Calling All Kauai Aficionados

Being an expert planny planner, I am putting together a list of things to do while in Kauai. I would love any suggestions! This is what I have so far…


Beach House
Caffe Coco


Zodiac Boat Tours – Na Pali Coast
Secret Beach
Waimea Canyon
Kilauea Lighthouse
Drinking cold libations at the hotel pool (my personal favorite)

What am I missing? Any thoughts regarding this list? Got any tips? I can give you lots of tips…English tips…

  • nicole

    March 23, 2009 at 8:40 am

    for a light adventure you could kayak. When we were in Kauai we had access to free kayaks and went up the Wailua River aways, and hiked 1 mile (not strenuous) to a 100 ft waterfall. Very pretty. Plus wild chickens in the forest, are always funny. The river is pretty flat water so its not difficult, particularly in a 2 man kayak. There are tour groups that do this also, a quick google found this one: http://www.outfitterskauai.com/wailua.html Although i am sure there are others that might be cheaper.

  • Legallyblondemel

    March 23, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Kauai is amazing, my favorite Hawaiian island. Just gorgeous.

    Have you thought about doing a helicopter tour? They are expensive, but so worth it to really take in the incredible coastline.

  • parsingtime

    March 23, 2009 at 9:45 am

    We were in Kauai in December and went on a helicopter tour which was pretty amazing. We also enjoyed Kilauea Bakery & Pau Hana Pizza for a quick lunch. Their chocolate macademia nut pie (like pecan pie but with macs) was divine. Go in just for cake or cookies!

    Also, don’t order the Top Shelf Mai Tai at Beach House (make reservations for sunset), you will be drunk after three sips!

  • Tammi Marie

    March 23, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Good list! I also recommend the Beach House, Tidepools, the Waimea Canyon and the lighthouse.

    This is what you are missing: http://ntbg.org/gardens/allerton.php
    It’s amazing.

    I also recommend snorkeling on Ke’e beach and Tunnels beach on the north shores.

  • Rachel

    March 23, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Beach House: YES, so good. I had a coconut/macadamia nutty drink there that tasted like heaven. The food was awesome too.

    Secret Beach: Yes.

    Polihale Beach: MILES of deserted white sand, there were only a handful of other people there when we went.

    Moloa’a Bay: we ended up going there twice, we loved it so much.

    I have a ton more suggestions since we loved everything we did! You’ll have agreat time no matter what :)

    Also I hope you already have this: http://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Kauai-Guidebook-Revealed/dp/0981461018/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1237827102&sr=1-1

  • Christy

    March 23, 2009 at 10:10 am

    I just have to say that the Beach House is great! They open up the walls when the weather’s nice and the sunsets are amazing.

    We did the outfitters tour that involved kayaking, hiking, zip-lines, and waterfalls, and that was great fun – just MAKE SURE to bring the heavy duty bug spray.

    The absolute best thing we did was the helicopter tour around the island. It was not cheap at all, but I would do it again in a second. We saw whales, flew into to Mt. Wai’ale’ale’s crater, and saw some hidden waterfalls. We still watch the video we bought. I think the name of the company was Blue Hawaiian.

  • Vanessa

    March 23, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Wish I had some tips, instead I’m just a tad bit jealous! : )
    Have fun!

  • Catherine

    March 23, 2009 at 11:32 am

    My tip is that you should bring your faithful readers! Or at least take tons and tons of pics so we can live vicariously when you get back!

  • TJ

    March 23, 2009 at 11:41 am

    If you’re definitely going out to Waimea Canyon, stop by Kokee. The Wailua River kayak can be fun – head to the Fern Grotto, which is usually only accessible by the tour or kayak.

    When headed to/from Princeville/Hanalei, take the back round around Sleeping Giant. Rolling hills, lots of green, road not so curvy that you’ll get carsick.

    The Orchid festival in Hanapepe at the end of March is always nice.

    Careful at Kauapea (Secret beach) – The rip current can be brutal.

    Have a great time! My Dad was born and raised there so it’s always been a spesh place for us.

  • Kerri Anne

    March 23, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Two piña coladas. (One for each hand.)

    (Um, I just quoted a Garth Brooks’ song in your comments. I blame Monday.)

  • Tracy

    March 23, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    When my sister and I were there in 2006 we toured the Hindu Monestary. It is on a BEAUTIFUL piece of land, and so peaceful. The were in the process of building a new temple when we were there, but it might be done now. They don’t do tours every day, so you might want to check their website.

    And Duke’s at the Kauai Mariott had really good fish tacos.

    And you should definitely do Waimea Canyon.
    Have FUN!

  • Darcey

    March 23, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    I don’t have any suggestions, as I haven’t been yet… but I will be heading there in June, and will look to you to be my guru! (In addition to my bff who lives there and is letting us stay for FREE!!!!)

