A few of our favorite things on Kauai!

There are many, many choices on Kauai. While most any will be rewarding, on this page we tell you about some particularly special or useful places and things we have discovered that we wish we had known about on our first visit to Kauai. There are many other options, so check online or in a guidebook (the best of which is The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook).

Please note that this list is purely for reference purposes, we have no connection with any of the businesses listed here, and we cannot guarantee the quality of your experience. Mahalo!

Shopping
  • Nearby Groceries
    • Foodland, Princeville
    • Big Save, Hanalei
    • Harvest Market, Hanalei
  • Clothes and Gifts
    • Head down to Hanalei. This lovely little town is full of stores selling an array of items. A couple of favourites of ours are Hot Rocket for clothes, and On The Road To Hanalei for gifts.
  • Nearby Post Offices
    • Princeville Shopping Center
    • Hanalei
  • Nearby Pharmacy
    • North Shore Pharmacy, Kilauea
    • Foodland, Princeville

Restaurants
  • Espresso and Pastries
    • Lei Petite, Princeville Center
    • Napali Cafe, St. Regis Hotel, Princeville
    • Hanalei Bread Company, Hanalei
    • Java Kai, Kapaa
    • Kalaheo Coffee Company, Kalaheo
    • Grinds Cafe, Eleele
    • Starbucks, Poipu, Lihue (Kukui Grove, Airport), Kapaa
  • Deli (sandwiches to go, etc)
    • Foodland, Princeville
    • Hanalei Gourmet, Hanalei
    • Deli & Bread Connection, Kukui Grove, Lihue
    • Brennecke's, Poipu
    • Kalaheo Coffee Company, Kalaheo
  • Cheap and cheerful
    • Tiki Iniki, Princeville
    • Hanalei Gourmet, Hanalei
    • Kalypso, Hanalei
    • + a few others in Hanalei
    • Kilauea Bakery and Pau Hana Pizza, Kilauea
    • Kilauea Fish Market, Kilauea
    • The Bistro, Kilauea
    • Mermaid's Cafe, Kapaa
    • Merriman's Gourmet Pizza and Burgers, Poipu
    • Living Foods Gourmet Market and Cafe, Poipu
    • Kalaheo Coffee Company, Kalaheo
    • Grinds Cafe, Eleele
  • Moderate
    • Makana Terrace, St. Regis Hotel, Princeville (the best view ever!)
    • Nanea, Westin Resort, Princeville
    • Hanalei Dolphin, Hanalei
    • Postcards Cafe, Hanalei
    • Oasis on the Beach, Kapaa
    • Gaylord's, Lihue (Kilohana)
    • Keoki's Paradise, Poipu (get the Hula Pie!)
    • Brennecke's, Poipu
    • Tapas @ Kukui'ula, Poipu
  • Upscale
    • Bar Acuda, Hanalei
    • Kauai Grill, St. Regis Hotel, Princeville
    • Eating House 1849 (formerly Roy's), Poipu
    • Beach House, Poipu
    • Merriman's Fish House, Poipu
    • Red Salt, Koa Kea Hotel, Poipu
  • Info on some other restaurants near the condo (Princeville, Kilauea, and Hanalei)

Beaches
  • Hideaways (Pali Ke Kua), Princeville (nearest good beach)
  • Tunnels, Haena
  • Haena Beach Park (near the end of the road)
  • Ke'e (at the end of the road, often very crowded)
  • 'Anini, between Princeville and Kilauea
  • Moloa'a Bay, between Kilauea and Anahola
  • Poipu Beach Park, Poipu
  • Link to great web site with more beach info

Activities
  • Day Hikes
    There are many great day hikes around the island, from easy to very strenuous. Often after just a few yards on the trail you will find yourself in blissful isolation, apparently with the island all to yourself.
    In our opinion the best of the best hikes are to be found up in the mountains and forests of Kokee State Park. Visiting Kokee also gives you the chance to see spectacular Waimea Canyon and Kalalau Valley, and the very interesting Kokee Museum.
    Our favorite hikes (trip numbers refer to Kaua'i Trails by Kathy Morey (3rd edition)):
    • Kalalau trail to Hanakapiai Beach and Falls, Haena (Trips 52,53)
      Easy day hike to beach; strenuous to falls. Good views of the Na Pali coast.
    • Awaawapuhi trail and/or Nualolo trail, Kokee (Trips 34,35)
      Both strenuous (Awaawapuhi less so than Nualolo); can be combined in a loop (Trip 36, very strenuous. NOTE - this is not currently possible as the Cliff Trail which makes the loop is temporarily closed due to erosion). Both trails yield awesome views of the Na Pali coast.
    • Pihea trail and Alakai Swamp trail, Kokee (Trip 43)
      Strenuous day hike; not worth it if it's raining in the swamp. Native rainforest; good birdwatching; awesome views of Kalalau and Wainiha valleys.
    • Kawaikoi Stream trail and Poomau Canyon trail, Kokee (Trips 44,46,47)
      Can all be done on foot in one strenuous day (don't need 4WD). Kawaikoi Stream is lush and beautiful; awesome Waimea Canyon views.
    • Here are some more pictures and information about these and other trails.
  • Snorkeling
    • Tunnels, Haena
    • Anini (between Princeville and Kilauea)
    • Poipu Beach Park
    • Ni'ihau, HoloHolo Charters boat trip
  • Helicopter Tours
    • Jack Harter Helicopters
    • Sunshine Helicopters (only operator serving Princeville Airport)
  • Boat/Kayak/Zipline/etc
    • HoloHolo Charters
    • Na Pali Explorer
    • Outfitters Kauai
    • + others (check guide book)
  • Photography
    Kauai is such a beautiful island that photo opportunities appear around every corner. The light around sunrise and sunset often gives the best results, but spectacular images can be shot at any time of day. Here are some of our favorite photos and locations, accumulated over 20 years of visiting the island (you'll have to take a helicopter tour to see some of them).
  • Live Music
    Many of the larger hotels and restaurants around the island have live music most nights of the week. The best source for what's on (not just music but other events also) is the KKCR community radio station. The website has a Community Calendar page, and also broadcasts the calendar daily during the weekday morning Hawaiian music programs (which are a great way to start your day in Kauai anyway).
    Just a few of the many options:

"Must Do's"
  • Helicopter tour
  • Na Pali boat/kayak tour
  • Snorkeling at Tunnels beach
  • Kilauea Lighthouse
  • A hike in Kokee (plus Kalalau Valley and Waimea Canyon viewpoints while you're up there)
  • Cocktails at sunset at the St.Regis Hotel (hotel bar or Makana Terrace restaurant)
  • Dinner at sunset at the Beach House, Poipu
  • Hawaiian slack key guitar concert