If you are in search of a slice of heaven, look no further than the Hawaiian island Kauai. This lush, tropical hideaway is the perfect place to visit if you are looking for a combination of relaxation and adventure! For our vacation this summer, I chose this island because I love outdoor activities. To me, the idea of sitting by a pool for hours at a time feels painful. I love exploring, tasting and experiencing all the magical things a place has to offer. Here is my guide on how to #travelcute in Kauai with my favorite activities, travel tips and healthy food spots! Feel free to comment if I missed anything!
Where To Stay
I highly recommend staying on the north side of the island. While it does tend to rain more, it is absolutely stunning. The beaches are spectacular, the mountains are majestic and there are waterfalls a plenty! We stayed in Princeville which is a resort area at a The Westin Princeville and I could not recommend it more. Their resort villas are awesome because they provide their guests with kitchens, washer and dryers and outdoor grills. Having a kitchen and access to a grill is very helpful since the food in Kauai is incredibly expensive ( and I live in LA) so cooking can be a perfect way to budget. We grilled fresh locally caught fish and produce every night on a BBQ that overlooked ocean sunsets and ate dinner under the stars. It was magical. Another reason why we loved Westin Princeville is that although it looks and operates like a hotel (having a gym, pool, fitness center and restaurant), there is no resort fee. Instead, they charge a parking fee. Another perk of the Westin Princeville is you can pay $5 to rent gym clothes and shoes if you wish to workout during your stay, just in case all the swimming, kayaking and hiking isn’t enough of a workout for you! However, what puts this resort at the top of my list is they have a partnership with The Princeville Resort , (a luxury hotel in Kaua)i that allows you access their private beach and get free valet parking. We absolutely loved staying here and will definitely be back to visit!
Things To Do
With so many fun outdoor activities available, here’s my favorites !
Na Pali Coast
If you love epic Hollywood movies, then you’ll quickly recognize the Na Pali Coast. It’s been featured in blockbusters like Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean and King Kong! Seeing the Na Pali Coast by boat is the perfect way to spend an afternoon on this beautiful island. While you can see the coast from the west side or the north side of the island, I highly recommend leaving from the north side. If you leave from the west side you’ll only see half of the coast ( not the best half). Do yourself a favor and find a north shore charter. We chose a company called HoloHolo and did their morning cruise with snorkeling. We really enjoyed ourselves and got to see inside of a few sea caves as well as learn about Kauai’s history. The views are spectacular and the water is crystal clear. They also provide non-alcoholic beverages and sandwiches as part of the tour.
ATV’s + Zip Lines
When my boyfriend suggested we go on an ATV expedition, I was less than thrilled being the type of person that gets easily queasy and HATES being dirty; however, it quickly became my favorite part of the entire trip. This is all due to an incredible company called Princeville Ranch Adventures. What separates this expedition from other ATV companies is you get lots of variety. In addition to the ATV’s, you’ll get to try out two ziplines, a suspension bridge and go for a swim in a swimming hole with a waterfall. I was overwhelmed by the breath taking views of the mountains as we cruised through this spectacular ranch seeing lots of cows and horses! What made our trip extra special was we LOVED our guides. They really cared about making the trip special for everyone. They took photos for us, picked fresh guavas for me to try, made me a mud mask with volcanic ash to enjoy while swimming in a waterhole and gave me the confidence to try zip lining since I am terrified of heights. We LOVED this activity and will definitely be back.
Kayak The Wailua River and Hike To The Secret Falls
If you are looking for a great arm workout and love hiking this is the perfect way to spend a day. What makes this trip especially cool is the hike to Secret Falls where you can go for a dip in a waterfall. It’s really an epic experience. For this trip i strongly advise you to bring bug replant. The bugs will eat you alive without it. I also recommend good walking shoes, but know that whatever shoes/clothes you wear will be covered in mud. This hike is a muddy one and despite my efforts to avoid it, I failed. Also make sure to bring water and a lunch. Once you kayak and hike, I recommend having lunch by the waterfall and going for a dip! Be sure to purchase a waterproof phone jacket so you can take photos in the waterfall. Lots of tourists had them and were able to capture all their splendor of swimming in a waterfall. Most of the local drug stores sold them or you can purchase it online. When choosing where to rent a kayak I recommend renting from Wailua Kayak and Canoe since they are right on the river and you don’t need to attach it to your car. It’s a little more expensive, but totally worth it. Trust me. Make sure to make a reservation in advance. The state has rules that make it hard to rent a kayak on your own and only allow companies to rent out six kayaks per day.
