Not all vacations are created equal. While it’s nice to kick back and enjoy some R&R at a five-star resort or inside a Champagne yurt (yes, it’s a thing), it’s also memorable to go on a photo-worthy outdoor adventure. We tapped our friends at Hawaii’s Kauai Visitor’s Bureau for six epic activities to make time for on your next island getaway, and what to pack for each one. Adventure awaits!
1. Helicopter Touring
What’s better than a drone to capture cool aerial footage and get a genuine bird’s-eye view? A helicopter tour, of course. Not only will you get to see some of nature’s coolest sights from up above, but you’ll also experience riding in a chopper and touching down in spots that are totally inaccessible otherwise. Kauai’s iconic Manawaiopuna Falls (or “Jurassic Falls,” as it’s often called after being featured in the Jurassic Park movie) is one of such spots only accessible via helicopter.
“Wear black,” the KVB team advises of going on such an adventure. “Other dark colors work well too. Lighter colors create reflections on the glass and can ruin your perfect shot.” In addition to layering up in dark garb (it can get chilly), the KVB team says to charge your camera and phone batteries before your ride. “You wouldn’t want to ruin a perfect shot because of a glare or lack of battery power; be sure you’re charged up for the amazing photo ops you can score on any helicopter tour,” they tell us.
When it comes to getting out on the water, islands offer tons of opportunities, like paddle boarding, surfing, kayaking, and swimming. If you don’t love literally diving right in, sailing might be a dreamy way to enjoy your day. “Take hair ties and a waterproof cover for your phone,” the KVB team notes. “If you’re prone to getting seasick — and you might not know if you are yet — we always suggest avoiding the cabin areas.” Their last pro tip? “Wear sunscreen so you can soak up the sunshine.”
3. chasing Waterfalls
The KVB sends people to explore waterfalls every day; after all, Kauai is the only Hawaiian island that has rivers you can navigate, such as the Wailua River. We wondered: How exactly do people best experience the flowing water and nearby heiau (ancient temples) along with the gushing falls? “The greatest adventure and most genuine exploration come with a guided kayak and hiking tour along the river,” the team says. “Make a day of it by taking an expert tour of the island and having a picnic lunch that’ll give you the energy you need to explore more.” As for the right gear for splashing in the falls, it’s all about what you wear on your feet. “Water shoes are key since your feet will get wet; even more, you’ll want to hike around the rivers and falls,” they say. The team advises people to leave their valuables or items that can’t get wet at home or in the hotel, but a waterproof lockbox can be a good option if there’s something you really want to keep with you.
Who wants to stick to the standard adventures on an island getaway? Switch up more common activities with something like mountain tubing, which will send you floating through canals and natural wonders, and along the jaw-dropping rugged terrain. “Definitely bring your water shoes for an island tubing activity too,” the team shares. “You should also wear an outfit that can get wet with a swimsuit under your clothes. We love a long-sleeve rash guard for tubing; it will protect you from the sun and can keep you feeling warm in refreshing (read: cold) water. You will get splashed!”
What to Bring: J.Crew Long Sleeved Rash Guard in Classic Stripe ($68)
5. An ATV Tour
Riding through an island’s peaks and valleys on an ATV is an exhilarating way to experience the magical scenery. Be prepared to explore all the off-the-beaten-path places you dream about, like bits of untouched paradise, secret rope swings, and breathtaking vantage points. “For a UTV or ATV tour, you’ll want to bring a pair of close-toed shoes. We recommend sneakers or water shoes to travelers, but don’t bring your best pair — they’ll get dirty!” the team says. They joke that wearing a white t-shirt is one way to create a souvenir. “Volcanic dirt and dust are known to stain clothes; especially on Kauai, where we have red volcanic dirt. On any UTV or ATV tour, you’ll want to rinse off right away. We also tell travelers to stash some wipes in the car for a clean getaway,” they say. Though your tour should provide you with a helmet and goggles, the team tells us it’s nice to bring a bandana (or two) and wear a swimsuit under your clothes to best prepare.
Is ziplining through a lush jungle on your bucket list? Ours too. It’s the ultimate active adventure — you’ll fly as fast as 50mph while feeling like a total superhero. “Our Flyin’ Kauaian tour offers harness upgrades that will allow you to stretch out both hands, flip upside-down, or even go backward,” the KVB team tells us. Needless to say, you’ll want to wear something comfortable. “We tell thrill-seekers to dress in leggings or workout pants,” they explain. “This will ensure you’re comfortable the entire time, even if you want to strike your favorite yoga pose mid-air! It’s all about flexibility — and you’ll be wearing a harness the entire time — so leave khakis, jeans, and shorts at home.” Good to know.
What to Bring: Tommie Copper Performance Legging ($65)
Have you done any of the activities on the list? Tweet us the products you recommend @BritandCo!
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(Featured photo via Getty)