Rainy Day Activities If The Weather Takes A Turn On Your Trip To Kauai

The Hawaiian island of Kauai is known as the Garden Island, and that name couldn't be more fitting. A tropical rainforest of a paradise, Kauai is known for its greenery, mountain ranges, and waterfalls, making it a haven for those who love the outdoors and a Polynesian island to consider for your next tropical vacation. But no matter how much you love nature, rain can certainly rain on your Kauai parade, since during big storms, it can be unsafe to traverse Kauai's roads and trails. It's also not uncommon, as Kauai is one of the wettest places on the planet. 

Some parts of Kauai receive a whopping 35 feet of rain per year, especially during the island's rainy season from November to April. Although you're likely to get caught in some rain during your trip to Kauai, it's not likely to last long or be too heavy, and it's also apt to rain after sunset. Plus, on this island where Mother Nature is queen, more rain means bigger waterfalls and brighter greenery. 

While you're waiting for the Sun to come out, Kauai has plenty of indoor fun for vacationers to explore. To create this list of the best rainy-day activities, if the weather takes a turn on your trip to Kauai, we researched the best weather-protected attractions through tourism websites, travel blogs, and Hawaiian tour company websites. You can learn more about how we assembled this list at the end of the article.

Kauai Coffee Company Estate

As the biggest coffee grower in the U.S., you've likely had a sip of Kauai Coffee at home. But at the Kauai Coffee Company Estate, you can try a cup of their coffee straight from the bean. You can also learn about the coffee-making process through a guided or self-guided walking tour of the facility and its acres of coffee beans. And don't worry about getting wet in the rain during a tour of the coffee plantation. Visitors take the one-hour tour on a covered, open-air truck to visit areas only accessible to the coffee harvesters while staying dry. Tours cost $45 per adult and, of course, end with a piping-hot cup of coffee from the very beans you just saw.

Don't forget to end your tour with a trip to the estate's visitor center, which has a gift shop that sells coffee in a range of varieties, such as Hawaiian Toasty Banana Nut Cream, Coconut Caramel Crunch, Mundoloa Java, and Vanilla Macadamia Nut. These flavors are all thanks to Hawaiian growing conditions, including the rainfall on the surrounding mountains and the volcanic earth that the beans grow atop. Nearly two centuries ago, the estate was home to the McBryde Sugar Company, but years of innovation transformed it into the Kauai Coffee Company that has prevailed against several natural disasters, such as Hurricane Iniki which struck three decades ago.

Kilohana Plantation

It's hard to get bored at the 105-acre Kilohana Plantation, even on a rainy day. That's because this happening spot, which was once the home of Gaylord Wilcox, includes covered and indoor activities like a train tour, Hawaiian-inspired restaurant, rum distillery, and nearly a dozen shops offering one-of-a-kind Hawaiian artisan items. Start your trip here by hopping on a covered train tour for $21.50 per person. You'll roll through 2.5 miles of track while passing classic Hawaiian crops like sugarcane, taro, mango, banana, and papaya. Then, grab lunch at the Plantation House restaurant and sample dishes with island flavors like blue crab and coconut curry, fish tacos, and an ahi tuna stack.

Next, sample rum from the Koloa Rum Company, which has an outpost at Kilohana and offers tastings of its award-winning rums made with local ingredients, like Hawaiian cane sugar, multiple times per day. Finally, pick up Hawaiian-made items, such as jewelry, art, clothing, and food products, at the Shops at Kilohana. These boutiques are housed inside the main home on the property, so you can stay dry and see the historic property while shopping at places like the Kauai Sweet Shoppe and Haloa Gallery and Studio. 

While perusing the shops, you'll also see the mansion's various bedrooms, living rooms, sunroom, and other spaces. One of the living rooms has even been converted into the Mahiko Lounge, a modern bar with cocktails made with local nods. Don't miss out on their Koloa Rum Mai-Tai, which is made with a nearly 80-year-old recipe.

