Hawaii is such an amazing place to visit, and so many people who take their first trip to the Aloha State end up going back time and time again after falling in love with the friendly locals, the stunning landscapes, the sunny weather, the soft beaches, the warm waters, and all of the other amazing aspects of island life they encounter along the way.
On an initial trip to Hawaii, many people choose just one of the islands, usually Oahu or Maui, and stay there for the whole of their trip. This is a perfectly fine way to enjoy Hawaii, but if you really want to make the most of your stay, it’s a good idea to plan out a little island hopping and do some day trips to other parts of the state.
The best place to start your island hopping around Hawaii is on Oahu. The most popular and populous island of Hawaii, Oahu is best equipped with transportation services to the other islands, so it’s really easy to get from a big city location like Honolulu to many other areas around Hawaii. Here’s how to plan out a perfect day trip to Kauai from Oahu.
All About Kauai
The fourth biggest Hawaiian island and the 21st biggest island in the whole of the United States, Kauai is actually the oldest of all the main Hawaiian islands, geologically-speaking. It's known as the 'Garden Isle' and is home to some extraordinary scenery and landscapes, best exemplified by Waimea Canyon State Park and the Na Pali Coast State Wilderness.
Kauai is such a pristine and scenic spot that it's been used as a filming location for many major Hollywood pictures like Raiders of the Last Ark and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. It’s a great place for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, being the perfect Hawaiian island to visit if you love hiking and wildlife watching.
Getting to Kauai from Oahu
Many visitors to Hawaii are surprised to see just how easy it is to get from one island to another. Whether you want to travel by air or by sea, there are usually a lot of different options available, including big commercial flights, private speedboat transfers, air taxis, ferries, and more. In the case of getting from Oahu to Kauai for a day trip, however, you only have one option: flying.
Fortunately, flying from Oahu to Kauai for a day trip is very simple and straightforward, and you can get a good deal on your flight tickets if you book in advance and use price comparisons. You'll be flying out of Honolulu International Airport direct to Lihue Airport on Kauai.
The airport in Honolulu, also known as Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, is the biggest and best airport in the whole of the Aloha State, so it's very easy to get to and flights are very reliable and often on time from this airport. The flight from this airport over to Lihue Airport on Kauai will take less than half an hour on average, so it’s a speedy crossing and will give you a full day to explore the island.
Important Information and Things to Do on Kauai
- Getting Around Kauai - If you're heading to Kauai for a day trip, you'll be landing at Lihue Airport, which is over an hour away from Waimea Canyon and some other top touristic hotspots like Kalalau Lookout and Princeville, so you'll most likely want to rent a car to get around. You can also choose to rely on shuttles and tour buses, or taxis to help you navigate the island, but the versatility of having a car is a big bonus for a Kauai day trip.
- Best Time to Visit Kauai - Kauai is a beautiful island all through the year, so there's never a bad time to visit. Temperatures tend to stay steadily between 70 and 80 throughout the year. If you'd like to do some whale watching on Kauai, visit between January and March. If you'd like to enjoy the warmest weather and best sunshine, visit in the summer months.
- Things to Do - Many visitors to Kauai will immediately head for Waimea Canyon in order to hike along the Sleeping Giant mountain ridge. The views here are simply spectacular and the hikes are arguably the best you can find in all of Hawaii. You can take tours around the Na Pali Coast too, or head down to a beach like Hanalei Bay or Haena Beach Park to relax on the soft sands or dip your feet in the warm waters. You can also do bird watching at areas like Kilauea National Wildlife Refuge or whale watching in the winter and spring.