Time moves a little slower in Kaua’i. This land of swaying palm trees, golden beaches, and secluded valleys is as serene as it is beautiful, making it the perfect place to kick up your feet and relax. However, if the natural beauty of this pristine paradise is calling to you, there are plenty of ways to stay fit and active during your vacation in heaven. So whether it is just to get the blood flowing, to burn off that second trip to the buffet, or to make room for the evening’s cocktails to come, check out these top five Kauai, Hawaii activities to help you stay fit during your vacation!
Hike the Kalalau Trail
One of the most picturesque, most rugged, and most intense hikes on Earth, the Kalalau Trail is an 11-mile serpentine cliff hike that winds along the famous Na Pali Coast in North Kaua’i. Not for the faint of heart, the trail ascends and descends a series of razor sharp ridges across the mouths of no less than seven deep and mysterious valleys. You can easily hike (or trail run, if it is dry and you have the endurance) the first two miles to a stream and small beach, but any further progress requires a permit (and usually involves overnight camping at the far end where the trail ends at one of the world’s best hidden beaches). Whether you hike or run, the views are not the only thing that will take your breath away.
For an easier path, check out the Kapaa Bike Path. Hugging the scenic shoreline for 20 miles from Niumalu to Anahola, this is an ideal spot for biking, walking, and jogging thanks to its flat grade and beautiful views. Most sections are paved but a few connectors are still undergoing development. All in all, no matter which segment you choose, you will be greeted with cooling ocean breezes and beautiful scenery. Another beautiful alternative is the 2-mile Maha`ulepu Trail in South Kaua’i. This unpaved trail lacks shade but affords stunning views of aquamarine water, craggy coves, and jagged lava pillars.
Nothing gets the heart pumping like an ocean swim. While many of Kaua’i’s beaches are not ideal for swimming due to rough ocean conditions, you will find protected waters at both Anini Beach and Hanalei Bay. Anini boasts nearly two miles of sheltered water in the lagoon inside Hawai’i’s longest coral reef, making it ideal for swimming. Hanalei Bay is similarly protected and offers incredible views of the mountains and the iconic pier.
As Hawai’i’s only navigable river, the Wailua River is a perfect spot to explore by kayak or stand-up paddleboard. The wide and calm waters are inviting for all skill levels, and the canopy of trees along the banks provide shade and endless coves and tributaries to explore. Numerous rental shops are located near the river mouth and guided tours are available.
A half-day drive from Princeville (thanks to all the sights along the way), Waimea Canyon is a sight to behold. Stretching for 12 miles, this 3,000-foot deep gash in the heart of the mountains is lined with vibrant reds, yellows, and browns, showcasing the geology of the island in a way nowhere else can. A series of well-maintained trails allows fitness enthusiasts to easily hike and explore the crater rim and its lookouts as well as descending into the unique landscape of the canyon floor.