  • martymankins

    March 23, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Kauai and Maui are next for us (we just got back from Oahu and Kona). I will be using your blog post as suggestions (I know you will blog about your trip… you’d better!) when we end up going.

  • Lauren

    March 23, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Check out the book Kauai Revealed. These “Revealed” books have really made our Hawaiian vacations great.


  • Gillian

    March 23, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    I’m sure doing a tour by water of the Na Pali coast would be lovely… I hiked (not too strenuous of a hike) the first few miles of the trail down to a lovely beach. Even the first little bit of it gives some incredible views of the coastline. Plus, if you have snorkle gear, you can snorkle at the beach near the trail head and there are lots of ginormous sea turtles there.

    Also, friends did a helicopter tour of the island and their photos are stunning, it looks like it was amazing.

  • Kristen

    March 23, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Up by the Marriot that is near the airport (not the one that is by Poipu) there is a really cute little brew pub that has microbrews, is inexpensive, has awesome outdoor seating where you have one of the BEST view’s that we had there. It’s really not well known because it is located in an area that was damaged by the hurricane many many years ago and part of it was not rebuilt (the center, not the brewpub – which was indeed rebuilt!) :) We haven’t been there in about 4 years – so I HOPE it’s still there! It was just a little gem to find it. You could call the Marriot and ask them more details… they are known for their “Whale Burger” which I believe is a 4lb cheeseburger! Make sure you sit ouside – we went in February and saw countless whales breaching during our meals. It was really fabulous! Oh – and I second the Beach House – but try to get a seat near the window – and around sunset. They have kick ass martinis too! Have a blast!

  • cbs

    March 23, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    i am not sure where you are staying, but all of our favorites are on the north shore. be sure to hike the kalalau trail for the most amazing views of the na pali coast-and go to tunnels beach while you are there. we go to java kai every morning for breakfast-we live at papayas-and eat tropical taco almost everyday for lunch ( all in hanalei. curt always takes his surf lessons in hanalei bay. if you are on the poipu side- the lagoon pool at the grand hyatt is my favorite. lamberts ice cream shop is to die for and there is a great pizza place a couple doors down.

  • kate

    March 23, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    I haven’t read the other comments yet because I got so excited to tell you that you MUST go snorkeling off Niihau if you can. We were scheduled to go snorkeling off the Napaali Cliffs but it was too windy so they diverted us to Niihau. The water is crystal-clear; we saw tons of turles and could hear the humpback whales.

    Also, Glass Beach. If you don’t have it yet, get the Kauai Revealed book. It’s mentioned in there. But you’re not supposed to take any of the glass home…

    Have a blast; I’m sooo jealous.

  • kate

    March 23, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Make your reservations to The Beach House as soon as you get there, for the end of your trip. We went there on our last night and it was a great way to end a wonderful trip!

    We stayed in the south on Poipu and it was fabulous. But heading out to the Barking Sands Beach was so much fun – it’s treacherous to get there (5 miles on cane roads which took us about 45 minutes), but SO beautiful and quiet once you’re there! Also the Huleia Nature Reserve was a cool place to walk around: so beautiful!

    You can’t help but have a wonderful time – hope it’s amazing!

  • Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com

    March 23, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    I wish I had tips, but I’ve never been. So instead I’ll just sit here jealous. Sigh.

  • shannon

    March 23, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Blue Hawaiian helicopter tour was amazing– expensive, but such a great overview of the island, and you really get to see some can’t-otherwise-reach spots. The guidebook everyone mentions above is really invaluable.

  • Lin

    March 23, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    A young (your age) friend just got back so I asked for her recommendations and her note follows. Have a super trip!

    Tell them to do the hike on the north shore that begins at Kee beach and follows the na pali coast! They need a permit to go past the first part and if they want to camp. We just did the first two miles and that was enough for us and took a few hours…It is stunning….

    Terry took a surfing lesson at Poipu beach on the south shore and loved it. He just walked into the surf shop near the big seafood restaurant that’s across from a big playground…can’t miss it…

    Body surfing beach is called Brennecke

    There is good shoreline snorkeling in Poipu next to Brennecke

    Waimea canyon is cool. I’ve heard folks rave about helicopter rides that take you into the canyon but we just drove up and stopped at two different lookout points for the views…

    Bubba’s burgers are great! There are two, on east side of island and in Hanalei

    And we had delicious fish tacos near (but not in) the big hanalei village shopping center.

  • Kristen

    March 23, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Whaler’s Brew Pub – that’s the name of the great place I mentioned earlier! :)

  • Gillian

    March 23, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    I can second the fish tacos mentioned above. There is a little stand that has amazing fresh fruit smoothies in the Hanalei village shopping area.
    Fish Tacos + Fresh Fruit Smoothie = Heaven in the form of lunch.

