It’s the ultimate paradise. Lush, rugged landscapes that will blow your mind. Kauai is a dream. From the stunning beaches that will take your breath away, even before you step foot on the soft golden sand to the majestic beauty of the Napali Coast, the “Garden Isle” is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful islands in the world.
With a population of more than 60,000 people, this round shaped island is the oldest of the Hawaiian Islands and one of my favorites.
As soon as you get off the plane the tropical adventure begins. No trip to Kauai is complete without seeing the iconic Napali Coast. Experience it by land, sea or air.
17 miles of coastline, sheer cliffs, emerald valleys and sky-high waterfalls. Nothing compares to the Napali Coast.
Next head West. The road to Polihale State Park is rough, but the views will be mind-blowing. This is the last beach on the West side. With the Napali Cliffs as the backdrop, and views of Niihau in the distance, this beach does not disappoint. Escape here for the sunset.
We set up camp above the sand dunes overlooking the water, and watched as the sun set over the water, the colors of the sky slowly turned into a vibrant pink/lilac hue. At night its a light show, you’ll see shooting star after shooting star.
Travel tip: Book the camping permit online and print it before your stay, it’s only $12.
If you’re looking for sunny skies head South, to Poipu. This is where you’ll find the fancy resorts, a second Kauai Juice, Co. and Shipwreck beach, where I tried slacklining for the first time in my life. Head towards the golf course, for a peaceful scenic walk along the coast. Don’t be surprised if you get caught in the occasional downpour, chances are it won’t last too long.
Goats at Waimea Canyon
The Grand Canyon of the Pacific
It’s a two lane windy road to Waimea Canyon. More than 3,000 feet deep, you won’t find a gem like this anywhere else in Hawaii.
There are countless drive-up photo ops throughout Waimea Canyon and plenty of hikes. One of my favorites is located in Kokee State Park, and overlooks the secluded Kalalau Beach, the final destination of the 11-mile Kalalau Trail.
On the East side you’ll find a Sleeping Giant- This hike is easy and takes you through a stunning green forest at the base, you’ll eventually smell the sweet aroma of strawberry guavas as you get ready to soak in a 360 degree view of the island. Pause and Enjoy the moment.
Sleeping Giant hike
SATISFY YOUR TASTEBUDS
- Bar Acuda– Ordered most of the pupus (appetizers) on this menu. The tapas are priced on the higher end, but you won’t be disappointed.
- Kauai Juice Company – a local favorite. Try this!
- The Dolphin Restaurant– fresh fish and a great ambiance.
- First Saturdays in Old Kapaa Town offers plenty of vendors with a variety of cuisines.
- Hanapepe Town Art Walk on First Fridays of every month has a selection of food trucks that hit the spot.
North Shore, Kauai
A breeding ground for some of the world’s best surfers. The North shore is lush, it’s striking and it’s exactly what you dream this island will look like before you see it for the first time. At the end of the road you’ll find Ke’e beach, where the Kalalau trail begins. The backdrop is dramatic. On the way back, be sure to stop at Tunnels beach, Princeville, and Hanalei.
Take your time. Your mind, body and soul won’t regret it.
I could really go on and on, but these are just a few of my favorites. What’s your favorite thing to do, see, or experience on the island? What’s on your list?
Love to hear your feedback in the comments.