In this blog post, you will find 11 places to visit in Kauai. With the new year, there come exciting new travel plans. Another chance for adventure to unknown places. Or maybe stop in on one of your favorite destinations. Where ever your heart may lead you, you must follow. This post is long overdue, it has been a few years since my vacation to Kauai but it was one of the most memorable. On this post, I am sharing my favorite places on this island. I hope it will inspire you to book a trip to Kauai for the year of 2018, maybe I’ll join you. I am always up for a Hawaiian getaway.
Hawaii is my favorite family vacation destination. My family never wants to venture anywhere else because we are all addicted to the Hawaiian lifestyle. Life doesn’t get any better than sitting under palm trees on a gorgeous beach or ziplining through lush green mountains. The tropical vegetation all around is unlike any other place on Earth. I have been lucky enough to visit Hawaii many times. It is a second home, a place I wish could be a permanent home. My family dreams of moving out there one day but for now, it is too expensive.
It was almost three years ago when I visited Kauai for the first time. My parents had their honeymoon on Kauai and choose to celebrate their 25th Anniversary in the same spot. But they would not be celebrating alone. There was no way they were leaving my sister and me behind.
Kauai is the most beautiful island with so much to see and do. If you are planning a trip to Hawaii and are not sure which island to go to first you must seriously consider picking Kauai as your first Hawaiian island destination. It is by far my favorite island I have been to so far out of Oahu and the Big Island, and I can’t imagine Maui or Lanai being able to top Kauai. On this blog, I will share with you my top 11 favorite spots on the Garden Island.
Poipu beach is the side of the island we stayed at in Kauai. My family stayed in a perfect 2-bedroom condo decked out in Hawaiian furniture and décor, with a large lanai looking out at the gardens and sunset. I loved starting my day drinking a cup of Kona coffee on the lanai, it was a little slice of heaven.
To get to the beach from the condo there is a hibiscus lined path that leads you a few blocks down to Brennecke’s beach. This is the eastern end of Poipu Beach and where I watched many sea turtles swimming along the rocks. The waves at this end of the beach were strong when we were there, making it the perfect spot for boogie boarding and body surfing. Further down the beach, is the busier section, known as Poipu. The waves are calmer and the area draws a lot of snorkelers. I spent a lot of time here during my stay.
The canyon is one of the most beautiful places on the island and is sometimes called the mini Grand Canyon, but is still enormous and just as breathtaking. We took the day to drive from Poipou and were not prepared for the long windy road up to the canyon. We wanted to hike around the canyon but since we had a late start to our day we only had the energy to view the canyon and the Waipoo Falls from the lookout points. This is well worth the drive up however I wish I would have been able to see more. Make sure that you mentally prepare for a long drive up to the canyon on your trip to Kauai.
The Na Pali Coast & Princeville
Hiking the 11mile, Na Pali Coast, is on my bucket list, along with taking a boat trip here during the humpback whale season. Since the Na Pali Coast was on the opposite side of the island from where we were staying we only had time to visit Princeville for the day. The drive into this beautiful town was most memorable. There were beautiful houses and farms that we passed by that were under the most magnificent lush green mountains that were covered with hundreds of waterfalls.
After our long drive, exploring the town, and grabbing some of the best shave ice, we relaxed on Hideaways beach (Pali Ke Kua Beach). This was a small beach, that felt like a secret beach, it wasn’t crowded at all. It was a much-needed pit stop after all the driving.
Kauai Coffee Company
You cannot visit Hawaii without indulging in the delicious coffee, the best in the world in my opinion. My family made a pit stop at the Kauai Coffee Farm on our way to Waimea Canyon and stopped for the free coffee tasting. All the coffee is 100% Hawaiian grown and roasted on the estate. There are many different roast and flavor options with collections of Kauai Estate Reserve, 100% Kauai Coffees, Ohana Collection, and Singles Serve Coffees. My favorite roast is the Medium Roast Garden Isle but you can’t go wrong with the Coconut Caramel Crunch or Vanilla Macadamia Nut. I didn’t get the chance to take the coffee plantation tour, which I am sure would have been worth the money to learn more about growing coffee beans. There is the option to leisurely walk the grounds for free, a good way to see the coffee trees at no added cost.
I started seeing Kauai Coffee K-cups in Colorado and now that is the only coffee I drink. None of the other coffee I’ve tried can compete. The medium roast just tastes so fresh and when I add coconut creamer I have my very own cup of paradise, it is the only way to wake up in the morning.
