There’s no better remedy to your pandemic woes than a trip to Hawaii. Hawaiian magic is ubiquitious on all the islands—they all hold something unique. Some time spent on Kauai, however, is where you can find an authentic and specific flavor of the Aloha spirit with a few of these tips!
Where to Stay
The island is small enough that you can see a nice portion of it within a week. For a visit in October, I recommend a stay on the southern side of the Island. You’ll get sunnier days if you stick closer to the south.
- Settle into Old Hawaii at the Waimea Plantation Cottages nestled on a black sand beach where the air will kiss your face. Awake to songbirds and palm and plumeria trees that pull you out of bed to catch the sunrise on your lanai. This special place has something for everyone. We stayed in the oceanfront cottage 68 which perfectly accommodates a family of 3 or 4. There is a pool, hammocks strewn beautifully across the resort, lawn games and a restaurant on the premises. The heritage oceanfront and garden cottages are placed alongside each other but far enough distance to have plenty of privacy. Enjoy the rustic charm of yesteryear with old single pane windows, fully equipped kitchen and a private lanai.
Where to go
Best beaches and activities
- There are many beaches to choose from on Kauai and if you are looking for the off the beaten path experience and local’s favorite vibe, an afternoon spent on Molo-aa bay (pronounced Molo-ah-ah) beach on the eastern shore is the one for you. As you enjoy this crescent shaped beach you might recognize it from the popular TV series Gilligan’s Island in the 1960s where some of the pilot episodes were shot. To get there, drive 7 miles north of Kapa’a on Kuhio Highway (Hwy 56), turn right onto Koolau Road. In 1.2 miles turn right on Moloaa Road and follow as it descends into a residential area and ends near the beach path behind the houses leads to the center of the beach.
- Anini Beach is a popular destination on the northern end of Kauai and some say the best family beach on the island. This is the beach to go to if you are looking for long beachcombing days. It’s very family friendly with shallow water that is protected from the swell, picnic tables, pavilions and campgrounds. To get there take Highway 56 past Kilauea. Cross over the Kalihiwai Bridge and then take a right on Kalihiwai Road (the SECOND road with this name). Then take a left on Anini Road and follow it to the beach.
- A boat tour to see the Napali Coast is a great way to experience this famous wonder of the world. There are many outfitters you can book tours. I recommend Makana Charters. This tour is especially good to take if you get seasick or queasy. It’s a large enough boat to help you feel stable and the friendly crew is not only incredibly knowledgeable, but they will also help you have the best experience. Aside from seeing the vast and dynamic landscape, you will get to see spinner dolphins, marine wildlife, and more. The boat stops for snorkeling and lunch. Makana offers discounts—for a family of 3 you will pay around $550 vs. private tour boat company who will charge upwards $1200.
If you like to hike, you won’t want to miss these parks on the western side of the island. Kokee State Park adjacent to Waimea Canyon State Park and what Mark Twain called the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” are spectacular. As you drive along Kokee Road there are several lookouts and places to stop to take in the mind-blowing vistas. There also are several hikes to choose from and explore. We recommend getting your bearings first at the main lodge in Kokee State Park– north of Waimea Canyon- where there is a delicious restaurant and tourist store with plenty of guidebooks, maps and volunteers to help you find what you need. Nearby you also can visit for free the Kokee Natural History Museum featuring the history of Kokee and Waimea forests and is a treasure trove of information about birds and wildlife.
If you are in an adventurous spirit and prepared to get a little muddy, take the Pihea trail for 2 miles and it eventually intersects with Alaka’I trail. To get all the way out to the Kilohana Lookout is 8 miles. You can turn around at any time on this trail. The views are expansive once the fog lifts and you can catch rainbows and expansive views of the ocean and Kalalau valley.
If you are wanting to see some waterfalls the hike called Canyon Trail to Waipoo Falls is a popular path—it is mostly a shaded trail that opens onto beautiful views of the canyon and rock formations reminiscent of the ancient world and ends with the delight of the waterfalls.
Other money saving tips on places to eat, treats and fun!
- Kauai Ramen in Hanapepe $
- Food trucks at Koloa Town $
- Lappert’s Ice Cream in Poipu $
- Lunch or dinner Ama in Hanalei $$$
- Kilauea Fishtown $
- Smith Family Luau $$$ – includes incredible performances