The last time I went to Hawaii was back in 1998 when I was that’s right… 8 years old. We visited Oahu where my family had lived while my dad was stationed there. It was a great trip and I felt I had checked Hawaii off my list. That is until I kept hearing about the island of Kauai. When we found some tickets to Kauai for a cheap price on a last minute deal we thought ok why not. We booked them and went.
Why I loved Kauai: Kauai is absolutely stunning. Everywhere you go there is something beautiful to take a picture of. The snorkeling was better than I thought and we found several Sea Turtles. I spotted whales almost every day off the shore. Having a Costco and Safeway made the trip really easy. The roads were well taken care of and safe.
What I didn’t love about Kauai: My favorite islands are those where you can go to a great beach and have it to yourself or maybe a few other families. I didn’t feel this was the case in Kauai and maybe that had to do with the time of the year we visited. I don’t love that depending on which season you are there your swimming options and beaches are limited because of the strong waves and currants. Finally, it seemed hard to find a good meal with good customer service. We often had troubles and almost every night had to wait 30-45 minutes for a table, again this could have something to do with the holiday season.
Where to Stay:
Kapaa at least for a first time visit was great. Kapaa while it doesn’t have a ton of swimming beaches around is on the East side and is right in between Princeville and Poipu. So if the weather was bad in the north we would head south or the opposite. We went to both the North and the South often so it worked out our home base was right in the middle. Kapaa is also near all the big stores, restaurants, and shops so it makes it easy to grab snacks in the morning or anything else you may need on your way to the beach.
Best Places to eat:
Street Burger – Awesome unique menu. Great ambiance and best customer service we experienced. This was my number one place we ate all week. I had the sweet potato burger Frenchie style with their homemade fries and homemade ketchup.
Kauai Beer Company – Great prices for great food. Enjoyed the sweet potato raviolis and their frenchfries were delicious.
Anini Beach – One of the only beaches on the North that was swimmable in the winter. We loved this beach because the water was so calm and we found several sea turtles!
Tunnels Beach – Gorgeous scenery. When we were there sadly we couldn’t swim because the waves we absolutely huge but it was still fun to walk on the beach and watch the waves roll in.
Salt Pond Beach – Great little protected beach with some good snorkeling.
Maha’ulepu Beach – This was my favorite. We didn’t swim here but instead enjoyed a stroll along the water and cliffs. It was stunning and I will forever remember that walk. This is an absolute must!
Helicopter Ride – Everyone kept telling me we had to do this. I was really hesitant because it was so pricey. After hearing from at least five different people that we must do it we forked over the money and took a trip with Blue Hawaiin. You get to see parts of the Island you would have no other way get to see. You fly in and out of canyons and past gorgeous waterfalls. You get to get close to the Napali coast and listen to fitting music while you do so. The captain tells you anything you want to know and more. It was an adventure I will always remember.
Hanakapiai Falls – We decided to do this hike and we started a bit late. The sign at Ke’e Beach where you start said to give yourself 8 hours and so we were stressed about getting there and back before the sun went down. We booked it on this hike. There were a lot of people especially on the beginning of the trail and we would politely excuse ourselves past them. The first 2 miles is a pretty big incline and then an even bigger decline. The view points are astonishing. You get to see part of the gorgeous Napali Coast and we even spotted a whale. After the first two mile you reach a river and a beautioful beach. A lot of people stop here and head back. If you want to continue to the falls you follow a trail along the river up in to the valley. It’s not too hard until you get to the last .5 mile where instead of hiking a trail you start climbing on rocks. Finally when you reach the waterfall you know it was all worth it. The waterfall is massive with a big swimming hole. The water is freezing but it was a welcoming refresher after the long hot hike.
Overall I would definitely recommend Kauai to someone looking for a tropical getaway. Have you been to Hawaii? What is your favorite Hawaiin Island?