Wailua River Cruise

It seems strange to go on a river cruise on a rainy day, but a rainy day is actually the perfect time to venture down parts of the 20-mile Wailua River, which is the sole river that people can explore in the state. Mount Wai'ale'ale, whose waters create the river, is one of the wettest places in the world, and on the cruise, visitors can expect to see lots of amazing Hawaiian scenery from a covered boat, such as temples, waterfalls, and plenty of greenery. But to many, the highlight of the tour is Fern Grotto, which is one of the most-visited sites on the entire island. Hanging greenery frames this lava rock cave that doubles as a pseudo-stage for many local musical artists, so a trip down this river often includes a concert.

Several companies offer Wailua River cruises, such as Smith's Kauai, which began giving the tours in 1946. The company now offers nearly 1.5-hour tours of the river for $30 per person. The tour also includes an onboard hula lesson. Hawaii Tours also offers river cruises, which cost the same, last for about the same amount of time, and include a hula lesson. Both companies feature boats with rear engines, so visitors are in for a serene ride while taking in the beauty of the island.

The Shops at Kukui'ula

There's no better time to pick up your Hawaiian souvenirs than on a rainy day, and there's no better place to do it than The Shops at Kukui'ula, an outdoor shopping mall that has ambiance to boot since it was designed using Hawaiian architectural traditions. But don't get it twisted — even though this mall is outdoors, there are plenty of overhangs covering the indoor shops. Here, you can check out more than two dozen shops and nine onsite dining options, so everyone in your group can leave full of food and shopping bags.

While shopping, pick up tropical-patterned clothing for both women and men at Blue Ginger, a longstanding brand in Hawaii. Or, grab trendy t-shirts from Crazy Shirts, a worldwide brand that originated in Honolulu in 1964. If you're looking to try beachside sports like snorkeling, scuba diving, and surfing, then Haʻupu Outpost should be your destination at The Shops at Kukui'ula. 

To take a piece of Hawaii home with you for your walls, visit Haleleʻa Gallery or Latitudes Gallery, which sells Hawaiian-inspired art and photography. You can remember your journey to the islands every time you walk into your living room. When shopping starts making you hungry, head to one of the mall's onsite restaurants featuring local eats, like The Eating House 1849, inspired by the name of the first restaurant in Hawaii.

Kauai Museum

Hawaii is much more than just surfing, beautiful beaches, and luaus (although those are pretty great, too). At the Kauai Museum, visitors can get to know the history behind the island through artifacts found on Kauai, presentations on Kauai culture, special exhibits, and a gift shop featuring island-made items — and there's no better time to visit this indoor attraction than a rainy day. To see the best of the museum, hop on a tour, which runs every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10 a.m. These don't require reservations. Plus, admission to the museum costs only $15 per adult. 

To experience Hawaiian culture and history in action, sign up for one of the museum's regular classes, featuring activities like lei making, painting, weaving, hula dancing, and feather making. But perhaps the museum's most impressive offering is its virtual reality experience, where visitors can "meet" six indigenous Hawaiians and see ancient artifacts through several exhibits and animations. It's a unique way to see Hawaiian history come to life. 

Before leaving the 80-year-old museum, make sure to check out the gift shop, which has free entry, in case you want to do some shopping without seeing the artifacts. At the shop, visitors can purchase one-of-a-kind items that represent the culture of Kauai, like straw purses and hats, shell jewelry, books about Hawaii's history and heroes, and condiments. You can also pick up vintage Hawaiian postcards, wood bowls, boxes, and jewelry here.

