On Kauai it's commonly said that if you don't like the weather just wait 15 minutes and it will probably change. When the sky is dark a lot of locals will recommend you just start heading to sunny Poipu, or to the west side, where you are almost always guaranteed to find some sweet Kauai sunshine.
If you don't like the weather, just wait 15 minutes and it will probably change...
While you can usually always find a sunny spot on Kauai, there are some days that simply pour rain. While many people visit Kauai for its pristine beaches and natural wonders, there are some days you just have to find something else to do.
Wondering what exactly to do on Kauai when it rains? Listed below are some enjoyable things you can do when it's raining; either pack them all into one day, or space them out over a couple days.
1. Tour the Kauai Museum
Celebrating its 54th anniversary this year, the Kauai Museum is a great place to visit when it is raining. It is centrally located in Lihue and is the place to go if you want to actively learn about Kauai's (and Niihau's) history and culture. They have wonderful displays and a great gift shop.
Guided museum tours are free with paid admission. Tours begin at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday through Friday. (Reservations are required for large parties.) The first Saturday of each month is Ohana Day and admission is free for kamaaina, and visitors receive a discounted rate. It is recommended you allow yourself two hours to walk through the entire museum. Hours: 10:00am-5:00pm Monday - Saturday, Closed Sunday Address: 4428 Rice St., Lihue, Kauai 96766 Store Phone: (808)-246-2470 Cost: $10.00 General Admission (Kamaaina, Senior, Student & Child rates available, too)
Please Note: The Kauai museum has a modified schedule and business hours during the holidays.
2. Discover the Kauai Technology & Visitor Center
If you decide to head to the west side, you should consider stopping by the Kauai Technology & Visitor Center. They offer several activities, like lei making, that the whole family can enjoy. (They teach the basic techniques to make leis and fabric flowers, so you can then make them at home.)
They also feature exhibits and programs useful for both locals and visitors, periodically updating them to reflect current times, annual celebrations, etc. Computers with free Internet access are also available here.
- Monday - Friday: 10:00am - 4:00pm
- Closed: Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays
3. Visit Kauai-Made Companies
Not that you need to save this one for a rainy day, but seeming as several Kauai-made companies have tasting rooms and gift shops, why not? The following local companies produce popular Kauai-made products that have become favorites among both locals and visitors:
- Aunty Lilikoi Passion Fruit Products - Sensational passion fruit products that are simply divine - unique flavors like passion fruit habanero jelly
- Kauai Coffee Company - Delicious coffee grown in direct Kauai sunshine
- Kauai Kookie Company - Great cookies that come in a variety of island-influenced flavors (like Guava Macadamia Nut)
- Koloa Rum Company - Award-winning Hawaiian rum
4. Restaurants & Shopping
You can also always go out to eat or go shopping (or do both) when there isn't much sun. There's not too many people that would oppose to shopping or eating when it's raining outside. Several Kauai businesses and shopping centers offer a great place to take refuge from the weather. Popular Kauai Restaurants
- North Shore: Hanalei Dolphin & Fish Market
- East Side: The Bull Shed - Fine steak & seafood, oceanfront dining (and located right next to the Waipouli Beach Resort)
- Lihue: Hamura's Saimin is a popular place to get some of the island's best saimin soup (Don't leave without trying a piece of the lilikoi pie - amazingly delicious)
- South Shore: The Beach House Restaurant - Recently honored with the Hale Aina Gold Award for the Best Kauai Restaurant for the 13th year in a row!
- West Side: Wrangler's Steakhouse
- North Shore: Ching Young Village, Hanalei
- East Side: Coconut Marketplace - Unique open-air shopping, and free hula shows on Wednesdays & Saturdays (also located close to the Waipouli Beach Resort)
- Lihue: Kukui Grove Shopping Center - One of the best places to shop on Kauai. Not only do they have covered walkways and eating and entertainment areas, they also have several local events regularly held at Center Stage - usually free and open to the public. Complete with restaurants, a Starbucks Coffee, and popular chain stores, you could easily spend hours here.
- South Shore: Poipu Shopping Village
- West Side: Eleele Shopping Center
Rainy Days on Kauai
A rainy forecast doesn't have to dampen your Kauai vacation. Some Kauai activity companies still offer tours when it rains. There are also many other things you can do when it rains on Kauai in addition to the suggestions above, like heading to Talk Story Bookstore in Hanapepe, one of the only bookstores on island, so you can lose track of time with a good book.
Rain means lots of rainbows...
While you may not have expected or planned on having it rain during your vacation, there are some Kauai activities and places to see that you might want to save for such a day. Hopefully, you won't need to use these recommendations when you're vacationing on island, however, the rain is definitely part of what makes Kauai so special; the island shows off uncountable shades of green, the mountains drip with waterfalls, the ocean changes colors, and rainbows appear. You never know what you might learn, see, or do on a rainy Kauai day - and remember, the sun will be back soon!
Tip: If it has been consistently raining pretty hard, avoid driving down to Hanalei due to the possibility that the river could flood and cause the one-way bridge into Hanalei to close until the water recedes below the 6' mark. Always be sure to check Hanalei weather and water conditions. For Kauai Road Information, please call (808) 241-1725.