Kauai - 2 Weeks
YELLOW ICON: FOOD
RED HOUSE ICON: WHERE WE STAYED
BLUE SHOPPING BAG ICON: PLACES TO GET UNIQUE SOUVENIRS
GREEN LIGHTNING BOLT ICON: NOTABLE ACTIVITY
BLACK CAMERA ICON: PHOTOGRAPHY LOCATIONS
green hiking man: best Hikes
Kauai is such a laid back island and the size of it allows you to see it all during your trip! You will need to rent a car to get around the island they do not have a lot of taxi’s… if any. Just a quick island layout for you… Lihue is inland, where the Airport is and where you would do a helicopter ride. Waimea is the west side of the island and is very dry. It is known as “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific”. Poipu (our fav place to stay) is on the South side of the Island and is known for its perfect beaches and good weather. It is also a good halfway point on the island. Hanalei is on the North side of the Island and is known for its lush green rainforests. It is also the wettest part of the island. One of the mountains in Hanalei is considered one of the wettest places on earth. For this reason… even though Hanalei it is beautiful and a very popular place to stay…. we don’t recommend staying on the North side of the island unless you would rather sit in the rain at the beach instead of the sun.
WHERE TO STAY
***Let me preface this section by saying that you do not have to spend two weeks in Kauai to get to do and see everything you want***
We have found that staying in Poipu is (in our opinion) the best place to stay on the island! It is the half way point to both Hanalei and Waimea Canyon. This area gets FAR less rain than other parts of the island which means you will get more sunny beach days at your hotel. Hanalei gets a lot of rain so we don’t recommend staying up there but rather doing a lot of day trips to visit!
Marriott's Waiohai Beach Club- We cannot say enough great things about this place. They offer two bedroom, two bathroom condo’s with a full kitchen, and a pull out couch in the living room. Their amenities are amazing with 3 hot tubs two different pools, ponds, grilling area’s, snorkel gear rentals, and a small store. This place really is resort living.
We also love this hotel because it has an amazing sandy beach out front which is a great place to snorkel, there is also a bay area perfect for small kids with a life guard on duty and then further around to the left is Kauai’s best bodysurfing/boogie boarding beach Brennecke. There really something for everyone with in walking distance to your hotel room.
Kauai Juice Co Poipu- If you like organic juices or kombucha from tap then you'll be addicted to this place.
Eating House 1849 Koloa- Great place for a nice dinner. You HAVE to get the chocolate souffle for dessert!!!
Bubba Burgers- Best burger place.
La Spezia- Cozy Italian eatery.
Kalaheo Cafe & Coffee Company- Breakfast
Brick Oven Pizza- We always grab pizza here on the way back from Waimea Canyon.
Mermaids Cafe- Quick place to grab lunch. Great Sandwiches.
Kountry Kitchen- Homestyle breakfast and HUGE pancakes.
Kalypso Restaurant- Popular sit down restaurant. Look towards the mountain across the street to see a waterfall while you eat.
Bubba Burgers- Again, great burger place. This location might be closed.
Reyn Spooner- Upscale shop to find a classic Aloha shirt with the classic Reyn Spooner pattern from 1956. Located in the Kukui'ula Village Shopping Center.
Jacqueline On Kaua'i- Meeting Jacqueline is worth the visit just by itself, but if you're looking for a one-of-a-kind Aloha shirt or some beach shorts/dresses then pick out some fabric and Jacqueline will hand stitch it for you and have it ready for you before your trip is over.
Aloha Spice Company- Pick up the perfect spice rub to make Kalua pork at home. Our favorites are the Alaea Kane Red Hawaiian Sea Salt and Pele's Fire Hawaiian Seasoning Salt.
MUST DO THINGS
Brennecke's Beach- Best bodysurfing/boogie boarding beach. This beach has really big waves perfect for the fearless to catch a good wave! There are also always turtles hanging out at this beach. I go in with goggles and hangout with the turtles while Connor catches waves.
