Don't let rainy days get you down on Kauai. On the Island of Kauai, there's no reason why you can't find fun things to do on a rainy day. And if you wait awhile, you may see a rainbow. After all, it's the rain that makes Kauai the Garden Island of Hawaii.
Kauai is one of those islands where you can travel a little and find a dry spot even if it may be raining at your resort. The South Shore is usually drier, and the North Shore or East Shore tend to be a little wetter although there is always a nice balance between sun and rain which the plants thrive on.
The weather in Hawaii is varied, and you can pretty much bet that somewhere in the islands it will be raining. The Hawaiian Islands usually have their drier season during the summer months (May to October), and a rainier season which generally runs during the winter (from November until March). The best time to visit depends on what you like.
Head South for Less Rain
If you’re staying on Kauai's North Shore or its eastern Coconut Coast and it's raining, there's a pretty good chance that there will be some areas along the island's southern shore or western areas where the sun is shining. In fact, the town of Waimea, which is the gateway to Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, averages only about 20 percent of the annual rainfall that you'll find up in Princeville on the North Shore.
In this area between Maha'ulepu Beach and Waimea, you'll find great beaches such as Poipu Beach and one of my personal favorites, Salt Pond Beach Park near Hanapepe. If you're not looking for a beach, you can visit Prince Kuhio Park, Spouting Horn or tour one of the gardens in the nearby National Tropical Botanical Garden.
You're sure to have fun wandering through one of the area's historic towns such as Koloa, Hanapepe, or Waimea. Just be sure to stop for a shave-ice at Jo-Jo's Clubhouse if you go to Waimea.
Visit the Kauai Museum
If you want to be sure to stay dry, head into Lihue and visit the Kauai Museum.
It's a moderate size museum that you can easily enjoy during just a couple of hours. Their permanent collection includes "The Story of Kauai," a wonderful set of exhibits tracing the history of Kauai and its people.
The Juliet Rice Wichman Heritage Gallery features rare koa bowls and rare Ni'ihau shell lei as well as possessions that once belonged to the rulers of Kauai.
The museum's Oriental Art Gallery features rare Asian art, china, paintings, and sculpture that belong to some of the oldest families on Kauai.
Take a River Cruise
Take a trip down the Wailua River to the Fern Grotto on a Smith's Fern Grotto Wailua River Cruise. The boats are covered so you'll stay dry and you're likely to find smaller crowds, so you'll be sure to enjoy the personal attention and fun entertainment on the way back down the river.
While the Fern Grotto itself isn't what it once was due to storm damage in 2006, it's getting better every year and it's still a beautiful place to visit in the rain or sun.
Get Your Shopping Done
There's going to be some point during your vacation when you need to do some shopping either for friends and relatives back home or for yourself.
On the north shore, you're just minutes away from Hanalei town which has several stores featuring unique and fun items such as Yellowfish Trading Company, which has a great selection of old and new Hawaiiana.
Along the Coconut Coast, Kapaa Town has a number of shops right along the highway. The Coconut Marketplace features more than 30 shops in an open-air shopping environment.
A favorite shopping destination on Kauai is the relatively new Shops at Kukui`ula, located about halfway between Poipu Beach and Spouting Horn.
Explore the Quaint Towns
Koloa is a historic 19th century plantation town that was the site of Hawaii's first successful sugar plantation. Here you'll find restaurants and specialty shops amid some of Hawaii's oldest buildings.
Hanapepe exudes an old-fashioned, small-town appeal, with its plantation-era buildings and laid-back vibe.
Waioli Mission in Hanalei was founded in 1834. This is where the early Christian missionaries, Abner and Lucy Wilcox, one of Kaua'i's most influential families, lived and worked from 1846 to 1869.
You can tour the historic New England-style home which was shipped in pieces from Boston around Cape Horn. There are pieces of beautiful koa wood furniture and other artifacts from the missionary era. You'll also see the historic Waioli Huiia Church with its green shingles and stained-glass windows.
Visit the Kilohana Plantation and Luau Kalamaku
On Kauai, there's a fun place where you can ride a historic train, taste Kauai's only island-made rum, shop, dine at one of Kauai's top restaurants and take in one of the island's best luaus.
Kilohana Plantation is an integral part of Kauai's long history of agriculture. The centerpiece of Kilohana Plantation is the historic Gaylord Wilcox mansion built in 1935 by Gaylord Parke Wilcox and his wife, Ethel. The Kauai Plantation Railway is a re-creation of one of the sugar trains that worked on the plantations. Today, the train takes visitors for a 2.5-mile ride through the plantation.
Lu'au Kalamaku is the state's only luau show performed in-the-round and features a cast of 50 dancers and musicians including an award-winning fire knife dancer.
Over the years well over 100 motion pictures and TV shows have been filmed on Kauai in very scenic locations. Several companies offer bus tours to see the places made famous by movies and TV shows.
Roberts Hawaii touts, "Relive the fate of those shipwrecked on Gilligan’s Island and feel just like a competitor in The Amazing Race. Check out the waterfall shown in the opening credits on Fantasy Island and remember, dead men tell no tales on Pirates of the Caribbean. Or, you can croon along with Elvis in Blue Hawaii in Coco Palms.
While you will be getting out of the bus to tour these locations, you'll stay dry and entertained as you travel from site to site.
Go Gallery Hopping on Friday Night
If you're looking for art, Hanapepe Town has some of the best galleries on the island.
Every Friday evening, Hanapepe's 16 participating galleries open their doors for a night of artistic enjoyment. Stroll along Main Street to see fine art and listen to live entertainment. The festivities, which include the galleries, restaurants, and shops, usually begin about 5 p.m. and end by 9 p.m. It's a popular event and if it's raining, you can duck into the galleries.