Although all the beaches on the island are public, much of the interior land—once sugar and pineapple plantations—is privately owned. This is really a shame, because the valleys and mountains that make up the vast interior of the island easily rival the beaches in sheer beauty. The good news is some tour operators have agreements with landowners that make exploration possible, albeit a bit bumpy, and unless you have back troubles, that's half the fun. If it looks like rain, book an ATV tour ASAP. That's the thing about these tours: the muddier, the better.
Kauai ATV Tours. This is the thing to do when it rains on Kauai. Consider it an extreme mud bath. Kauai ATV in Koloa is the originator of the island's all-terrain-vehicle tours. Its $133 three-hour Koloa tour takes you through a private sugar plantation and historic cane-haul tunnel. The $163 four-hour waterfall tour visits secluded waterfalls and includes a picnic lunch. This popular option includes a hike through a bamboo forest and a swim in a freshwater pool at the base of the falls—to rinse off all that mud. You must be 16 or older to operate your own ATV, but Kauai ATV also offers its four-passenger "Ohana Bug" and two-passenger "Mud Bugs" to accommodate families with kids ages five and older. There are price breaks ($109 for the three-hour tour, $139 for the four-hour) for passengers. 3477A Weliweli Rd., Koloa, HI, 96756. PHONE: 808/742-2734 or 877/707-7088. www.kauaiatv.com.
Kipu Ranch Adventures. This 3,000-acre property extends from the Huleia River to the top of Mt. Haupu. Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, and Mighty Joe Young were filmed here, and you'll see the locations for all of them on the three-hour Ranch Tour, which ranges from $120 to $145 (depending on the vehicle). The four-hour Waterfall Tour includes a visit to two waterfalls and a picnic lunch; prices range from $145 to $175. Once a sugar plantation, Kipu Ranch today is a working cattle ranch, so you'll be in the company of bovines as well as pheasants, wild boars, and peacocks. 235 Kipu Rd., off Hwy. 50, Lihue, HI, 96766. PHONE: 808/246-9288. www.kiputours.com.