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10 free things to do on Kauai
When you think of “things to do on Kauai,” the word “free” isn’t usually attached to them. While you won’t want to miss a Kauai helicopter tour or sunset dinner sail along the Na Pali coast, there are also plenty of free things to do on Kauai.
10 free things to do on Kauai is the second installment of my “free things to do in Hawaii” series. If you want to check out the rest of the series, check out 15 free things to do on Maui, 15 free things to do on the Big Island, and 10 free things to do on Oahu.
1. Take a tour of Kauai Coffee Company
If you know anything about me, you know that I love coffee! I particularly love Hawaii coffee, and the Kauai Coffee Company is one of my favorites. The Kauai Coffee Company offers free tastings and free walking tours. If you’re visiting with children, they might enjoy the scavenger hunt that takes place every Wednesday. It’s also free!
2. Check out Waimea Canyon
I have more hikes listed below, but I had to share Waimea Canyon on this list of the best free things to do on Kauai. Even if you aren’t a hiker, you have to check out Waimea Canyon. Known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” Waimea Canyon is 10 miles long and 3600 feet deep.
There are two lookout points and many hikes in Waimea Canyon. If you can, I also recommend doing a helicopter tour in Kauai and seeing Waimea Canyon from the air!
3. Walk or bike the Ke Ala Hele Makalae Bike Path
The Ke Ala Helen Makalae (“the path that goes by the coast”) bike path is a must-see in Kapa’a. Whether you walk or bike this path, you’ll love checking out the views. We even saw a whale on our last trip to Kauai! It’s completely free to walk to the path, and some resorts like The ISO Kauai have free bikes that you can use if you are a resort guest.
4. Tour Kauai’s Hindu Monastery
Located in Kapa’a, Kauai’s Hindy Monastery welcomes visitors. Visitors are welcome to take self-guided tours, but guided tours are also available. Make sure to check out the guide for visiting the monastery for the dress code and other guidelines.
5. Take a shelter dog on a field trip*
Okay, so this isn’t one of the free things to do in Kauai, but it’s very inexpensive, and the money goes to a good cause! For a $20* (subject to change) donation, you can visit the Kauai Humane Society and take a shelter dog on a field trip. The Shelter Dogs on Field Trips program is one of my favorite things to do on Kauai.
I am hiking with our shelter dog, Ellen.
If you are a dog lover or missing your dog back home, this is a great way to spend some time with a shelter dog. It’s a great program because the shelter dogs get to get out and practice their manners. They also wear harnesses letting other visitors know that they are available for adoption.
We took our shelter dog for a hike at Wailua Arboretum, but Kalapaki Beach, Sleeping Giant, Koke’e State Park and many other places are great options for your dog. Ask the Kauai Humane Society or suggestion if you aren’t sure where to go. You should also check out Wailua Shave Ice to get a special treat for your shelter dog.
6. Walk or bike the Koloa Heritage Trail
The Koloa Heritage Trail is a 10-mile self-guided trail that you can walk or bike. Most of the stops are also accessible by car if you don’t feel like walking or biking. Stops include Spouting Horn, Koloa Landing, Poipu Beach Park, Koloa Joda Mission (A Buddhist Temple), Koloa Missionary Church, and more.
7. Take a sunrise hike up Sleeping Giant
One of the best sunrise hikes in Kauai is Sleeping Giant. Sleeping Giant is an excellent hike for a family, with only a couple of areas
Sleeping Giant (or officially Nounou East Trail) at sunrise.
8. Check out Wailua Falls
Kauai is full of beautiful waterfalls, many of which are not accessible by car. Fortunately, there are several that are easy to access, including Wailua Falls. You can drive right up to the falls and take photos on the overlook.
9. Hike one of Kauai’s amazing trails
When you think of the best free things to do in Kauai, hiking might come to mind. I’ve already mentioned Waimea Canyon and my favorite sunrise hike, but Kauai hikes deserve a spot on this list of their own. You can check out my 10 best hikes in Kauai post for more of my favorite hikes.
I’ve seen some online misinformation listing the Kalalau Trail as one of the free things to do in Kauai. This information is outdated, and you will need either a permit or advanced reservations to access any part of the Kalalau Trail. Check out Go Ha’ena for more details.
10. Visit some of Kauai’s beaches
Beaches on Kauai are free and accessible to the public, even the resort beaches. There great beaches for spotting sea turtles or Hawaiian monk seals, beaches for snorkeling, beaches for sunbathing, and more. Some of my favorite beaches on Kauai are:
- Polihale State Park
- Hanalei Bay
- Glass Beach in Lihue
- Tunnels Beach
- Poipu Beach
Beautiful (and secluded) Polihale State Park.
The best free things to do on Kauai
There are ten free things to do on Kauai, but there are plenty of others. If you have anything else to share, make sure to contact me or share your favorite free things to do in Kauai in the comments below. If you’re planning a Kauai vacation, check out some of my other Kauai blog posts:
- 10 best adventure activities on Kauai
- 7-day Kauai Itinerary
- Grand Hyatt Kauai Review and Tour
- 25 things to do on Kauai
- The 7 best resorts on Kauai
- 10 best things to do on Kauai
- Kauai helicopter tour, is it worth it?
- 100 things to do in Hawaii
- 20 things you should never do in Hawaii
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