if you have you ever wondered what living in paradise would feel like ... then we will show you - join us for a day and you will discover the very best sights on Kauai - all the traditional highlights and then so much more - with us you will explore Kauai the way your best friend would share it with you
here is a quick overview of the island and it's 4 distinct shores: The East Side, West Side, South Shore + North Shore. Kauai is small enough to do a driving tour to all shores during a day - but where you stay + play will flavor your vacation significantly - it will determine the majority of your activities + the impression you get of Kauai.
East Side - once favored by Hawaiian royalty, the eastern shore of the island is known as the Coconut Coast because of the thousands of coconut trees planted here more than a century ago. nowadays it's home to the capital, Lihue, where the airport is located and many of the of the island's budget hotels + condominiums. you will also find the Kukui Grove shopping mall, Costco, Walmart + Kmart. close by are the impressive Wailua Falls - with their 179' drop waterfalls and Lydgate County Park, which has some of the safest swimming on the eastern shore.
Lihue - our favorite place in Lihue is Kalapaki Bay + the pools at the Marriott Beach Resort. Kalapaki is the perfect place to learn to surf and enjoy a cocktail on the beach - stay for a while and enjoy Dukes Barefoot Bar + Kukui's Restaurant - there are no other promenades with outside dining like this on Kauai - it is magical at night when the beach is illuminated by tiki torches.
East Side - the town Kapaa is home to the majority of the island's population and is experiencing quite the revival these days - hip boutiques, food trucks, coffee shops, restaurants make this a fun place to visit in the afternoon + early evening. park your car at the soccer field across from Bubba's and walk the 2-3 blocks of this part of town. or start with breakfast at Cafe Hemmingway and then rent a bike from one of the many outfitters and paddle along the coast ... remember to pack your swim suit and stop at Kealia Beach or Donkey beach for a swim + shower (please always make sure to check with local lifeguards for current ocean conditions before swimming at either beach!) ... another lively experience is the monthly Saturday Night Art Walk + Festival in Kapaa
South Shore - in the southern shore's Poipu area, the weather is usually dry + sunny year round, so the region draws the most tourists. Poipu is filled with multiple hotels and resorts, the beaches are mostly rocky, with short beach breaks, but nonetheless spectacular. Kukui'ula + the Poipu Shopping Center feature many nice restaurants and great shopping - the Hyatt Regency is a must see. our tip: make sure to to pack your swim suit and spend some time on the beach in front of the Hyatt and if you dare jump off the cliffs at Shipwrecks. Poipu and Koloa are popular places to shop and dine. For a delicious sunset ocean view dinner make reservations at The Beach House in Poipu.
West Side - the further west you drive the more dry + arid the land gets - lush green mountains make room for jaw dropping red dirt canyons. it is always sunny on the West Side and often hot in the summer! the biggest draw are the famous Waimea Canyon + the Koke'e Hiking trails - definitely a must see - so you should plan to spend a day here! Along the way stop in the small historic towns of Hanapepe + Waimea. If you wish to swim check out the life-guarded beach cove at Salt Pond. If you have a 4 wheel drive you can visit Polihale Beach - this endless white sandy beach is considered the other end of the island - the road ends here - the Na Pali begins. Polihale is all sand dunes and an endless beach - but swimming is not advised due to strong currents. In the mid afternoon you will see the kayaks land here. their trip started at 7 am at Haena Beach Park on the North Shore - and they are finishing their journey down the spectacular Na Pali Coast right here at Polihale where a van will pick them up and take them back to the outfitter. While on the West Side you can visit the Kauai Coffee Company + Plantation - with over 4 million coffee trees grown on 3,100 acres - they are the largest coffee grower in Hawaii + the U.S.
North Shore - this is hands down the prettiest part of the island - so we dedicated an entire page to it - please look for our North Shore page - in the meantime here is some info in a nutshell: the weather is usually sunny in the summer ( May - October ) this is also the time when swimming, snorkeling and diving on this side of the island are at it's best and safest. come October the first swells turn a crystal clear and flat Hanalei Bay + Tunnels Beach into a surfers paradise. Hanalei Bay is one of Hawaii's iconic + exceptional surfing waves and the town is an authentic beach + surfing town. it can be wet in the winter ( November - April ), but don't worry there are still plenty of sunny days - often with some of the sunniest days during the christmas holidays. in our personal experience November, February, March + April tend to be the rainiest. on those days we pack the car and drive until we find the sun. the North Shore has it all - charming towns, amazing beaches, jaw dropping emerald green mountain ranges and waterfalls and rainbows. You haven't seen Kauai until you have been to this part of the island. the best and most popular places to stay are in Hanalei, Haena and Princeville