What a way to enter my 25th year, but to immerse myself in some of the world’s most beautiful scenery. Kauai is known as “The Garden Island” for all of its lush greenery. If you’ve ever seen any of the Jurassic Park movies, well portions were filmed using Kauai! If you have to pick an island to go to and you are an outdoorsy person you can’t really go wrong with Kauai. I mean you have beautiful beaches and breathtaking hiking all in one place!
Below are the highlights of my week in Kauai.
B E A C H E S
Polihale State Park
This beach is great for sunset as it is the western-most point on the island. About 1 hour from Lihue, it is definitely worth the drive. Make sure to have a good 4 wheel drive vehicle as the last 4 miles are on an unpaved dirt road with lots of potholes and rocks. I got my jeep stuck in some sand and a nice family was able to help me out.
Cool thing about this beach is since it is so far on the west side it was relatively secluded. You can also beach camp here if that is up your alley of things to do/want to save money on accommodation.
On the south side of the island this is the sunniest part, which makes it a great beach for the day and snorkeling. It does get pretty crowded with families so plan accordingly and get there early to get a good spot!
On the north side of the island with the beginnings of part of the Na Pali coast. This side of the island was hit really hard by a hurricane in April 2018. Houses can still be seen flooded and deserted.
Tunnels beach is a little bit further up the road and is most famously known for the beach where surfer Bethany Hamilton was attacked by a shark. The road however is closed with only locals access.
H I K E S
This is technically a “closed” trail. I would not suggest doing it in the rain or if it had previously rained as it will be very mud and slippery. You are on edges with 1000 ft drop offs so please be careful if choosing to do this hike. If you do choose to and the weather has cooperated it will be some of the most breathtaking views of your life. There is truly nothing like the Na Pali coastline. There is a spot almost to the end of the trail which can be used for camping. Imagine waking up to the sunrise over those green ridges, sounds pretty perfect to me!
length- 0.8 miles
This is pretty tricky to get to, once parking in the parking lot that directions leads you to. Walk down the fence towards the opening and then once inside go back up to the top by the fence and follow the trail along that way. It is pretty muddy with lots of tree roots. I would suggest buying water shoes to bring along most hikes in Kauai. Check the tide report, and DO NOT go in if it is high tide. Many people have died swimming in queen’s bath.
Awa’ Awapuhi trail
length- 6.7 miles
Some of the best views on Kauai. We unfortunately were not able to experience these views because about 3 miles in it started downpouring and when we got to the lookout point you would not see. Check the weather prior to all hikes. Kauai is the rainy island and hiking back up the ridge in pouring rain with the trail flooding is not something I ever want to do again. We did begin to experience the beginnings of hypothermia.
This is one of those times where yes everything about hiking looks fun and amazing and “views for days” but the reality is, its not all fun and weather can really change your experience so always be prepared!
length- 5.4 miles
Immerse yourself in the true meaning of “The Garden Island” with this hike. It’s a nice stroll with views every step along the way. I just wanted to keep playing the theme song for Jurassic Park the whole time.
C O F F E E
Over in the industrial park. It is only open Thursday-sunday. Expect a long wait as it is a married couple solely running everything. Beau is the nicest most upbeat person any of us have ever met. Like how can I get some of that constant positivity for my outlook in life?
Anyway, order Early Bird Bagel. The Pesto cream cheese smear is soooo good.
Super adorable coffee shop in Kapaa. Locals enjoy it along with 4 stars on Yelp, can’t go wrong with that!
F O O D
Kauai brewing company
On Thursdays they have food trucks outside. The food was amazing but also the vibes from everyone there- it was such a fun and chill environment. We sat at a table with a local family. One thing I really enjoyed about Kauai was how friendly everyone seemed to be.
Shave ice should probably be its own category with how popular it is on the island, but here are the three different places we tried out. TIP- always get the sweet syrup on top! Also, traditional is to have macadamia nut ice cream on the bottom but I personally liked the vanilla.
Uncle’s Shave Ice
Wailua Shave Ice
Doors off helicopter tour with Jack Harter Helicopters
Ask for Bruno
If you have to splurge on anything during your trip make sure it is this. There is nothing like dipping into the canyons and getting up close to untouchable waterfalls. They fly you over areas only seen by air because 80% of the island is owned privately.
Smith Family Luau
Can you say one hour all you can drink? Other than the drinks, the food is delicious. Try your skills at hula dancing on stage if you dare 🙂
We even made new family members at our table.