  • Chuck Lasker

    March 23, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Several have mentioned the helicopter tours. That’s an absolute must for visitors here. The drive from Hanalei to Ke’e Beach (the end of the road), including 7 one-lane bridges, is amazing. Be sure to eat at The Hanalei Gourmet in Hanalei – best fish sandwich on the island, and I’ve tried most! Also, check out Queen’s Bath. Do a Google search, or, better, buy the Ultimate Kauai Guidebook right after landing, as it has a map: http://www.wizardpub.com/Kauai/kauai.html – It’s available just about everywhere here.

  • Carrie

    March 23, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Surprise! I am your secret reader who never comments. But for Kauai – I will comment! We are going back at the end of April for our thrid visit. We LOVE it there! Get the Kauai revealed book (also known as The Ulitmate Kauai Guidebook). The boat tours along the Napili coast are fun, even better if you stop to snorkel. My favorite snorkeling is at Tunnels on the North side of the island. Rent some snorkel gear for the week (Snorkel Bob’s) or just bring your own and always keep it in the car so you will have it whenever you decide to stop at a good beach. Favorite beach is Polihale/Barking Sands. The beach in front of the Sheraton in Poipu is a close second. Oh… and Lumahai Beach (it is in the movie South Pacific) is great too. The best shave ice on the island is at JoJo’s. It is on the highway between Poipu & the entrance to Waimea Canyon. If you do any hiking, remember that the red dirt stains and stains BAD! It gets slippery easily with only a little bit of rain, and then you slip and your clothes get ruined. (Or at least I always slip and my clothes are always ruined!) Kipu Falls is another slippery spot but very cool because you can jump off the top of the waterfall! Queen’s Bath is another cool spot and worth the short hike to get to it (but don’t go in the “Queen’s Jacuzzi” – the little pool right by the ocean – very scary if a wave comes). Old Kaloa Town is fun for dinner or just strolling around the shops. We love to eat at Pizzetta there. Kauai, I heart you! Do I really have to wait another month go go?

  • Kristin

    March 24, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Be sure to check into this –


  • Raychelle

    March 24, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    For lunch one day…check out Shaka Tacos in Kapa’a…get the Ahi taco with mango salsa…deeeelicious!

    Oh and the kayaking thing that Nicole mentioned in the first comment is totally worth it…the waterfall is fabulous!

    Oh and we did a 4 wheeler tour…it was very muddy and all of my clothes that I was wearing are now a rust tint,…but it was a blast! I highly recommend it.

  • Linda

    March 24, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Amid the many wonderful comments, a glaring omission is to tour the botanical gardens. I hope you have a wonderful trip!

  • heels

    March 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    I don’t know if they have them year-round, but we love to go to the farmer’s markets on the weekend. It’s fun to see all of the different kinds of produce available, and I like getting a fresh coconut to drink (and I DON’T CARE how touristy it may be).

    I have lots of other good tips for going with a toddler, but I’ve never been there with just my husband. I’m jealous of that opportunity!

  • Nicole

    March 24, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    Seven years ago I had the best waffles of my life at the Princeville Resort. I had them every single morning for an entire week. I don’t know what they put in the batter, but it was amazing with a little bit of whipped cream and fruit. YUM!

  • Ninabi

    March 26, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Kauai is going to be great- but the SWEET 16 is of the utmost importance right now!!


    Three of our alma mater schools are in the tournament. The excitement is killing us.

    But- do have fun in Hawaii. I can’t think that you wouldn’t have an amazing time there no matter what you do!

  • cat

    March 26, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    be entertained

  • Newswiz

    March 27, 2009 at 8:46 am

    We took one of the catamarans for a late afternoon/dinner trip around the coast. It’s a great way to get an overview of the island before you do the tourist thing. Saw some orcas, but you have to have a very long lens. There were free drinks so you could have a blast. Take flip flops as they make you stow your shoes on the dock and you don’t want to be barefoot — especially in the head! In rough waters, going to the bathroom can be a pain bordering on gross. Just take disinfecting hand cleaner.

  • PB Rippey/sleepless mama

    March 27, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    Kee Beach should be on the list–especially if you go early. The snorkeling is lovely–plus you get to drive through Hanalei on the way there–a precious little town. It’s nice to visit that side of the island if you’re not staying in Princeville. To see turtles, go to Queens Bath (Princeville). Very cool walk there and turtles galore. Plus, you can swim in the pools. Aloha!

  • Jennifer

    March 30, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    My favorite beaches were any of them on the south shore… but mostly Poipu… best for sunning, people watching, body surfing, boogey boarding, snorkeling, etc. There are usually sea turtles and seals on the beach there in the AM and PM too… You can bring a cooler of cold beverages to drink, since most of the beaches don’t have Cabana boys :)

    What we loved was renting a jeep for the week and just driving all over and checking out the whole island!

    We got married behind the beach house on the lawn and had our reception there… it was fabulous! Great spot to watch the sunset too.