What to Bring to Kauai (And 6 Things to Leave Home)

For truly serene island adventures to remember, you cannot go wrong with a trip to Kauai. Between its unspoiled landscapes to blissful beaches, this gorgeous Hawaiian island offers a little something for everyone. To enjoy your trip to the fullest, you do need to pack smart by bringing all the essentials – and leaving several key items at home. Ready to start getting ready for your travels to Kauai? Here’s what you need to know.

What to Pack for Your Trip

As you get packed for your trip, don’t forget all the following essentials:


No matter what time of the year you visit Kauai, you can expect temperatures to remain more than pleasant. In fact, the average highs range from 72 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, while lows rarely dip below 54 degrees.

So, keep that in mind as you pack the clothing you’ll feel most comfortable wearing while exploring the island. For tops, think t-shirts, tank tops, and Hawaiian shirts, of course. As for the bottoms, shorts, skirts, and the like will likely serve you best.

If you plan to go hiking, bring one pair of full-length khakis to avoid getting too many bug bites. Don’t forget to bring a lightweight rain jacket, a well-fitting bathing suit, and a swimsuit cover-up as well.

Overall, skip the light colors if possible, especially if you’ll want to explore the hiking trails. The red dirt that’s prevalent across the island stains clothing quite easily, leaving its mark on your wardrobe forevermore.


Since there are so many amazing adventures to consider all over Kauai, you’ll want to bring several pairs of footwear, including:

For your everyday adventures, sneakers with ankle socks work great. Just be sure that their laces are in good condition and add a cushioned insole for extra support as you travel all over town.

Hiking shoes
If you want to see all the inland landscape has to offer, you’ll need hiking shoes to wear on the trails. These shoes should have plenty of grips to keep you from slipping on the muddy rocks.  

Sandals are the way to go if you want to enjoy all the beaches on the island. Choose a beaded pair if you’d like them to double as dress shoes for your nice restaurant visits.

Felt-soled shoes are a must as well if you want to explore the waterways while staying sure-footed always.

Extra Items

Other items to bring on your Kauai travels include:

  • Photo ID
  • Daily medications
  • Sunglasses
  • Water bottle
  • Beach tote
  • Collapsible cooler
  • Underwater camera
  • Waterproof phone case
  • Binoculars
  • Phone charger
  • Quick-dry towel

Beyond all that, bring your favorite personal care items, so you’re not locked into using what the hotel provides. Also, bring zip-top bags for your dirty clothes and shoes plus a few garbage bags for any trash you create on your adventures.

6 Things You Can Definitely Leave at Home

When packing for Kauai, you can leave all the following items behind, for sure.


Unless you’ll be attending a wedding with a strict formal dress code, think casual as you pack for Kauai. Even when dining at the fanciest restaurants in town, you won’t need to be dressed to the nines. So, skip the suit jackets, dresses with high heels, and the like in favor of something nice yet much more comfortable.  


Kauai adventures are all about having fun in the sun, so there’s definitely no place for jeans. The heavyweight denim material will only serve to weigh you down while you explore the island. Cargo shorts, sundresses, and boardshorts are a much better bet more often than not.    


The sun’s rays are no joke, so you’ll definitely want to use sunscreen while on Kauai. But not just any sunscreen will do. While on the island, you’ll need to stick with using reef-safe sunscreen only. So, save room in your bag and buy enough to last your trip upon arriving on the island.

Bug Spray

Bug spray is also a must, but it makes no sense to bring what you use at home. Instead, plan to buy bug spray from an island vendor to ensure it’s formulated for the creepy crawlies you’ll encounter on your trip. Otherwise, you could end up using a product that’s not going to offer the protection you need as you explore the landscape.

Reef Walkers

You know what they say: When in Rome, do as the Romans do – and that goes double when it comes to staying safe in the water. So, do yourself a favor and leave the reef walkers at home to avoid a nasty spill on the algae-covered rocks. Instead, mimic the locals by wearing tobbies, or felt-soled shoes, to walk through the waterways without slipping.

Beach Gear

Don’t waste space on the plane by bringing all your beach gear from home. You can rent everything you need from the surf shops all over the island. Although surfboards and stand-up paddleboards are the names of the game, these shops typically have everything from boogieboards to rash guards available for rent. They even have umbrellas and chairs on tap in case you want to deck out your spot on the beach.

A positive aloha spirit goes a long way in helping you enjoy your adventures to the fullest. So, don’t forget to leave a negative attitude behind as you board the plane to paradise. Aim to be considerate of the locals always. And don’t be afraid to express your gratitude for the kindness you encounter along the way with a warm mahalo for all.  

It’s Time to Get Ready for Kauai Adventures Galore

Now that you know just what to bring on your Kauai adventures – and what to leave at home – it’s time to start packing up. To ensure you can bring all your essentials and still have room for souvenirs, use an expandable carry-on bag plus bring an extra lightweight duffle bag. With that move, you can rest assured that you’ll have all the room you need for your knickknacks, sweet treats, and other goodies you find on your travels.