1. Go Ziplining
We booked the “Zip and Dip” tour through Princeville Ranch and we did not regret it! Princeville Ranch is a 2500 acre cattle ranch on Kauai. They have several different tour options that inlcude ziplining, kayaking, hiking, swimming and four-wheeling. We were all about the ziplining since neither my husband or parents had ever been! It was such a cool excursion because it included 9 different ziplines, totaling about 1 mile of total ziplining. The grand finale of zip lines, the “King Kong,” was 1200 feet long! All of the ziplines were really cool because they went over lush green landscape and streams. It was stunning to see as you’re flying through the air. It was also nice, because the ziplines started off small, and got bigger as you went along, allowing you to learn the technique and get comfortable with it before doing the bigger ones.
The staff was also incredible! They were so knowledgeable, we felt very safe and they were a ton of fun. We even got a lot of great recommendations about other things to do and places to eat on the island while we were hanging out and talking with them. We had an extra little adventure in the middle of our day when we stopped for a picnic lunch and got to swim in a swimming pool and jump off of a little cliff near a waterfall.
2. Hike through the jungle
You haven’t really hiked until you’re crawling through tree branches and using them as monkey bars to make your way down the slippery muddy path. Well, at least I hadn’t. Our hiking in Arizona is usually quite dry, so this was different but SO COOL! A local we met suggested the Hoopi’i trail for a hike that led you to a waterfall/swimming hole. It’s a hidden little entrance in a residential area, so it was a bit of a secret and it wasn’t overcrowded with people. There’s a sign on a post on the left side of the road that says “Quiet Please” and the entrance to the trail is just to the left of it.
The trail is mostly shaded by the plants so it’s a lovely, cool hike. I’d recommend going in the morning like we did since it was cooler than in the afternoon when we were hiking out. It was definitely muddy and slippery, so be wary if it’s recently rained a lot. At the entrance there is a big pile of walking sticks (or there’s a whole jungle you could probably find one). I would recommend one if it’s been raining or seems muddy for the steep parts.
It’s about a mile to the first waterfall, and another mile to the second. (Although it didn’t feel quite that long when we hiked it). It’s pretty amazing to crawl through the tree branches! There’s a couple of parts that you feel like a chimpanzee, and some of the trees have branches/roots that feel just like rope. Don’t mind if I hold on to not fall in the mud!
3. Cliff jump into a waterfall
The first waterfall you get to on the Hopi’i trail is AMAZING! The hike takes you right to the top of it, but it’s deep enough to jump in! There was a local guy there doing backflips off of it and he showed us the best places to jump and where to climb up at. I jumped in 4 or 5 times, and we even got my parents to do it. It’s a beautiful little swimming spot at the base of the waterfall that flows down the river. If you swim down a little ways, there’s a good rock wall to climb back up to jump again!
**Any time you jump from cliffs, always check it out below first to make sure there’s nothing dangerous in the water.
4. Repel down a cliff to get to Hideaway beach
Our first day in Kauai, we asked a girl at a snorkle shop what beaches nearby would be good to snorkle at today. She suggested Hideaway beach, so onward we went. Hideaway beach is in the northern part of the island near the St. Regis hotel. She had told us that parking would be scarce, but we weren’t expecting the parking lot to only have 8 spots! It was completely full and no parking for a few miles. We met some people later in the week that said they tried to go but couldn’t find parking. I’ll tell you a little secret… The St. Regis hotel has free valet parking, and you don’t have to be a guest to use it! You just tip them when you pick up the car, and you get a spot right by the beach entrance.
Here’s something we also didn’t realize: in order to get down to the beach you have to repel down the side of a hill, in the mud, holding on to ropes. I wish we had known that before we headed on down in a sun dress and flip flops, carrying our beach bags, umbrellas, beach chairs and all of our snorkle gear! We somehow made it up and down okay. Only one beach chair went cartwheeling down the hill, but it was rescued by a kind stranger. Boy was it worth it!
Hideaway beach is quite possibly the most beautiful beach I’ve ever been to! So blue and peaceful. There was some awesome snorkling there too. I would definitely go back, but with proper footwear, and maybe not so much stuff to carry!
Okay, you may not be thinking this is adventurous, but I saw a couple of eels while snorkling in Kauai, and, man, those things are creepy! So we’ll call it adventurous. The great thing about Kauai is that there’s a lot of good snorkling right off of the beach, so you don’t necessarily have to take a boat tour or excursion to see some great marine life. I would recommend asking a local where good spots are to snorkle at the time you’re visiting. It really depends on the time of year, because in the summer time the north shore rough and the south has calmer waters, and in the winter time it’s opposite. We visited in November and here’s my favorite spots to snorkle:-Anini beach-on the north shore, beach park with bathrooms, large reef that breaks the waves far beyond the beach leaving plently of calm water to snorkle-Hideaway Beach-Poipu beach-on the south shore, we even saw two sea turtles sunning themselves on the beach.
Other cool things to do on Kauai:
Visit the Kauai Coffee Plantation
Take a shelter dog on a field trip with the Kauai Humane Society
On my adventure list for next time: Hiking down to the bottom of Wailea Falls, 12 mile backpacking hike on the Napili Coast, Tubing in the old sugarcane plantation.
What other fun, adventurous things have you done or heard of in Kauai? I’m keeping notes because I definitely want to go back one day.