7 Reasons To Visit Kauai

Kauai is the oldest of the Hawaiian Islands and has various environments such as rainforest, swamps, mountains, desert, and beaches. Kauai is temperate all year and ranges from the 60’s to 80’s Fahrenheit. The hottest months are August- September where the temperature is 85 degrees Fahrenheit and January is the coolest month with an average of 78 degrees Fahrenheit. I have been to Hawaii over ten times. The rooster is commonplace especially in Lihue.

Kauai is less commercialized than Maui and offers serenity, beauty, and provides a piece of paradise!


What You Should Know About Kauai

  • You should rent a car
  • You should be aware of where to stay depending on the time of the year.
    • Poipu is best in the summer and the North Shore is best in the winter
  • From the North Shore to the Poipu can take around an hour to an hour and a half depending on traffic
  • You cannot get lost; there are only a few roads
  • The cheapest souvenirs are at Wal-Mart near the airport

What We Do:

  • Rent a car
  • Almost always stay near the middle of the island (Lihue)
  • My favorite hotel is the Marriott Kauai Beach Club
  • My favorite place to eat is Duke’s on the beach of Marriott Kauai Beach Club
  • Go all over the island
  • I have spent as little as 3 days on Kauai to 3 weeks at a time (writing my dissertation).
  • It is one of the best places on earth.


The North Shore

Things You Should Know:

On the drive up to the North Shore. It is a spectacular drive; passing many beaches, valleys, jungles, and flowers! If you see an area you would like to spend an hour or so, stop! Get out, take pictures, and capture the moment; then load back up and continue on your path.

Princeville, Hanalei, and Kilauea are a few of the cities on the way; Tunnels Beach is a wonderful place to spend a few hours; there are lifeguards and the drive to this location is beautiful. There is a lighthouse and other sights that are of interest. Again, stop when you see something of interest.

There is a cave across the street from Tunnels Beach. Stay out of there; there are bats and bats can carry rabies.

What We Do:

  • Drive all the way up to the end of the road; stopping along the town of Hanalei and shopping and getting some ice cream or quick bite to eat.
  • Stopping at Tunnels Beach is one of my favorites; I am not a beach person, but there are huge trees that provide sun protection and allow for reading a book or walking the beach.

Around Lihue

What You Should Know:

This is the area right around the airport. The Kauai Marriott Beach Club and Ritz Carlton Villas back up to the airport. Again, you should rent a car from the airport.

Kalapaki Beach is a wonderful place to spend a day or half day. There is a surf school, you can watch cruise ships come in, and there is a mini mall on the grounds and across the street with Shave Ice. Duke’s has wonderful Banana Smoothies.

Staying in this area is the half way point to the North Shore and to Poipu or even Polihole Beach.

From Lihue, you may want to stock up on a few groceries before going to your hotel. there is a Walmart close by.

Kauai has a lot of golf courses and wonderful resorts.

Around this area, there is the Kilohana Plantation, and Wailua Falls; there is also a Costco and Shopping Area.

One of my favorite activities is kayaking up the Kayak Wailua

This kayak experience is about 45 minutes paddling upstream and a 15 minute hike to Secret Falls and the returning. Just remember to pack a bag for water and a snack or two. The sun is really intense; sunscreen, hats, and the trail is extremely muddy so do not wear “new shoes” The estimated trip will take 3.5-4 hours depending on how long you spend at the waterfall.

What We Do:



What You Should Know:

The drive from Lihue allows you to go through the Tree Tunnel and make your way to Poipu. There is a resort zone in this area.

On Poipu Beach – Tombola (Nukumoi Point) is sand that separates two bays. On this beach, there are places to surf, body boarders, and has been voted as the #1 Beach in America. The endangered monk seal is frequently a visitor on this sand; please- please be respectful of the monk seal and do not touch and give him/ her space. Talk with your children about this as well. Respect nature!

Shipwreck Beach is behind the Hyatt Hotel- there is a large surf here and be careful not to turn your back to a wave as you could be pulled into the water. This beach is better for walking and watching surfers.

A good hotdog can be picked up at Puka Dog

There is also a glass beach; 20 years ago there was a glass company and many of the remnants of the glass went out to sea and have come in. It is quite beautiful (15 min. from Poipu but worth the drive)

What We Do:

  • Take our own snorkeling gear to Hawaii
  • Spend time on Poipu Beach; usually spending time at the Marriott or Hilton in Poipu
  • Walk around
  • Spouting Horn

Polihole Beach

What You Should Know:

This is the closest beach to the Napali Coast. Rental Car Companies will let you know that issues with the car are not covered if you go here. Just avoid the potholes and go slow. It is off road for about 30 minutes. When you get on the sand; just make sure to stay near other cars and not to go too close to the water unless you have a 4×4.

This is one of the most remote and beautiful beaches in the world. Remember when you get in the water that there are no lifeguards and there are intense waves, currents, and rip tides.

What We do:

We go to Polihole Beach in the morning; we pack water, Subway, snacks, and additional drinks in case we end up with a flat tire. (this has not happened, but we are prepared just in case). After a half day, we go to Waimea Canyon; driving and getting out to take pictures; it is incredible! The colors of the canyons and rock are just spectacular.

Waimea Canyon

What You Should Know:

Waimea Canyon is on the west side of Kauai. Waimea is the largest canyon in the Pacific- “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” and has 10 miles and is 3500 feet deep. Waimea Canyon is in the Kokee State Park which covers 4345 acres.

What We do:

Usually stop at Waimea Canyon after a morning visit to Polihole Beach. Do not miss seeing Waimea Canyon!


Napali Coast

What You Should Know:

This is one of the most beautiful locations in the world! You can see it by helicopter or boat. I have taken 3 helicopter rides over the Napali Coast seeing the scenes from Jurassic Park and other movies; the size and magnitude of the coast, mountains, and beaches is gorgeous!

Kauai Sea Tours

Captain Andy’s

Both of these companies do an amazing job!


What We Do:

  • Have taken trips from Kauai Sea Tours and Captain Andy’s.
  • Have taken Catamaran Rides around the Napali Coast at sunset
  • Have taken Snorkeling Trips around the Napali Coast
  • Have taken the raft tour into the Sea Caves; just know that the Sea Caves are incredible, but it is a long, uncomfortable trip of 4-6 hours of ocean beating in the rubberized raft. This is only available in the summer based on the water levels with the sea caves. Highly recommended but just book a massage for later that day. You will thank me!
  • Helicopter Rides: I have taken 3 here without doors each time and I am scared of heights. Just know that the helicopter will “pick up” when you go over Waimea Canyon and that you get fairly close to the mountains. It is spectacular to see the tunnels in the ocean (Tunnels Beach) from above. You will not regret the adventure, but just know it can be a bit scary!



A travel, home, & lifestyle blog written by Heidi Stevenson. Follow along for affordable ways to travel, sophisticated and savvy style, expensive looks for less for the home, and everyday style



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