why kauai is the best island

Known as the Garden Isle for its lush forests and colorful flowers, Kauai is the oldest island in Hawaii. It’s also the best island to visit in our opinion. The views are serene and breathtaking, the beaches are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and surfing, and wildlife is abundant. The island is quiet, the locals are friendly, and the food is delicious. Want to learn more about why Kauai is the best place to visit? See our round-up of our favorite reasons to visit Kauai below:

The Views

Across Kauai, you’ll find tall mountain ranges, jagged cliffs, and lush forests. You can explore breathtaking waterfalls and spend an afternoon on the beach. Some of the most beautiful views can be found in Kauai.


Kauai is one of the wettest locations on Earth and is home to some stunning waterfalls. Wailua Falls is a favored destination among travelers. And it’s no wonder with a height of over 170 feet and dramatic cascading water surrounded by lush forest.

In Waimea Canyon, you can also see an 800-foot waterfall, known as Waipoo Falls.

Being one of the wettest places on the planet, Kauai also gets a ton of rain, so there are plenty of rainbows to see.


Some of the best snorkeling and swimming spots in the world can be found in Kauai. Hanalei Bay is a favorite among locals and travelers, with two miles of shoreline, dramatic waves, and views of the coral reef.

The Na Pali Coast

The Na Pali Coast is one of the most iconic locations on Kauai and stretches approximately 16 miles across the northwest side of Kauai. These massive cliffs stretch 3,000 feet into the air, starting at Ke’e Beach and lining the ocean to the western shores of Polihale State Park. Across the Na Pali Coast, you’ll find breathtaking valleys and cliffs, sea caves, and waterfalls.

You can take a catamaran cruise off the Na Pali Coast and go snorkeling, enjoy a delicious dinner cruise, and see beautiful views. You can also explore the sea caves by a raft tour. Most of the sea caves are old lava tubes, so it’s like exploring the inside of a volcano.

There are also opportunities to hike and camp on the Na Pali Coast, though some areas require permits.

The Undisturbed Landscapes

97% of Kauai is covered in forest and mountains. Some of the areas in the forests are untouched by people and hard to reach. While you shouldn’t adventure into these areas, the fact that some areas in Kauai are untouched by people is a testament to the natural, undisturbed beauty of the island.

The Wildlife

Hawaii is rich in wildlife, but the quiet, serene Garden Isle is where many animals call home. Across Kauai, you’ll find colorful birds roosting in the forests, especially rare and endangered species of birds.

The island of Kauai is also home to some incredible marine life. Spinner and bottlenose dolphins are abundant. During certain times of the year, the endangered monk seal can be seen on the shores.

Visitors love seeing the beautiful tropical fish in the clear, blue water, including the official Hawaiian state fish, named the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a (now that’s a mouthful!). There are also several species of Butterflyfish, including the Pennant Butterflyfish, Raccoon Butterflyfish, the Longnose Butterflyfish, the Milletseed Butterflyfish, and the Four Spot Butterflyfish. You may also spot the Bluestripe Snapper, Yellow Tang, Achilles Tang, Parrotfish, and the mysterious Black Triggerfish. Our calm waters offer the perfect environment to see them and even snorkel next to the fish and sea turtles.

You can even take a catamaran cruise to go whale watching from December through March. Cruises are family-friendly and a great way to see these magnificent creatures up close.

The People

Kauai isn’t bustling with people like the other islands. The cities around the island have a small-town vibe that’s welcoming and friendly.

Plus, since there are so few people, it’s very social-distance friendly and long-lines aren’t common.

Inexpensive Shopping

Kauai doesn’t have the fancy shopping centers like other islands and instead offers inexpensive shops in Hanalei. Most of the shops have a laid back vibe with bohemian, island goods with great quality. Many shops offer handmade items that are unique to Kauai.

Explore with Kauai Sea Tours

Kauai Sea Tours has been providing award-winning tours since 1991, with a history of ten consecutive TripAdvisor Travelers Choice Awards. With a team that’s passionate about creating incredible adventures in paradise, we’re excited to explore Kauai with you.