Kauai is Hawaii’s oldest and northernmost island, sometimes referred to as the “Garden Island”; it has stunning landscapes of emerald valleys, jagged cliffs and sharp, mountain spires. Tropical rainforests and cascading waterfalls form part of the dramatic beauty of Kauai with a wide range of outdoor activities to enjoy including hiking, zip lining, kayaking, snorkelling and other endless options. The two resort hubs are Princeville in the North and Poipu in the South with a good variety of places to stay and delicious dining venues. Filled with diverse geography, Kauai has at least 145 endangered species of plants and exotic birds; some of which exist nowhere else in the world but on Kauai.
Kauai is made up of five regions; north shore, west side, east side, Poipu and Waimea so why not hire a car and make your way around exploring all the wonderful sights and sounds of this incredible island; give yourself at least five days. Topping the “Things to do” list are the Napali Coast, Waimea Canyon, Kayak the Wailua River, hiking and Hanalei. There are plenty of places to stay with over 100 hotels, resorts, rentals and eco-friendly campgrounds suited to any budget. The temperature is beautiful year round, with the coolest month (January) having average highs of 78 degrees. Of course you can’t have lush rainforests without tropical rain but it doesn’t ruin your stay at all as it isn’t all day every day.
Lihue, the capital of Kauai is a good place for groceries and is home to the Kauai Museum which provides an overview of the island’s history. Stop for a cool drink at Kauai Beer Co in downtown Lihue and enjoy a local brew.
Kauai is a great golf destination with 12 world class golf courses to test your ability and for the non-golfers there are world renowned spas, historic plantations, local diverse shops, markets, art galleries and more to explore.
Kauai is a hiking paradise, as a small volcanic island there are an abundance of natural wonders just waiting to be discovered. The rain forest of Kokee, the bogs of the Alakai swamp and the hanging valley of the Napali Coast are firm favourites. There are hundreds of trail choices for every level of hiker. Being able to explore parts of the island inaccessible by car is a hiker’s paradise; surround yourself with tranquillity, historical archaeological sites and the natural environment with a choice of over 120 miles of designated hiking trails.
Kapaa is a cool place to visit with tourist shops, beautiful coastal bike path, markets and a memorable food truck scene. The main tourist hub on the south shore is Poipu where multiple golf courses, coastal walking trails, luaus, beaches and a range of restaurants provide a happy throng of visitors.
Kauai features over 50 miles of sandy beaches with warm waters, paradise coves and surfing shores. Voted amongst the top beaches on the planet, choose from one of the life-guarded beaches or something more secluded. White sand, warm turquoise waters and tropical backgrounds will remove any of the stresses and strains of daily life left behind, spend hour’s snorkelling, paddle boarding, wind surfing or simply strolling along the shore taking in the island view. Anini Beach on the North Shore boasts the longest, widest fringing reef in the Hawaiian Islands with some of the most consistent conditions for water activities. Relax with a book, fish from the shore or paddle board over the lively reef. Conditions can have strong currents in the channels and beyond the protective reef, always check conditions and stay closer to shore.
Poipu Beach features Nukumoi Point, separating two bays, a narrow sand spit that extends from shore to an island.
The tombola at Poipu Beach is a firm favourite place for snoozing endangered Hawaiian monk seals.
Body boarders head to the western side of the beach where small waves break gently on the shallow sandbar, a fun area for children to play.
Families also prefer the left of the sandbar where there is a protected and shallow area for swimming, great for small children.
Poipu Beach Park has been voted the #1 beach in America; quite a claim to fame. The weekends are busy with picnics, parties, lawn games and activities; it’s a wonderful place to be.
There are so many beaches in Kauai is tough to choose so take a minute to browse through the options and make a list of the one you don’t want to miss.
Shipwreck Beach is a favourite with locals for surfing and body surfing, located in front of the Grand Hyatt Hotel, usually the beach with large surf so not so much for swimming or boogie boarding. This beach hosts the start of the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail too, a hike to explore the coastline.
Polihale Beach is the longest stretch of beach in the state of Hawaii with seventeen miles of white sand and sand dunes, popular for beach-combing and shelling.
Hanalei on Kauai’s north shore is a picturesque town with waterfalls and jungle-covered mountains as a backdrop, a great base to explore the Napali Coast; one of the most scenic places in Hawaii.
Remember a beach umbrella; it’s hot and without shade so put up your beach umbrella and settle back with a good book.