The Spa at Ko'a Kea

A trip to Hawaii can be busy with sightseeing, but a rainy day in Kauai is the perfect kind of day to take a breather from it all and unwind with a traditional Lomi Lomi massage. This Hawaiian massage seeks to calm all parts of a person, including their mind, body, and soul, through both pressure and fluid strokes. One of the places to get this massage is the Spa at Ko'a Kea, a luxury resort situated on the Pacific Ocean. At the indoor spa, its relaxing vibes are set by candlelit rooms, nature artwork, and fresh flowers. Here, masseuses harness Hawaiian natural ingredients, like clay, nut oils, coffee, sugar, and flowers, to bring peace to their clients in a traditional island atmosphere.

If the Lomi Lomi massage, which currently costs $180 for a one-hour massage and $270 for a 90-minute massage, won't do the job for you, then the Spa at Ko'a Kea offers plenty of other services. A tried-and-true Swedish massage is ideal for visitors looking to unwind, while the Ko'a Kea Signature Adventure Massage is great for vacationers who have been in Hawaii for a few days and are feeling achy after outdoor fun and sports. Or, for a different experience, book a $285, 90-minute pohaku massage, where hot stones are used to unwind muscle knots and improve circulation while creating an overall state of well-being.

Waiʻoli Mission House

If you want to take a step back in time in Kauai, then make reservations for a $10-per-person indoor tour of the Wai'oli Mission House. Set upon 17 acres and built in 1836, the historic building served as the home of Christian missionaries Abner and Lucy Wilcox and their children. When the Wilcoxes settled at this home in Kauai, the island was far from the utopia it is today. Instead, changing industries and evolving diseases due to settlers were hurting the indigenous Hawaiian population. The Wilcox family sought to both educate and inspire the indigenous Hawaiians through faith in their church and classes in their school, both onsite buildings.

A true time capsule, the Wilcox home appears exactly as it did in 1869 when Abner and Lucy passed away. A half-century later, it was restored to its original splendor due to the work of the Wilcox grandchildren. It's now a museum and relic of the Wilcox family, complete with their furniture, personal items, lava rock chimney, and braided rugs. If you're intrigued by the home, then come back on Sunday, when onsite Wai'oli Church services take place inside a stained glass-adorned space. It's so beautiful that many couples opt to tie the knot here.

Kauai Movie Tour

Take one look at the stunning Garden Island, and it's easy to see why so many movies are filmed here. Kauai's undisturbed environment features an abundance of greenery and plenty of flowing waterfalls, like Hali'i Falls, which is one of America's most beautiful waterfalls to swim in. On a Kauai movie tour, film buffs can see the sites where popular movies were filmed — all from the comfort of a vehicle to protect them from the rain. 

Throughout the tour, which is offered by several different companies, visitors will have the chance to view a range of famous spots, such as the Kilauea Point Lighthouse Overlook, which is animated in "Lilo & Stitch," and Kapa'a Town, where you'll find filming locations from "Jurassic Park." You'll also have a chance to see Hanalei Town, where "The Descendants" with George Clooney took place; Wailua Falls, a waterfall that flows into its namesake Wailua River, which was the site of "Tropic Thunder" scenes; and the Blue Room, where scenes of "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Strangers Tides" were filmed. The Blue Room is also one of the hidden gems in Hawaii that only locals know.

Tours range in price and offerings, but Roberts Hawaii's movie tour takes place every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. These tours cost adults $172 or $182 per person, depending on the tour, while Polynesian Adventure's movie tour is every Sunday and Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. for $162 per person.

Hanapepe Art Night

Don't let the rain stop you from getting in touch with your creative side. In Hanapepe, a quaint town with such authentic Hawaiian scenery that it was the inspiration for "Lilo & Stitch," Art Night is held every Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. The event has been held weekly since 1997. If you happen to get stuck in the rain on a Friday evening, many of the galleries and studios of Hanapepe's artists will be open and ready to give visitors an inside look at their works. And there are plenty of them to visit since Hanapepe boasts more art galleries than any other Kauai town.

