I’m finally getting caught up on blogging my travels from this past year, so I’m going backwards and sharing about my most recent trip to Hawaii! I hope this Kauai, Hawaii inspiration & itinerary helps you plan our next vacay! 🙂
Reason behind why we went:
When Audrey and I found cheap flights to Kauai, we talked it out at The Perc, while drinking a latte and agreed to gift a flight to Mom for her dream vacation that she’s always talked about. For as long as I can remember, all Mom wanted to do for a vacation was to go to Hawaii, so we finally made it happen! We planned almost everything we could think of doing: we went on a helicopter ride over the island, saw a luau during dinner, hiked down to beaches, zip lined over treetops & rivers, tubed through a river and many tunnels, enjoyed a sunset dinner cruise, went on a tour of Alerton Garden, and ate at many great restaurants & found lots of coffee shops to hang out at. Overall, our experience was enjoyable, adventurous, and relaxing. Mom’s favorite part was “just being at the beach.”
This is all for You:
So many people have asked me to share about my Kauai adventures and what I did/where I stayed, so I’ve listed my itinerary, along with local food & restaurants we went to or were recommended, tour options, hikes and beaches! I had so many friends give me ideas of things to do, so they contributed to the mass of this list, so thank y’all so much!! I didn’t do everything I listed, unless it’s in my itinerary, but I was recommended a ton of spots I wanted to go to, but didn’t have time. There’s also a few packing items you may not have thought about & the average costs associated at the end! If you enjoyed this or you want to know more, just write a comment in the comment section & I’ll be sure to reply! 🙂
Airbnb: Emmalani Hale in Princeville – amazing hosts, amenities, & hot tub!
- Hanakapiai Falls – 2 miles in from the end of the road on the North side, then a tricky 2 miles up from the maybe beach.
- Awaawapui Lookout – can drive to on the west side.
- Alakai swamp – easy walk to view
- Waimea Canyon – known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific – a must see! We saw it well from the heli!
- Na Pali Coast – Kalalau Trail – Kalepa Ridge
- Poipu Beach (South)
- Secret Beach / Kauapea Beach (best seashells) – a steep hike down to it and the water is rougher, but it’s so beautiful!
- Polihale beach (far west) / Queens pond (not Queens Bath)
- Queen’s Bath – not an easy hike, go in morning/sunrise, avoid getting near the rocks during the winter months because it can be very dangerous. Ask the locals if it’s safe – if they have a dog, they’re a local! So ask them on your way down to Queen’s bath/any other beaches.
- Hideaways Beach – if there’s no parking in the tiny lot, you can valet with Princeville Resort
- Wyllie’s Beach – short hike & not many people
- Baby Beach – on the south side. Nice beach, not popular like Poipu Beach.
Fun Things Happening on the Island:
- North Side: Princeville Night Market: Sundays at 4:30-8:30pm: Kickshaws Burgers food truck (amazing!) local pop-up shops, music, and food.
- East side: The Anatolia Marketplace: little, local shops inside of shipping containers, free bites & drinks, live music
- South side of Island: Kauai Culinary Market – Wednesdays only 3:30 to 6:00 pm
- The Kilauea Lighthouse and Wildlife refuge: $5 10a-4p
- Kilauea: cute town, handmade things, no cars in market area, lighthouse at sunset, Paletes Wine Bar was recommended for excellent flatbreads and salads, and the Kilauea Fish Market for yummy ahi wraps. If you enjoy fresh pressed juices, Kauai Juice Company is also located in Kilauea. They also have the best coffee on the entire island at Trilogy’s.
- Hanalei Dolphin restaurant – Seafood chowder & sushi
- Tahiti Nui for chill night with cocktails, dinner, & Luau (if you book ahead)
- Kalypso – great happy hour, amazing coconut shrimp!
- Hawaiian BBQ at Chicken in a Barrel – share the loaded fries or sampler plate! SO good & filling.
- Pinks – great Hawaiian Grilled Cheese and the best ice cream on the island!
