Kauaʻi Travel Guide

My family has roots in Kōloa, Kauaʻi, as that’s where my grandfather was from. I have visited Kauaʻi a few times, and here are my favorite things to do…

St. Regis Princeville, 2016

Wow, I can’t believe that it’s been five years since this picture has taken! The trip I took with family in 2016 was just for a night and I remember that we got into an accident on the way north. It was a pretty crazy day and we had to turn around and exchange the rental car.

The trip I took with friends over Thanksgiving 2018 was a little longer and I got to do a lot more outdoorsy activities. We stayed at a friend’s house on the south side of the island.

This list is a collection of fun things I did when I’ve visited & I hope that this helps you plan your trip:) More from the Hawaiian islands.

Hamura Saimin

2956 Kress Street
Lihue, HI 96766

If you’re hungry when you get off the plane, this is the perfect stop right in Lihue. Hamura Saimin is a classic local establishment that serves up a classic Hawaiian noodle soup, derived from the Japanese ramen. Sit at the counter & order a lilikoi chiffon pie to take home.

Waimea Canyon

On the southwest side of Kauaʻi, this scenic canyon is nicknamed “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” I went to school in Arizona, and had a friend who was always going on weekend trips because she was a geology major. Although much smaller than the canyon in Arizona, this geological wonder stretches 14 miles long, 1 mile wide, and more than 3,600 feet deep. Its lookout provides panoramic views of crested buttes, rugged crags, and deep valley gorges, while the grand inland vistas go on for miles.

The park is open daily during daylight hours and is free to enter. The main road, Waimea Canyon Drive, leads you to a lower lookout point and the main Waimea Canyon Overlook, offering views of Kauaʻi’s dramatic interior. The road continues into the mountains and ends at Kokeʻe State Park. There are numerous trails for beginners and seasoned hikers alike.

Wailua Falls

Kauaʻi is known for its heavy rainfall & waterfalls. These people took me hiking. We parked up at the top of the falls, where there is a lookout above the falls. The trek down is a bit muddy, but there are ropes to assist you in the difficult parts.

I normally don’t do these type of hikes – I’d rate this hike as moderate, but short. When you reach the bottom of the cliff, you realize how grand the falls really are. It really is magical and this is actually one of my favorite hikes of all time!

Waipoʻo Falls

Another day, another waterfall!

This much smaller waterfall turns into a fun stream and is located in Waimea. There are a number of fun hikes that will take you to waterfalls in the park. This hike was easy-to-moderate but prepare to get wet!

Poʻipū

If you’re looking for a bit of life – i.e. shops, restaurants, etc. – go down to this resort town on the water. With great snorkeling and public beaches, this is a great place to spend the day or catch the sunset. The drive there is pretty magical, too!

Kapaʻa

Lined with shops and food trucks, this stop north of Wailua offers a number of options for the east side of the island. This little town definitely has a little bit of everything.

Hanalei Pier

The Hanalei area was hit pretty bad with flooding and homes were destroyed. When I visited in 2018, there was still a lot of damage. However, walking along this beach and pier is such an amazing experience. Kauaʻi truly has some of the most beautiful beaches!

Hanalei is a small town on the north shore of Kauaʻi. Its crescent-shaped beach on Hanalei Bay is amongst mountains and taro fields. Near Princeville, this is a beautiful place to go walking with a lively neighborhood built around the reserve.

Kilohana Plantation

In 1986, Kilohana opened its doors to the public. Since then it has grown from 36 acres of charming gardens to a 104-acre visitor destination, including an agricultural park, Plantation Railway, Gaylord’s Restaurant & Mahikō Lounge, Lūʻau Kalamaku, Kōloa Rum Company, and shops!

Kauaʻi Plantation Railway

Translated from Hawaiian, the name Kilohana literally means “not to be surpassed.” This was certainly the case in 1935, when sugar baron Gaylord Wilcox built his legendary 16,000 square foot plantation estate. In its heyday, Kilohana was the site of many extravagant parties and ceremonies. It remains a Historic Landmark and one of the finest examples of plantation era architecture in Hawaii.

Kōloa Rum offers free daily tastings, and this is a fun stop before heading to Līhuʻe Airport!

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