Hanalei Valley, Kauai
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What to Pack for your Kauai Trip

Although Kauai is not a large island, its regions are diverse.  Most people will imagine long white sand beaches when they think of Hawaii - and that holds true for the Island of Kauai too.  However, the mountain ridges and dense jungles may not be what some think of.  A lot of the attractions on Kauai are spread out and only a few beaches have large public parking areas.  Make sure you pack comfortable walking shoes - even if you simply plan on going to the beach.  If you don't start very early in the morning, popular beaches such as Ke'e and Tunnels will run out of parking spots and you will be forced to park some distance away and walk (while carrying all of your beach-going gear).

Make sure you bring a beach bag or large back pack to load all of your gear as you travel to the area beaches.  If you plan on snorkeling, bring your gear.  If you can't fit it in your bag or don't own any, don't worry - you can rent snorkeling gear for a very reasonable price from many island rental locations.  A mesh bag is especially useful on Kauai as you can shove all of your beach gear (even when wet) into it without worry.


Deep into the Waimea Canyon

Downtown Lihue, Kauai

If you plan on doing any hiking, we recommend hiking shoes or boots.  Make sure that you break-in your boots prior to your trip to Kauai - there is nothing worse than a long hike with blisters.  We know from experience - we got blisters in the first mile of the Kalalau Trail (with over 10 miles to go...)  The famous red dirt found on Kauai will stain - know that expensive white sneakers may get stained if you hike with them.  A comfortable day pack is also a necessity along with a hydration system.  That may simply be buying a bunch of water bottles and stuffing them in your pack or something more durable such as a Nalgene bottle.  If you are hiking anything with moderate difficulty, count on drinking a gallon of water (4 liters) on a full day of hiking.  If you can, try to bring a Camelbak Unbottle or other type of hydration device that makes for easy hands-free operation while hiking.  There was nothing more shocking than seeing people on the Kauai hiking trails wearing flip flops in the middle of the day carrying no water!

Because the temperatures are mild, even in the summer, visitors often do not realize the power of the sun while in Kauai.  Consequently, many visitors end up overly red and badly sun-burned.  Some even end up in  the Emergency Room at Wilcox Memorial Hospital in Lihue.  Use sun block and wear a hat to minimize the sun.  When snorkeling or riding the waves, or kayaking, your back will be highly exposed to the sun and the best way to prevent a sun burn is to wear a rash guard.  These can be purchased locally at any dive or surf store if you don't have one already.  Enjoy the sun and the fun!

What to Bring

  1. Waterproof Sun Block

  2. More than one swimsuit

  3. Sturdy (close-toed) shoes for hiking

  4. Flip flops or aqua shoes for the beach and shore

  5. Snorkeling gear - mask, snorkel, fins

  6. Underwater camera (disposable or water-proof casing)

  7. Extra batteries for your cameras

  8. Flashlight for hiking or camping (one per person)

  9. Bug Spray (mosquito repellant)

  10. Light rain jacket, especially if you are visiting Waimea Canyon or the Na Pali Coast

  11. Hat or cap to protect you from the sun


Read our other Travel Planning Articles:

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