Okay, back to Kauai for a sec.
Reason 1. It is paradise. That good enough a reason to dwell on it every moment I’m not there, right?
Reason 2. In my last post about Kauai, I mentioned tips for budget traveling and not so much what to do there. There are really a ton of incredible places to see, eat, camp, and just be on this island. Here’s a list of what we would recommend not to miss if possible all around Kauai.
The best place to camp, hands down. This remote State Campground is the westernmost public land on the whole island. It’s accessible only by a relatively unmarked dirt road miles past the small town of Kekaha (four wheel drive is recommended, but not necessary- just steer clear of potholes and sand). The trek is more than worth it. Miles of pristine sandy beach line the coast, and because of its remoteness, the area is uncrowded. Swimming isn’t ideal here due to strong currents and rough waves, but in all other aspects this place is HEAVEN.
“The Grand Canyon of the Pacific”: A 10 mile canyon sprinkled with gushing waterfalls, epic lookouts and glorious hiking trails. This is a good place to go for instant gratification by means of stunning roadside lookouts, as well as for putting yourself further into the canyon’s beauty by way of hiking. Our favorite overall canyon experience was the Awa’awapuhi hike. A few mile trek through the lush rainforest spits you out atop the fluted ridge overlooking the Nualolo Valley on one side and the Awa’awapuhi Valley on the other. Truly a breathtaking experience not to be missed.
As the commercial hub of the island, the Eastern area is more developed with condos, hotels and shopping centers. It’s the place to go for cheaper groceries/necessities (there’s a Costco in Lihue!), but not our choice spot for hanging out. However, it’s hard to name any beach on the island that isn’t an absolute pleasure to be at. We’d especially recommend:
-Poipu Beach (and if you’re there, DEFINITELY check out Makai Sushi for a quality poke bowl made with love)
Now we’re getting to the good stuff.
2 miles along stunning coastline to Hanakapi’ai Beach, then another 2 miles inland to get to the 300 ft.waterfall. A little grueling if wet, but an otherwise completely rewarding day hike.
If you’ve got the time, absolutely make the 10 mile trek up the NaPali coast to Kalalau Beach. Most often done as an overnighter trip, this hike makes for a day of continual jaw dropping as you teeter along the cliffside trail. Once you get to Kalalau, expect to meet some friendly hippies and lots of skinny dippers.
-Chicken in a Barrel + Momo’s Shave Ice
After you get done with that 20 mile backpacking trip, you’ll be ready for some eating. Hit up Hanalei’s Chicken in a Barrel for some smokin’ smoked chicken and then, of course, finish with a macadamia nut shave ice from Momo’s right next door. My mouth is watering at the thought…
One of the most picturesque sunset locales we’ve come across yet. With a mountain silhouetting the horizon to the left and endless blue waters on the right, there’s no spot more ideal for relaxation. Also, snorkeling here is a must. The calm waters of the cove allow snorkelers a peek at fish of all colors and shapes.
Theres about a million other places/activities/restaurants we could have mentioned, but these few experiences in particular are what we continually find ourselves reminiscing upon. So, whenever you find yourself on the Garden Isle, be sure to check out some if not all of these things.