I just got back from Kauai, Hawaii. So here is a list of great things to do and see when you go. Plus I have included an itinerary!
Beaches on each side of the island:
- North – Tunnels Beach aka Makua Beach (amazing beach for snorkeling), Ke’e beach and caves
- South – Shipwreck Beach, Poipu Beach Park and the Salt Ponds beach
- East – Lydgate park beach (very family friendly), Kalapaki Beach
- West – Kekaha Beach, Polihale State Park (best one in Kauai)
- Kalalau Trails
- Sleeping Giant
- Wiamea Canyon (several hikes you can go on)
- Koke State park (many great views and hikes)
Places to Eat:
- Rob’s Good Times Grill
- Monico’s Taqueria
- Bangkok Happy Bowl Thai Bistro
- Puka Dog (Hawaiian Style Hot Dogs amazing!)
- Brick Oven Pizza
- Tropical Dreams Hawaiian Gourmet Ice Cream (coffee ice cream!)
Random stuff to do:
- Kayak tour on the Wailua River up to the Secret Falls
- Take a bike ride along the Kauai Bike Path (rentals are $5-$10 per hour)
- Checkout the farmers market in Lihue is on Saturday mornings at 9 am at the community college
- Explore Hananapepe (the bookstore there is legit!)
- Tour the Kauai Coffee Company (free coffee samples)
Day 1 –Beach day (south end) – Shipwreck Beach, Poipu Beach Park and the Salt Ponds beach are all great. We loved the town of Poupi they have many great food options! Also walk the Koloa Heritage Trail while in Poipu and go see the Spouting Horn just a few minutes away – Directions to – Drive through tunnel of trees – beautiful scenic drive!
Day 2 – Day in Kapaa, check out the local area, bike ride along the Kauai Bike Path (you can rent them from $5-$10 per hour depending on the rental place), hike up the Sleeping Giant, go to the Opaeka’a Falls lookout, you can also visit the Kamokila Village and Kalepa Ridge while in the area.
Day 3 – North shore day – Hike the Kalalau Trail (Directions). Then head back and Hike to Queens Bath and go to the town of Hanalei for lunch and see it’s lookout. Please note, Queens bath was a death trap in January when we went due to the waves so we couldn’t swim, but we did get to see it which is still cool.
Day 4 – Waimea Canyon Day – explore the area and Koke’e State Park for great hiking. Don’t want to hike all day? No problem, you can also possibly swim at Kekaha Beach (if the tide is low, which in the winter months is hard to do, we couldn’t swim here due to the riptide) alternatively you can go to the best beach on the island – Polihale State Park (but we did this as a day trip all by itself).
Day 5 – Take a kayaking tour on the Wailua River up to the Secret Falls. It’s a 2 mile kayaking trip followed by a 1.5 mile hike (out and back) to the falls and then you kayak back down river. We used Alii’s Kayaks for the tour because it was the cheapest ($110 for two of us and you can book on their site). You can also take a ferry up the river if you don’t feel like kayaking!
Day 6 –
Second north shore day – if time and weather permits, snorkel at Tunnels Beach aka Makua Beach (most famous beach on the north shore for snorkeling), Ke’e beach and caves. All of this is weather permitting, it rains a lot in the winter up here.
So it was super rainy/cloudy up north when we went in January, so we actually went to the Kauai Coffee Company and then headed west to Polihale State Park.
Day 7 – Hang out and go to the beaches near Lihue. The Lydgate park beach is good and it’s right on the bike/walking path and the Kalapaki Beach is awesome because they have both nice grass areas, sand areas and you can rent paddle boards, surf boards or body boards. Plus you can have lunch or dinner at Duke’s barefoot bar while you’re there!
Each day also allocates time to spend at the beach as the activities don’t typically last all day, especially if you are still on your own time zone and you wake up super early every day like us (4 am every day).
Also as far as places to stay goes, we stayed at the Hilton Grand near Kapaa, but I would not recommend this place. It was not very clean, for example I received three beach towels with what appeared to be blood stains on them. I would, however, recommend the Marriott Beach Resort in Lihue or staying down in Poipu (it’s a beautiful area and there is a lot to do/see).