Here’s a look at the south shores Top 10 FREE Things to do year around, plus 5 more. With nearly perfect weather, the endless blue Pacific Ocean, lush tropical jungle, color reef fish, various ocean activities such as surfing, SUP and kayaking, plus beautiful beaches and majestic cliff walks – there are plenty of free (or almost free) places to experience in Poipu and within the neighboring communities.
1. Poipu Beach Park
Swimming, snorkeling, surfing, sun-bathing & more!
Family fun is abundant at Poipu Beach Park with a playground for the keiki and a protected crescent cove for safe swimming. The white sand beaches go on for miles and Poipu Beach has earned cleanest water accolades for many years. You might even see some of our sea-life ohana like turtles and monk seals, but please let them enjoy the sand too and please do not touch them.
2. Spouting Horn
This natural wonder occurs when water rushes under a lava shelf and bursts through a small opening at the surface. Every wave produces another spray. Spouting Horn frequently spurts salt water 50 feet into the air. The phenomena is especially exciting at sunset when the spray becomes incandescent with the colors of the rainbow. This particular blowhole is different from others found throughout the state as another hole nearby only blows air, making a loud groaning sound.
Legend states that this coast was guarded by a large mo’o (lizard) who ate everyone who tried to fish or swim there. One day, a man named Liko entered the water. When the mo’o went to attack him, he swam under the lava shelf and escaped through the hole. The mo’o became stuck and was never able to get out. The groaning is the cry of hunger and pain from the lizard still trapped under the rocks. Do not venture out on the lava shelf and get close to the blowhole – serious fatalities and injuries have resulted from such acts.
3. Old Koloa Town
Quaint plantation-era town that was the heart of the south shore in 1835 when the state’s first sugar mill launched Hawaii’s lucrative sugar cane industry. Stroll next The Now Old Koloa Town it is now home to local shops, markets, galleries, cafes and food trucks that make exploring history even more fun.
4. Mahaulepu Heritage Trail & Makauwahi Cave
Kauai’s southern coastline, stretching from Keoneloa Bay to Kawailoa Bay, features a fascinating hike along the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail, with a treasure-trove of geological and cultural sites. This website takes you on a virtual tour of the trail and provides information on significant points of interest, along with notable plants and wildlife in the area. Ready to go? http://www.hikemahaulepu.org/
Makauwahi Cave Reserve – At the center of this reserve is the largest limestone cave and the richest fossil site in Hawaii. The reserve is also a uniquely preserved archaeological site and a living museum to the past and to the future. On abandoned farms and quarry lands surrounding the cave, native plants and animals have returned through innovative restoration techniques. Acres of restored forest land, dune vegetation, and wetland habitat feature almost 100 species of native plants, including many endangered species, as well as endangered waterbirds and an underground ecosystem of blind cave invertebrates. Visit http://www.cavereserve.org/ for more information.
5. Kaneiolouma Heiau
Kāhua O Kāneiolouma is a sacred cultural site containing remnants of an ancient Hawaiian village located at the corner of Poipu Road and Hoowili Road in Poipu. The 13 acre site contains archeological evidence of hale, fishponds, taro fields, irrigation systems, shines and a makahiki games arena. The walled Heiau (temple) that once stood here was 130 feet by 90 feet; dedicated to Kane, a major god of Hawaii; Hulukoki, a bird god; and Ku-hai-moana and Ka-moho-alii, two shark gods. Three hala-lihilihi-ula trees situated on the outside of the naupaka hedge mark the heiau perimeter. https://www.kaneiolouma.org/
6. Koloa Heritage Trail
Learn a bit of history and culture along the 10 mile, self-guided Koloa Heritage Trail, a series of 14 monuments located at significant historical, cultural or environmental sites. Sections may be accessed by walking or biking. Most sites may be reached by car. Pick up a descriptive map from your accommodation, or download here.
7. Live Music Performances
Enjoy island-style music from some of Kauai’s most talented performers. Check out the performances at the Grand Hyatt Resort, Sheraton, Poipu Beach Athletic Club, Keoki’s Paradise (everyday 5:30pm – 8:00pm ) and Shops at Kukui`ula (Friday 5:30pm-7:30pm).
8. Kauai Culinary Market
Every Wednesday the Kauai Culinary Market is hosted at The Shops at Kukuiula from 3:30 to 6 pm. Live island music fills the air as you wander the beautifully landscaped plantation-style village while supporting Kauai Farm Bureau farmers, growers and local package food vendors that offer a variety of fresh, locally grown produce, pies, jams, and other food products. Take a seat at the Wine and Beer Garden as you watch a south shore chefs take the stage to show their skill cooking local specialties. Fun for the whole family.
9. Kauai Coffee
Kauai Coffee invites you to stop by their estate, the largest coffee plantation in the US, to learn more about how coffee is grown, harvested, processed, and graded. You can take a self-guided walking tour, visit their museum, or shop at their retail outlet where you can purchase a variety of coffees, gift baskets, logo items, and Kauai products. They also offer free coffee samples and a snack bar. The Visitor Center is open seven days a week from 9 am to 5 pm.
10. Second Saturday at The Warehouse
Beyond “hip & cool,” The Warehouse is home to some of the islands most talented artisans from painters, to jewelers, to clothing designers to eco friendly products for your home; along with a host of tasty food trucks. Visit The Warehouse every 2nd Saturday, from 5 to 9pm, for a night market like no other featuring music, family activities, great shops and food!
11. Lawai International Center – 88 Shrines
Lawai International Center focuses on the restoration of 32 acres in the Lawai Valley that once was the site of the Hawaiian heiau, a Taoist temple, a Shinto shrine, and a Buddhist temple. Today, this property still contains 88 Buddhist shrines, the likes of which are not found outside of Japan with generations of stewardship from the Muramoto family. Queen Emma once wrote of the special healing powers of the waters of Lawai. And so it is that something, which not only drew the ancient Hawaiians to this valley but the successive immigrants as well. And something compelled them to make that valley a place of worship as well. www.lawaicenter.org
12. Hanapepe Friday Art Night & Hanapepe Swinging Bridge
Hanapepe town, home to “Lilo & Stitch”, is nestled between Kalaheo and Waimea. Filled with a host of the island’s best art galleries, artisans like Banana Patch Studio, cafes like Japanese Grandma’s Cafe and even the island’s best book store – Talk Story. Hanapepe is the perfect place to wander, walk the historic bridge and gather great gifts. Don’t miss their Friday Night Art Walk where the town comes to life and the shops spill out onto the street, along with food trucks and live music for a fun family-friendly event.
13. WeliWeli Park Disc Golf
located at WeliWeli park in Poipu with 6 Free Disc Golf baskets that also feature lighting for evening play. Perfect for the entire family, just bring your discs or buy them at Aphrodite’s Treasures in Old Koloa Town.
The Grand Canyon of the Pacific is a scenic drive west where you will find the Koke’e Museum, a lodge, café and more than 45 miles of hiking trails spread over 4,345 acres at an elevation of 4000 feet above sea level. www.kokee.org