Kauai Culinary Market- Every Wednesday from 3:30pm - 6pm in the shops at Kukuiula. Shop locally made foods and locally grown produce while listening to Hawaiian musicians. P.S. look for "The Right Slice" and sample some of the most delicious pies ever.
Captain Andy's- One of the best ways the see the Na Pali Coast is from the water. Captain Andy’s has so many different options that will get you up close to the most beautiful coastline of Kauai.
Deep Sea Fishing. Fishing can always be hit and miss. We have been out with them 3 times…twice we didn’t catch anything and then one trip we caught a 240 pound Tuna. It is always nice to just be out on the water.
NOTE: If you get motion sick, like I do, be sure to take motion sickness medicine before you go.
Friday Festival and Art Night- Every Friday from 5pm - 9pm. Hanapepe has a street festival with food, craft, and art vendors lining the street.
Blue Hawaiian Helicopters- See the island from above! They offer 45- 55 minute tours that fly you over the island and get you up close to beautiful waterfalls. Truly a once in a lifetime experience.
In our opinion this is best Helicopter Line in Kauai. Safety is their top priority and all of our pilots have been very knowledgable and amazing.
Wailua Kayak & Canoe- Some people like tours, but we definitely recommend grabbing some kayaks for the day at this spot and just kayaking at your own pace to the Wailua Falls trailhead.
Smith Family Garden Luau- Best and biggest traditional style luau. They offer a huge buffet dinner, unlimited Mai Tai’s and a great show after dinner. Also, the show goes on rain or shine and the audience is under a cover so you won’t get wet if a stray tropical storm rolls through.
Tunnels Beach- The road from Hanalei ends at Tunnels Beach. Best snorkeling on the island. The water is shallow at the start and the current is strong, but once you get past the volcanic rock and into deeper water you'll come across vast networks of tunnels with Sea Turtles swimming in and out frequently.
Tip: We would recommend wearing water shoes for this beach because of all the coral and hard rocks.
Queen's Bath Parking & Trailhead- Unique tide pool that is surrounded by rock. It is a dangerous pool during high tide so be sure to be aware and do your research in advance to getting into the water. There is VERY limited parking so waiting for a spot is common. The trail can be incredibly muddy so plan accordingly. We wouldn’t recommend this hike for children.
Hike Duration: 0.8 miles. We spent about two hours total in and out. Moderate Trail
Hanakapiai Trail- Bucket List Hike! Start out as early as possible for this hike. The hike starts at Tunnels beach and continues around with amazing views of the Napali coastline. The halfway point of the trail is at a beach that is best well known for its death count… DO NOT GET IN THE WATER. Seriously, steer clear of the beach as tempting as it might be the current at this beach is VERY strong and it will pull you out to sea. Just check the death count on the wood board as you walk in. It is not worth it. From here some people turn around but keep going to find the most magical bamboo forest and then the amazing waterfall at the end of the trail.
Note: Prepare for this hike in advance. Do not go into it thinking you will just wing it. It is a strenuous hike so bring lots of snacks and water. Check the weather before you go. Do not go if rain is predicted.. There are numerous stream crossings and when rain comes you will not be able to cross. Every year hikers get stuck on this trail because they did not check the weather in advance. This truly is the most amazing hike just do your do diligence in advance.
Hike Duration: 4 hours round trip without stopping for photos or taking breaks. Hard Trail
Wailua Falls Trail- Some people like to do tours, but we definitely recommend grabbing some kayaks for the day at Wailua Kayak & Canoe and just kayaking at your own pace to the Wailua Falls trailhead (where all the other kayaks are). From there you will walk through the rainforest along a winding river to the main waterfall at the end of the trail.
Hike Duration: 14 mile kayak round trip. 6.1 mile in and out trail to the waterfall. Moderate Trail
Pihea Trail- This trail has so many amazing photo spots. You are walking on the ridge of a mountain and looking down at a beautiful valley below. You can either do the entire hike or walk just a few minutes in to get a breathtaking panoramic view.
Hike Duration- 4 miles round trip. We normally don’t do the entire hike but end up spending about two hours here taking photos and hiking around. Easy walk if you just walk down to see the canyon. Moderate Hike if you do the entire hike.