We always have people asking us about Kauai and the things that they should do there. So we figured to add a blog post about what our favorite things about the small garden isle that we love! What we love the most about being in Kauai is how laid back the vibe is there – it really suits well with our personalities and we love that its a place for us to just get away when we need some peace and quiet. Piecing this post left us in a place of wanderlust and we are feigning to return to the island soon. Here are a few of our favorites when we visit. We are going to list this geographically so anyone can use this post as their guide as they trek through. We’re no experts in the island and we know that there is much more to see! Do you have a favorite spot on the island that we didn’t mention or that we must check out? Leave us a comment and we’ll be sure to add that to our list for a future visit!
If you venture off to the north – Princeville + Hanalei areas:
Kīlauea Lighthouse Hike the Kalalau Trail to see the NaPali coastline. This trail is the only way to get land access to the NaPali coast line. Start at Ke’e Beach which is at the end of Kuhio Hwy and where all the gorgeous banyan trees are at. Before you head to the end of Kuhio Hwy, make sure you stop at Háena Beach. There are some dry and wet caves and you’ll also find a man who sells fresh coconuts daily. We hiked at least a mile in to peek into the majestic coastline by foot. And we’ve been lucky to see it by sea during another visit… On your drive back from Ke’e Beach, you can always stop at various vista points. This one in particular is overlooking the Hanalei Valley.
If you venture to the Eastside – Lihue, Kapa’a, Anahola (Warning, most of these are FOOD places. I guess there were lots of ono kine grinds (delicious foods) on the eastside.
One of the best food finds that we encountered was at the Kauai Wild Board & Fruit Stand in Anahola. The stand is located right off of Kuhio Hwy & Hokualele Road. They are only open Friday-Sunday so plan accordingly! It was raining a lot so we were only able to capture this with our mobile phone. The wild boar and fresh huli chicken was delicious along with the sides! Make sure you get the huli huli sauce too! Right across the street from the stand was a person who was selling fresh baked mango bread. Couldn’t help but to buy one…support small business! 🙂 Another one of our favorite spots to grind (eat in Pidgin) is at Kountry Kitchen. They serve awesome macadamia nut pancakes and we also LOVED the fried rice omelette. Another favorite spot for the locals and kamaaina’s is Hamura’s Saimin Stand in Lihue. There is a very local kine of vibe going on here and the seating is communal. You definitely get to hang out with the locals here. This is what we usually order: the Saimin Special and the Likikoi (passion fruit) chiffon pie. THE BEST! After you eat everything mentioned above, you can also make a pit stop to Wailua Falls near by. It’s probably one of the easiest waterfalls to access without having to hike. Parking is fairly easy and you’ll see and hear the falls as soon as you get out of your car.
If you venture to the Westside – Waimea, ‘Ele’ele, Hanapepe
‘Ele’ele is the hub where all the boat charter tours dock from. The one we used to visit the NaPali coast line was through Holo Holo Charters. We recommend doing the NaPali tours before the high tides in the North (November-December). The first time we tried to see the coast, the swells were quite high (up to 12 feet) and it only got worse as we approached NaPali. Luckily during our last visit in May, we made it! Photos below are from both tours.
The Hanapepe Swinging Bridge
Tracy and the Menehune Ditch and Tunnel. The Menehune Ditch is an aqueduct of cut and dressed stones that was once used to bring irrigation water from the Waimea River to the taro fields. It was next to the swinging bridge, so she decided to pose next to it.
Before heading up to Waimea Canyon, make sure you stop over at Ishihara Market for some pupus (appetizers). They have the BEST poke we’ve ever had and crave it all the time. Typically, we plan on eating the poke at our next destination, but we could never wait. Luckily, the market has some picnic tables right outside!
Waimea Canyon – the Grand Canyon of Hawaii
If you venture to the Southside – Poipu, Koloa
Although we ate a ton on the eastside, we love staying in the southside of the island. The sun shines there the most and the beaches are amazing. It really gave us the best of both worlds so we can drive towards the eastside for some good food and get our poke eating on the westside. 🙂 So all we really did on the southside is just relax…..
Tunnel of Trees – before heading into Koloa town, you MUST drive through here. It’s just beautiful. So beautiful, that we even dodged traffic to do a quick shoot there for one of our couples.
Sprouting Horn Blowhole in Poipu
And depending on the time of year you visit, you may catch some great waves down south. These were taken in May.
As we said, we just love the southside because of its beaches and the beautiful sunsets. Here are a few from our stay in Poipu Beach. If you’ve made it this far to our post, thanks for reading and viewing our pics! Enjoy your stay in Kauai and definitely let us know if you have any questions or want tips!