By Sarah Hendrix | Staff Writer

Now that Christmas break is well underway students have time off to get away from the mundane life on Oʻahu. Taking a few days to island hop can be the perfect solution to an easy getaway. The island of Kauaʻi is a great option to visit with fun and cheap activities that are affordable for college students.

Waimea Canyon

This natural wonder in the Pacific is only a short trip away for students to visit. Waimea Canyon is a beautiful landscape with a number of lookouts to see its picturesque waterfalls and vast expanse. Scattered throughout the west side of Kauaʻi are a number of hikes in the Kōkeʻe and Waimea State Parks. The parks are adjacent to one another and offer easy or difficult trails with breath-taking views of the Nā Pali coast or the rugged terrain of the Waimea canyon. Taking a day trip out to these state parks is completely free, whether students prefer to view the landscapes or explore them firsthand on one of the many trails offered.

Polihale State Park

Polihale beach park at sunset with the view of a rainbow over the landscape. (Photo by Sarah Hendrix)

Located on the far west side of Kauaʻi, Polihale beach has some of the most vibrant sunsets and prime camping ground for locals and visitors. It takes driving through a rough 5-mile road to access this beautiful spot, so four-wheel drive is recommended but not required. Camping in this secluded location is an unforgettable experience. Even for students who do not wish to camp in the great outdoors of Kauaʻi, Polihale State Park makes for a great day trip. If students are Hawaiʻi residents the permits for camping at Polihale are $12 for up to 6 people, and additional people are $2. If students are non-residents the fee is $18 for up to 6 people, and additional people are $3.

Kōloa Rum Tasting

Rum tasting is a fun alternative for students over the age of 21 looking to try some fantastic samples. Located at the historic Kilohana Plantation in Līhuʻe, Kōloa rum is made on Kauaʻi and offers a rum tasting room. The tasting begins at 10 a.m. and every half-hour a new one is started. There is a sign-up sheet that fills up quickly so people are encouraged to get there early. Depending on which day of the week, there will be a different selection of four Kōloa rums that are tasted. Along with the rum there is rum cake served with rum sauce.

Tamba Surf Rentals

For the students who are looking for adventure out in the water, Tamba surf rentals located in Kapaʻa has affordable rates. Whether people want to long board, short board or ride a fun board Tamba has a variety of options available. Any size surf board can be rented for three days for $18 per day. If the days are extended the prices continue to lower. Along with the surf board, straps are included with the price. 

Hiking to Hanakapiʻai 

A spectacular view of Hanakapi’ai beach from the Kalalau trail. (Photo by Sarah Hendrix)

Found on the north end of Kauaʻi, the Kalalau trail is one of the most rigorous hikes found in Hawaiʻi. The whole trail is 22 miles roundtrip along the edge of cliffs with incredible views of the Nā Pali coast. The Hanakapiʻai trail is the first 4 miles roundtrip of that hike. Along the Nā Pali coast hiker’s can trek 2 miles into Hanakapiʻai beach, which is great for sun bathing and swimming during the summer months. For those who desire extra adventure they can continue on another 2 miles into Hanakapiʻai valley to view the waterfalls.