, a 15-minute drive from Timbers Kaua’i. Wailua Falls doesn’t require a hike, simply park in the adjacent lot and stroll over to experience a Hawaiian wonder.
Opaekaa Falls is just a bit further north than Wailua, and offers sweeping views of the Wailua River Basin. The falls were named Opaekaa because of the “rolling shrimp” that would careen down the falls. (Opaekaa means “rolling shrimp” in Hawaiian.)
If you’re after for a bit more seclusion and exercise, make the trip to Ho’opi Falls. On the hike, you may spot Kauai’s celebrated wildlife – lizards, tropical birds, frogs, fish, perhaps even a wild boar. The trail is difficult and unmarked, but it’s still only about a 2-hour hike.
Seeing Manawaipuna Falls requires a helicopter trip, but the aerial views on the way would be worth it even if you didn’t get to see one of the most famous waterfalls in the world. You’ll recognize Manawaipuna Falls from the classic Stephen Spielberg film “Jurassic Park.”
Learn to SUP, surf and snorkel
Since 1983, the Kauai Beach Boys have been teaching surf lessons, and have expanded to stand-up paddleboard (SUP) lessons, canoe rides, snorkel and kayak rentals, and anything else you could hope to do on the ocean.
When you take a lesson with the Kauai Beach Boys, you learn more than how to paddle or surf, you learn about the true spirit of aloha.
“We were looking for watermen that embodied passion and deep knowledge for the ocean, and Kauai Beach Boys stood out from the rest,” says Eric Cucchi, Timbers Kauai Director of Operations, who searched island-wide before partnering with the Kauai Beach Boys.
In the warm, shallow waters off Kauai, colorful fish, green sea turtles and dolphins swim in and out of the reefs, creating an up-close encounter your family will never forget.
However, not every beach offers good snorkeling – both in terms of reefs and sea life, as well as safe waters. It helps to know where to go.
Located north of Lihue on the eastern shore of Kauai, Lydgate Beach Park is a great starting point for novice snorkelers. Here, two man-made, rock-enclosed pools give swimmers the chance to get used to breathing through a snorkel. Head here in the early morning hours when it is calmest and clearest. Season: Year-round
Located on the South Shore of Kauai, Poipu Beach Park is about as kid-friendly as they come. Here, a tombolo (a wedge-shaped sandbar sticking perpendicular into the sea) creates a natural, shallow lagoon. Recent storms have made the tombolo weaker, so currents are increasing within the lagoon, but the beach still remains a safe bet for families. Snorkeling is best on the western side of the tombolo. This beach is popular, so come early in the morning if you can. Season: Year-round
Also on the South Shore, you’ll find the tranquil waters of Salt Pond Beach. Formed by an unusual underwater ridge of volcanic rock, the “pond” is backed by a gorgeous crescent of sand. The reef harbors numerous species of reef fish, and in summer, the mellow conditions make it ideal for exploring. The beach is also used for salt panning by Hawaiians, who in summer harvest a pinkish-colored sea salt from the shallows. Season: Summer
Fronted by the longest reef in the Hawaiian Islands, Anini Beach on the North Shore of Kauai is an absolute treasure. In summer – and even mellower days in winter – the waters within the reef resemble a placid lake. What this beach lacks in fish density it more than makes up for with sea turtles, who love to feed on the seagrass in the shallows just offshore. Season: Year-round
Often rated as Kauai’s best snorkeling beach, Tunnels Beach offers a transcendent experience with ocean life. Here, an M-shaped reef lies a few hundred feet offshore, and a series of underwater lava tubes create a unique habitat for an abundance of aquatic life. Tunnels is fairly exposed and can have unpredictable currents, making it suitable only in summer and for families with strong swimmers. Asking locals for insight on currents – which shift regularly – is a good idea. Season: Summer
Since 1999, Timbers Resorts has established a portfolio of properties in more than 15 of the world’s most sought-after destinations, including ski, golf, leisure and beach locations. Contact Timbers Kaua’i for more information about ownership and special events.