Wailua Falls & Waterfalls Everywhere
Wailua Falls is a popular tourist attraction that is both beautiful and easy to access. Making it a perfect pit stop to take as you explore the island. The waterfall cascades at a magnificent depth of what is thought to be 200ft down. Whenever you are on a Hawaiian island the waterfalls are a must see. When driving up to Princeville keep your eyes on the mountain peaks, there are what looks like hundreds of waterfalls that can be seen after a lot of rain. One of the most incredible views in the world.
I recommend this activity even though I did not get the chance to do it but it sounds incredibly fun. There are options to take you down the river with kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, and boat tours. With the jungle surrounding the river and a chance to see two waterfalls up close. It is a perfect opportunity to see more of the islands natural beauty. May even have a turtle follow along for the ride.
Salt Pond Beach Park
After the long trek, up to the Waimea Canyon, my family needed some beach time. Lucky for us the Salt Pond Beach was close by. This beach is quiet with calm water and gets its name from the pools located close to the beach where local Hawaiian families collect natural sea salt. The salt is used for cooking and medicinal purposes and can be found in a few local markets on the island.
Another must-see tourist attraction is the natural Spouting Horn blowhole. It is easy to access on the South shore of Poipou. The perfect spot to take photos of the water and stop for a family photo. May even see a humpback whale during the whale season, (December to May). My family really enjoyed the local market that is set up here, there was a lot of handmade Hawaiian goods that were perfect for souvenirs.
This was one of the most memorable experiences of my life and the best place for a first-time zip-lining adventure. My family and I did the 4 ½ hour zip lining course through Outfitters Kauai. The location is on Kipu Ranch right underneath the magnificent sleeping giant (Nounou Mountain). The landscape is the setting for many films like Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones, and Jurassic Park. I felt like I was going to see dinosaurs at any moment when hiking through the jungle. The tour was made up of 7 lines that fly over the canopy, from tree house to tree house, into a water-filled lava tube, and is home to Hawaii’s largest line at ¾ of a mile long. The zip-line guides with Outfitters make the experience fun and give a lot of information about the landscape and the famous movies filmed on the island. When Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed there Johnny Depp would dress in his full Captain Jack costume and go into bars and buy a round of drinks for everyone.
Nothing was more beautiful than the tour through the botanical gardens, Allerton Gardens. The 100-acre gardens were once a private estate and are now preserved as a National Tropical Botanical Garden. This mystic landscape was another spot where Jurassic Park and many other movies were filmed. The most iconic spot is the Moreton Bay fig trees where the dinosaur eggs were discovered in the movie. The tour guide we had was very informational about the gardens, the plants, and history, with many stories about the family and Queen Emma who all once lived there. I learned so many interesting things on this tour.
The location of the gardens is right across the street from the Spouting Horn on the South side of Poipou. As you walk through the artfully designed outdoor “rooms” you will see the art collection of Robert Allerton integrated with the architecture artfully crafted by John Gregg Allerton. There are so many wonderful plants to see including many tropical trees. The Garden is also involved in a Global Hunger initiative by researching and informing people about a nutrient dense fruit called breadfruit. Using their efforts with this plant to end world hunger in tropical regions all over the world.
Make sure you put this location on your itinerary when visiting Kauai, I promise it is worth every penny and will be an experience you will not forget.
This unbelievably picturesque spot was discovered by Bird Man Tim, my dad. Whenever my family goes on vacation he has a few birding expeditions planned with unique locations that I would have never thought about going to. He will spend hours walking around taking photos of birds. My mom, sister, and I don’t always go with him because it can be pretty time consuming and boring. We would rather be spending that precious time at the beach. But my family made a pitstop here on the way to Princeville and the view was worth the stop, as you can see from the photos. The lighthouse was built in 1913. The peninsula is an ideal location to watch the humpback whales breaching during whale season. If your looking for birds or a nice view this is a great stop.
There is never a bad time of year to go to Hawaii. But being there in the spring during the end of April and early May was my favorite time of year. The tropical flowers are in full bloom everywhere you go. One of the biggest reasons I want to move to Hawaii is the number of things you can grow in the garden. The options are endless with papayas, mangoes, coffee, chocolate, bananas, pineapple, avocado, dragonfruit, starfruit, and so much more. Here are more photos of the beautiful plants and trees of Kauai:
If you have any questions about Kauai or need any help planning your trip remember I am always eagerly willing to help!
Thanks for stopping by and reading my post.
Stay tuned for more Hawaii posts! I will be sharing my favorite things about Hawaii all month long!