Kaua`i: The Southern Shore (Travel Adventures)
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I just spent a fantastic active week with my family exploring the gorgeous island of Kauai, so now it is time for me to share all our favorite adventures with you! We did our best to find all the best Kauai adventures, as well as restaurants, drinks, sunsets, hiking, and beaches. Or am I? In case you need some packing inspiration, here is a Hawaii packing list with some ingenious items on it to pack before planning your Kauai Itinerary!
See it from the sea, see it from above, see it from the trail that winds through it. This is Jurassic Park in real life, folks; I thought I would see T-Rexes tearing their way through the trees or maybe a pterodactyl cruising by above us. Tons of companies run day boat trips to see the Na Pali from the sea and snorkel, dive, or dine. Le sigh.
It was a still one of the best Kauai adventures, though it surely would have been better had we actually seen the Na Pali! There are loads of Na Pali Coast Boat tours to check out. We ended up seeing tons of whales it is migrating season here in January! So, it was kindof still ok…. Kalalau Trail — This was one of my number one bucket list trails ever, and top Kauai adventures. So, we just did 2 miles in and 2 out, which was actually perfect for my parents.see
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The Kalalau trail runs along the jagged cliffs and through tons of tropical plants, secluded beaches, and streams, often with audible waves crashing a few hundred feet below you off the side of the trail. People who do the entire 11 miles usually camp at the end, on Kalalau beach, and spend a day or a few out there in the ruggedly beautiful place. Above the Na Pali — Pihea Trail — After you drive up past Waimea Canyon, you get to a couple lookouts the have stunning spanning views above the end of the Na Pali coastline.
This trail runs above the coastline with stunning views before turning inland towards the wet part of Kauai the wettest place on earth is in Kauai actually! And the waterfall — as tiny as it looked from where we stood, you could almost feel it's energy from so far away, suspending gallons and gallons of water off the edge of two vertical cliffs.
I hope you guys can appreciate the bottom of some beer cans by the pool on Strayaday!!! Get on it! If you take the road up from Waimea, you will start to get unbelievable views as you ascend the mountain — many people pull over for photos! The only issue? Womp womp womp. However, the view coming up the the waterfall is definitely worth it to see.
This was about 2 miles either way as well, and had great views from the top and yummy strawberry-guavas growing on bushes to eat on the way up. This place is supposed to be really cool at low tide, where you can jump in and swim. When I went it was very high tide with a massive swell, so we just stood and watched the waves come in. This is a scenic landmark on the north coast that is not only pretty to look at but is also home to nature reserve.
Glass Beach, which is situated right next to Port Allen, apparently used to be a glass dump of Kauai. These falls are really impressive and easily accessible by car!! It was a fun, active, and adventurous day kayaking about a mile and a half to and from the 2 mile round trip hike to another stunning waterfall. If you are looking for Kauai adventures, this is it!
Hanalei has an adorable little town shopping center with gorgeous wall murals to see, and is also of the best places to rent a board and go surfing. A surfer we met told us that the waves along the outside of Hanalei are usually always small and good for learning!
I think if I had to live anywhere on Kauai, I would live here. Shops, healthy eateries, thrift stores, food trucks, and markets lined the long main street, which was all pretty trendy and cool to wander around.
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See below for some of the places we ate here, including amaaaazing shaved ice! This is where our fancy timeshare was and our hotel was awesome , and where most of the other fancy timeshares on Kauai are!! Apparently Poipu is the richer area of Kauai, which did not surprise me. We spent one morning wandering through all the other resorts, some of which were mind blowing!
There is a great shopping center in Poipu with restaurants and eateries, and some fantastic beaches and a beach park that are great to hang out. Because of the whole way the world works and everything, the west coast is the clear option in Kauai to see the sun set over the ocean. Some southern bits face the right direction for the sunset as well. Here are some ideas:. Na Pali Coast — here we are again!
Since the Na Pali is on the west coast, it shapes up for one of the best view combinations ever. Poipu is on the south coast but it juts out perfectly to just about face the sunset! Watch it on the beach! This is almost the westernmost town on the island you can reach from the south, and faces the sunset perfectly. This is also home to the longest white sand and longest black sand beaches in Hawaii! POKE — Get poke, and get it everywhere. I think I had poke nearly every day here, and it was so fresh I did not tire of it at all!
The markets here had dozens of different kinds!
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Our boat tour guide said that Ishihara Market was the best poke on the island. Like, a pina colada shaved ice with actual rum. Let me preface this with the fact that pretty much none of these are places I would have gone to unless I was with my parents. I would probably have survived off poke and spam the whole weekend if I was by myself, but again in my temporary reverted-to-dependant-child state I was all about the fancy cocktails and experimental culinary awesomeness that was Kauai.
There are also good options for vegan food in Kauai if you want. Here are the best food-driven Kauai adventures we had:. But the atmosphere and view were perfect, so we took a chance and were so glad we did! Try the beets 5 ways no joke and the dark chocolate kahlua terrine with almond absinthe biscotti for dessert! I recommend the calamari, the purple sweet potato gnocchi as a side, and all their super fresh fish!!
Get the sliders and the poke nachos!
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The Eating House — This great little spot in Poipu was the perfect mix of casual and upscale. We got a fantastic kale salad and poke, but the burgers looked the best to me! Get the brown nipple… just trust me on that. I LOVE trips that are all about nature and enjoying the landscape around us. And this certainly is one. And wow girl, that is some amazing photography! I can only be jealous at you and those amazing photos!
We did a 12 mile round trip hike out to the coast and back. We hiked through rainforests and then along the rocky edge of the coastline, high above the water. During the entire hike we only saw one other couple. The seclusion, fabulous views, and the adventure of being out on our own made this hike a very memorable experience. Read more about hiking in Kauai on AdventureTogether.
Hawaii is known for having beautiful beaches and if your timing is right, you can have them all to yourself. To get to Polihale Beach we drove along sandy roads through sugar cane fields, following the directions in our tour book. It was a mid afternoon in June and we had Polihale Beach all to ourselves. The southern most point of the Napali Coast ends here, forming a stunning backdrop for the beach.
The waves and water currents are strong in Kauai, so swimming is not advised here, but the views and the seclusion makes this my favorite beach so far. Seeing the Hawaiian Islands from the air is one of the best ways to experience the beauty of Hawaii. We used Air Kauai and took a one hour morning flight, seeing all of the island.
Air Kauai was excellent. We saw Napali Coast from another perspective and flew over the wettest spot in the world. Fortunately, on the day of our flight, the rain held off, and we were able to fly down into the old volcanic crater on the island. Apparently, this only happens six times a year, so we were told.
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Taking a helicopter flight over Kauai is worth every penny and we highly recommend it. The number of luxurious hotels in Hawaii are endless. In Kauai, we stayed at the Hyatt Regency, which is my favorite hotel, ever.