- Kauai Bread Company and Coffee House is an excellent location for coffee, pastries, breads
- Kalapaki Joes – Mango margs
- Wishing Well Shaved Ice – the best snow cone
More recommended restaurants (we didn’t get a chance to try these):
- Puka Dog
- Bar Arcuda
- Hukilau Lanei – nachos, lobster won tons
- Sushi Bushido (east side)
- Try monchong if you find it – it’s their local fish
- Cap’n Andy’s tour of the Napali Coast and see the whales – we sadly couldn’t go on the Napali Coast side of the island due to 30+ foot waves. 🙁 But we still had a great time going to the other side of the island!
- Helicopter – we chose the doors off option with Jack Carter Helicopters – doors off was definitely the way to go!! Especially for the best pictures, doors off all the way.
- Visit an Orchid Greenhouse
- A recommendation from someone else: Blue Dolphin Charters does a great boat Napali coast tour with snorkeling! You can also do a double booking with Blue Dolphin and Wings Over Kauai! It wasn’t a helicopter ride, it’s a small airplane, but it’s half the cost of a helicopter ride and super gorgeous! So, if you aren’t as particular about pictures (like myself), then this may be a good option for you!
Our Completed Itinerary:
- Evening arrival in Lihue, head to AirBnb in Princeville (45min drive)
- Breakfast at north shore general store – authentic Hawaiian breakfast – cheap!
- Hanalei Bay
- Evening Luau & Dinner at Tahiti Nui in Hanalei – booked in advance – great food & show. It’s inside, I believe there are others on the island that are outside if you want that type of experience.
- Wyllie’s Beach
- Lunch: Poke at Foodland Grocery store: It’s like Kroger, but tiny – go to back poke stand – made on spot – $3/pint & so good!
- Kilauea: cute town, handmade things, lighthouse at sunset
- Morning Zipline with Kauai Backcountry Adventures
- Lunch at Verde in Lihue
- Afternoon Helicopter tour with Jack Carter Helicopters – the best thing I’ve ever done on a vacation!
- Dinner at Dolphin: Sushi & Seafood chowder!
- Morning Tubing with Kauai Backcountry Adventures
- Poipu Beach: rent snorkel gear (or buy at Walmart if you have time)
- Sunset Boat tour out of Port Allen – Booked with Captain Andy’s
- Hanalei Bay
- Lunch at Chicken in a Barrel
- The best snow cone at Wishing Well Shaved Ice!
- Saint Regis (now Princeville Resort) Beach
- Princeville Night Market – food truck dinner at Kickshaws (amazing burgers)
- Breakfast in Priceville – Loco Moco at General Store
- Kapaa – Small Town Coffee (in a food truck) – so good!
- Drive to see Wailua Falls
- Baby Beach
- Allerton Garden & Dinner Tour
- Leave for airport
Average Costs for a week:
- Airbnb/accomodation: $1100
- Flight: these always range in price, but I found ours from DFW>SEA>LIH for $480 pp which was a pretty great deal
- Car: $250-300
- Gas: $50-75
- Helicopter: $310 pp
- Boat tour + dinner: $150 pp
- Luau + dinner: $120 https://fareharbor.com/thenui/items/6494/availability/155318410/book/
- Allerton Garden + dinner: $100 pp – there are other tour options w/o dinner
- Zipline: $125 pp (unless you book the Emmalani Hale Airbnb, they will hook you up)
- Tubing: $125 pp (unless you book the Emmalani Hale Airbnb)
- Food + drinks: averaged $40-50/day pp if we didn’t have a dinner with our tour/activity
Packing List (things you might not think of):
- From DFW, it’s a fairly long travel day, so bring an eye mask & travel pillow for the plane. I also sleep so much better with noise cancelling headphones. They aren’t cheap, but they’re a game changer!!
- Cash, just in case (everyone told me to bring cash, but I actually didn’t use any I brought, so they may be realizing that everyone uses cards now)
- 2-3 swim suites & coverups
- Hiking & running shoes
- Workout clothes you don’t mind getting muddy. They have red dirt that doesn’t come out!
- Beach bag
If you made it through all that information and got this far, thank you for reading all that – you’re amazing!! I’d love to hear about what you liked best or what you got out of this blog in the comments below! Feel free to share what you love about Kauai too – I’d love to hear in case I get to go back!