If you don’t mind breaking rules and walking past signs that tell you not to enter, then this is the activity for you! Queen’s Bath is a secret swimming pool created by nature from a lava shelf with an inlet from the ocean. While the short walk to Queen’s Bath can be a little scary, climbing over huge roots or slippery rocks, it’s definitely worth a visit! Make sure to wear your bathing suit so you can take a dip and your snorkel. If you are visiting during the winter months (October-April) DO NOT GO! The surf is too high and the waves are dangerous. But during the summer months the water is calm and safe for swimming.
Things To Eat
When people told me the food in Hawaii was expensive, I rolled my eyes. I’m from LA and have seen places sell $20 burritos and $16 smoothies, but man was I wrong. A very ordinary grocery store in Kauai, made the prices at Whole Foods look like discount shopping. Apparently the grocery store FoodLand is the most expensive supermarket in America, and definitely not worth the prices. Skip the stores and head to local farmers markets for fresh produce. They have them all over the island, the produce is incredible and the prices are affordable.
Koloa Knudsen Ball Park – Maluhia Road in Koloa 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Lihue Kmart Parking Lot – Pikake Street 3:00 pm
Kealia Farms Across from Kealia Beach 3:00 – 6:00 pm
Kalaheo Neighborhood Center – Papalina Road off Kaumualii Hwy 3:00 -4:00 pm
Lihue Historic County Building RIce Street 11:00 -1:00pm
Waipa – North of Hanalei Town – Kuhio Hwy 2:00 pm
Kapaa Coconut Marketplace – Kuhio Hwy Kapaa 8:00 -12:00
Kapaa Ball Park – Kahau and Olohena Road 3:00 pm
Kukuiula Shopping Center – Poipu Road 4:00 pm
Kilauea Neighborhood Center – Keneke Rd off Kilauea Lighthouse Road 4:30 pm – 6:oo pm
Hanapepe Town Puolo Road 3:00 – 4:00 pm
Kealia Farms Across from Kealia Beach 3:00 – 6:00 pm
Vidinha Stadium – Hoolaka Road Lihue 3:00 pm
Kealia Farms 3:00 – 7:00
Hanalei Farmers Market 9:30 am – 12:00 pm
Kauai Community College Kuhio Hwy in Puhi 9:30 am
Coconut Marketplace in Kapaa – Kuhio Hwy Kapaa 8:00 -12:00
Kekaha Neighborhood Center – Elepaio Road 9:00 am
Kilauea – Anaina Hou Park Kilauea Mini Golf -5-2723 Kuhio Hwy 9:00-1:00 pm
Fresh Fish + Poke
Tucked in the back of The Dolphin Restaurant in Hanalei is my favorite fish market. We loved coming here and buying locally caught fish to bring home and cook. The fish was so fresh and delicious. They also sell poke at the market which is a favorite among locals. Hanalei is such a cute area to walk around and explore, so I recommend walking around the area before picking up your fish.
Juice + Kombucha
If you are an avid juice or smoothie drinker, head to Kauai Juice Co for products made from locally sourced ingredients. My personal favorite was their Glow cold pressed juice, made with celery, cucumber, kale, chard, parsley, apple lemon and ginger. They also make hand pressed nut milks that are sensational. I loved the Flower Power made with coconut meat, butterfly pea flower, tocotrienols, Kauai Nectar Co bee pollen, Kauai honey and Tahitian vanilla! YUM! Make sure to stop by the shop on Thursday for Thirsty Thursdays where customers receive free wellness shots!
Kauai is a stunning island and is definitely worth visiting, especially if you love outdoor activities. I highly recommend purchasing a book called The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook. It gave us a ton of great information and was a huge help! I also recommend purchasing coral safe sunscreen, non-toxic bug spray and a waterproof phone case! Other than that, you are all set to have the most incredible time.
I hope you enjoy my healthy guide and travel tips. Did I miss anything? What are your cute Kauai travel recommendations?