1. Relax on the Beach
Kauai is the oldest Hawaiian island and for this reason Kauai has more beaches per mile than any other island! There are great beaches for snorkeling, surfing, sunbathing, and for children. For swimming, we always recommend doing so at one of Kauai’s beautiful lifeguarded beaches. Ocean conditions can change hourly and the ocean can become dangerous in an instant. Lifeguarded beaches are your best option for staying safe! For daily ocean conditions, check out the Kauai Ocean Report. You can relax on Waipouli beach in front of the condo or head down to Lydgate State Park , just a 3-minute drive from the condo. Lydgate is protected year-round from heavy surf and is the closest life guarded beach. It’s a great place for children and those new to snorkeling! Hanalei Bay on the North Shore is spectacular and has been regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. On the South Shore, Poipu Beach is protected by a reef and is usually a calmer spot for swimming. Polihale Beach is known for its 7-mile stretch of white sand beach and hot cloudless days. Framed by the west end of the Na Pali cliffs, Polihale can be a breathtaking experience (4-wheel drive/Jeep is required). Ask the locals for road conditions before going there.
2. Hike Through the Rain Forest or along the beach
Kuilau Ridge Trail, only a 15-minute drive from the condo, offers fairly easy hiking through a rain forest where you will be treated to views of cascading waterfalls in the distance and beautiful island vegetation. Also near the condo is the popular Nounou Trail that will lead you over the Opaeka’a Stream across a quaint wooden bridge and through a forest of strawberry guavas. The Nounou West Trail is in a beautiful cathedral forest of Cook Pines. At the top of the trail, you might catch a glimpse of Mount Waialeale on a cloudless day. On the West-side in Waimea Canyon, the Awaawapuhi Trail (more advanced) will lead you through a rain forest, high desert-like terrain and to some of the most incredible vistas on Kauai’s Napali Coast. On the South Shore, the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail is a moderately easy coastal hike along sand-dune cliffs which starts at Shipwreck’s beach. While you’re on this hike, take a short break to visit the Makauwahi Cave Reserve. Close to the cave, a local researcher runs a tortoise reserve as an experiment for managing invasive, non-native weeds! If you love nature like we do and want to further your education on Kauai’s beautiful ecosystems, then booking a guided hike with Chuck at Kauai Nature Tours is a must-do! He is a geologist and has been conducting research on Kauai for decades. The world-famous Kalalau Trail on the Napali coast is an unforgettable experience. To hike the Kalalau or to visit Ke’e beach, you must book parking and admission in advance as parking is restricted north of Hanalei. Visit the Ha’ena State Park website for information regarding purchasing park admission and parking permits in the area. More great hikes can be found at http://www.kauai.com/hikes.
3. Snorkel with Tropical Fish
Please view endangered marine life responsibly. Walking the beach or swimming in the ocean, you may be blessed to see a sea turtle, monk seal, and more. Please take a moment to learn how to safely and respectfully observe our wonderful, endangered marine life. Always give turtles, monk seals, and other marine life you may encounter abundant space and never approach. For more info, click here. Also, please never stand on the coral and do your best to avoid kicking it accidentally with your fin. Check out more reef tips here. Mahalo for preserving and protecting our beautiful wildlife and ecosystem!
4. Take a ride on the Kapa’a Bike Path
Ke Ala Hele Makalae, or “the path that goes by the coast”, describes the scenic, multi-use path that runs along the beautiful east side of Kauai in front of our condo. It is fun to walk or ride the coastal bike path to Kapa’a. You can pack a lunch and picnic along the path, or stop at one of the many food trucks or restaurants along the way. Almost daily we walk the path from the condo heading north (ocean on your right). It’s a beautiful 5-mile round trip walk along the ocean. Our turn around point is downtown Kapa’a where we stop for brunch at one of the many great spots, then head back. Do an internet search on “bike rental Kapa’a” to locate the most up-to-date information on bike rentals as locations and vendors change frequently.
5. Stroll through Kapa’a Town
Downtown Kapa’a has a lot of little restaurants and eclectic shops. Grab a coffee or macadamia latte from Java Kai and take a peek in some of the nearby stores.
6. Eat and drink like a local
We have so many incredible local dining options near the condo!
Eat: We’ve listed all of our East Shore favorites in the Restaurants and Cafe section under Your Local Area Guide.
- Start your day with a freshly roasted espresso or coffee drink and a pastry at Imua Coffee Roasters. A small, local business located about 500 steps from the condo in the shops next to the Islander. Steven the owner roasts the best coffee in town and his staff is very welcoming and friendly!
- Small Town Coffee has some of the best coffee around with fabulous homemade syrups like jasmine and local honey, always a mandatory stop on our way to the North Shore beaches.
- Nani Moon Mead Kauai’s local honey meadery, just down the road near the grocery stores! Local bees? Mead? Yum!
- Kauai Beer Company is in Lihue. A local, small brewer. A good stop on your way home from Wal-Mart or the south shore.
Farmer’s Markets: We love farmer’s markets and their assortment of exotic, seasonal tropical fruits and goodies. We’ve listed many to choose from here in this guide. Don’t forget to pick up a beautiful bouquet of tropical flowers and use the vases we supply in the condo under the kitchen sink.
7. Explore Kauai from the Air
You can explore Hawaii from the sky for a unique perspective of the Garden Isle. For helicopter tours, we recommend Blue Hawaiian & Jack Harter. For the best view and experience, pay the premium for the “doors off” experience. Where possible, pay the extra fee for the seat in the front right.
8. Paddle or Kayak the Wailua River
Kayak the Wailua River and then hike to a waterfall with Rainbow Kayak Tours. If you prefer to paddle at your own pace, rent a paddleboard from Kauai SUP. It is a very easy paddle on your own straight up the river. No need to do a tour unless you are a beginner or would like the local guide’s commentary and assistance.
9. Spend a Day in Hanalei Hanalei Town will be an unforgettable stop on your visit to the island of Kauai. Visit the botanical garden at Limahuli Garden and Preserve. The Hanalei Lookout is postcard perfect. Walk through town and check out the local shops and art galleries. Have a bite at one of the many cute spots in town.
10. Relax on the Condo Lanai – The Best View in Town! One of our favorite things to do in Kauai is to simply relax on our condo lanai and watch the magnificent sunrise over a nice cup of coffee. We spend endless hours reading, watching and listening to the ocean, talking and relaxing. We have binoculars for you to use to spot dolphins and whales (approx. Jan – April). If you prefer to wind down the day on the lanai, grab a bucket of ice from the free ice machine in the building behind ours and blend your own tropical concoction in the blender. On a clear night, the stars our spectacular to enjoy from our lanai as well!