10 Best Things to See & Do Near the Kauai Cruise Port

When reaching Kauai on a cruise ship, don't just sit on the dock of the bay. Some of the best experiences to be had on Kauai or just a short drive from the Lihue cruise port, where you'll be docked while spending time on land. All of these things too see and do are just a few minutes from the port, but you'll need a shuttle or taxi to get you there. From history, to waterfall exploration and surf lessons, you'll find plenty to do while docked at Nawiliwili Harbor.

Fusing together history, dining and retail therapy is the Kilohana Plantation. A historic plantation mansion is home to galleries, a rum distillery, restaurants and a farm that feeds the restaurants. On site is the Kauai Plantation Railway, the newest attraction in the area. A historic train (the last on the island) weaves visitors around the plantation and through the orchards and gardens that grow produce served on site.

For some outdoor action try surfing lessons with the Kalapaki Beach Boys at Kalapaki Beach. Ride waves by the end of the day. Or, join Outfitters Kauai in a Wailua River Tour and kayaking exploration. Journey through the jungle to Secret Falls where you can swim in the fresh water pool.

Although all of these attractions are close to the harbor, you'll need a vehicle to reach them. Check with your ship about free shuttles in the area, or book a rental car just for the day which is usually pretty affordable.



An exciting excursion with Outfitters Kauai that isn't too far from the cruise port is their Wailua River tour. The tour is guided and takes guests up the Wailua River to explore Secret Falls. They provide a lunch with a choice of a turkey...  Read More



Blue Hawaii Helicopters offers a tour called the Kaua`i ECO Adventure. The company's new American Eurocopter ECO-Star offers more interior room to take you over the Hanapepe Valley, then on to Manawaiopuna, otherwise known as Jurassic Park...  Read More

Wailua Falls
Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt


Many visitors recognize these twin falls as the ones pictured in the opening sequence of the "Fantasy Island" TV show. Their dramatic, 80-foot double tumble is the subject of many tourist photographs, a distinct difference from the days when...  Read More



To take surf lessons at Kalapaki Beach, try the Kalapaki Beach boys who offer 90-minute classes at the popular beach with no more than four people in a class. Classes begin with about 30 minutes on land with the instructor giving tips and...  Read More

Lydgate Beach Park


Lydgate Beach Park truly has everything you could need for a day at the beach - two protected natural swimming pools, spectacular snorkeling, white sand, amenities, lifeguard, and an amazing playground for children. This is where snorkel...  Read More



Citizens of, and visitors to Lihue (home to the cruise port) often take advantage of Kalapaki, considered one of the island's foremost swimming beaches. Not far from town, it offers subdued waves rolling onto white-sand shores. The beach sits...  Read More

Kauai Plantation Railway
Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt


As the newest visitor attraction at Kilohana Plantation, the Kauai Plantation Railway recreates the days when steam powered narrow gauge trains moved the harvested sugar cane from field to mill, and raw sugar from mill to the wharf for...  Read More

Nawiliwili Harbor
Menehune Fishpond


Legend has it that an industrious race of small-statured peoples once inhabited the islands, predecessors to the Polynesians who now populate the archipelago. Known as the menehune, they were master craftsmen who could build with great skill and...  Read More



Preserved in this museum's collections are the story of Kauai, detailed in artifacts, exhibits, and photographs. Just a short drive from the cruise port, this is one of the best experiences you can have in Lihue, the town you'll dock in. Two...  Read More

Kilohana Plantation
Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt


In its heyday, this grand, 1930s-era mansion was the focal point of a successful sugar-cane plantation. Today, the Tudor-style, 16000-square-foot home has been restored to its original glory and houses galleries, boutiques, and the historic...  Read More


Meet Jade Eckardt

Raised on the Big Island of Hawaii, Jade has traveled the world and doesn't intend to stop, yet the Hawaiian Islands are still her favorite place. She spent seven years living on Oahu and...  More About Jade