At Light Source Photography, you can check out nature photos of the most beautiful landscapes of Kauai shot by Lee Scott, who calls the island home. Or, if you love all things vintage, then stop at Kauai Fine Arts, which collects and sells international antique maps dating back to the 1500s. For distinctive original works, Amy-Lauren's Gallery should be your destination, as it's known for its collection of colorful, locally-made, and one-off pieces made on everything from canvases to surfboards. To pick up artisan jewelry and clothing, as well as art, check out Pu'uwai Gallery & Boutique.

Kauai Island Brewing Company

There isn't a better way to wait for the rain to pass than with a cold beer in hand, especially if it's from "The World's Westernmost Brewery," which also happens to be the oldest on the island. At Kauai Island Brewing Company, visitors can choose from multiple housemade beers on draft, as well as a full bar and food menu. Some of those beers include the Cane Fire Red, which garnered the silver medal in the 2019 Hawaiian Craft Brewers Awards, and the Ele'ele Brown, which has its roots in an award-winning recipe that took home accolades at the West Coast Brewers Festival and the California State Fair. Visitors will notice that many of the beers have a lot of hops and bold flavors, as well as Hawaiian ingredients like taro and passionfruit for varieties that can't be found anywhere else.

Beers are enjoyed in a space with 35-foot-high ceilings adorned with chandeliers, a view of Hanapepe Bay, and a mezzanine that also happens to house the biggest selection of pinball machines in the state. Along with its retro pinball machines, there are also two electronic dart boards in the room in case you want to duke it out for who's paying the check. If you get hungry, the kitchen serves items with ingredients from local farms and distributors, such as fish tacos, Kalua pork sandwiches, and ahi poke.

Banana Patch Studio

If you were into the one-of-a-kind Hawaiian artwork that you found during Hanapepe Art Night, then you'll love Banana Patch Studio, where you can see over 20 artists creating work in action indoors, perfect for a rainy day. As you browse items like ceramic tiles, wall art, clocks, pottery, and fine art for sale, you'll also be able to see them being made. And it isn't just for show — each item on the shelves has slight variations since they're all made by hand. 

If you find yourself feeling regretful about not purchasing a piece once you get home or you don't want to check it on a plane, you can also order works online for delivery. This is all thanks to artist Joanna Carolan, who founded the studio more than 30 years ago inside the Historic Chang Building, which at the time, needed some TLC. But she got to work bringing it back to life and turned it into the home of her iconic studio.

Grove Farm Homestead & Sugar Plantation Museum

For nearly two centuries, sugarcane was the most important crop grown on Kauai, and for good reason. The rainy climate is ideal for sugarcane, which needs 2,000 pounds of water for every pound of sugar made. Since the 1870s, Grove Farm has been a symbol of Kauai's sugar production, and the homestead features the original main home, two cottages, an office, and additional housing areas spread across its 100 acres. Today, visitors can see sugarcane production and learn about Kauai's history at the farm, which has been preserved from its age-old past. 

This is all thanks to George Wilcox, the son of Abner and Lucy Wilcox, the Christian missionaries who lived and worked at the Waiʻoli Mission House. He purchased the plantation and later innovated it to help bring more water to the crops, enabling the sugarcane to thrive. The plantation stayed in the family and later, the same grandchildren who restored the Waiʻoli Mission House did the same for Grove Farm. Now, those interested in Hawaiian history can visit Grove Farm for a two-hour guided tour for $20 per adult. Tours are held every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., and advanced reservations are recommended.


Kauai is an island that thrives on its wild, mystique, and naturally beautiful atmosphere, but not all days are bound to be outdoor-friendly on this Hawaiian island. Since the island has a penchant for rain, we scoured travel blogs, travel guides, tourism websites, and tour company websites to find the most interesting, varied, and culturally significant activities to do in Kauai on rainy days. We sought activities with indoor or protected-from-weather features that still presented the best of Kauai, so every day of your trip to this magical island, which is often rated as the best vacation spot in Hawaii, will count.