A Weekend in Kauai
Believe it or not, neither of us had been to Hawaii before Kelda ventured there this fall! After a few too many drinks at a work happy hour, Kelda managed to convince two of her co-workers to book a great deal on a flight to Kauai for the very next weekend (thank you travel savings account + Alaska’s companion fare!!) She had the best time - it’s easy to see why so many people continue to return to Hawaii for their annual vacation. Here are her favorites from her 48 hours in Kauai!
where to stay
North Shore - the north shore of Kauai is generally said to be quieter, more rural, and filled with lush green scenery (thanks to more rainfall). If you’re looking for a quiet oasis the north shore is for you.
South Shore - the south shore of Kauai gets less rainfall every year which gives you a higher chance of great beach days. The south shore is also home to some of Kauai’s most famous beaches, such as Poipu Beach.
East Coast - the east coast of Kauai is close to the airport, slightly more built up, and is where Kelda stayed on her trip. Since Kelda was only in Kauai for the weekend she picked the east coast for easy access to both the north and south shore. While the scenery wasn’t as stunning as either shore, her hotel was still beach front and a much better view than her apartment in Seattle!
what to do
Queen’s Bath - Tucked into a residential neighborhood on the north shore is the most beautiful tide pool to swim in while you look out over the Pacific Ocean. Keep in mind that the hike down is steep and muddy and there is limited parking. We abandoned our shoes about 5 minutes into the hike down and went barefoot, slipping and sliding the whole way down. It took us about 20 or 30 minutes to hike down. Once you reach the bottom it is absolutely worth the trek. Be careful though, waves from the Pacific do crash into the tide pool and have swept people out to the ocean before.
Hanalei Bay - After a dip in Queen’s Bath we took a short drive over to Hanalei Bay to enjoy the sand + water. Hanalei Bay is a beautiful beach that was relatively quiet while we were there. There’s plenty of restaurants + shopping close by so it’s easy to grab a quick bite to eat before or after.
Kilauea Lighthouse - This was a beautiful viewpoint and looked like it was straight out of a postcard. This is a great stop before or after heading to Queen’s Bath.
Koloa Rum Tasting - On the south shore in Koloa there is a beautiful old plantation where you can participate in a free rum tasting. Keep in mind, that there are a limited number of spots per tasting so arrive early to get your name on the list. When we arrived they tasting was full, but they were kind enough to let us join. As part of the tasting you get to try four different rums, learn about the history of Koloa, and try their yummy rum cake at the end of the tasting.
Waimea Canyon- Because we were only on Kauai for 48 hours we opted to drive through the canyon, rather than hike part of it. The views are stunning and there is a reason it’s known as the Grand Canyon of Hawaii. We visited multiple viewing points before making our way back down to Poipu Beach.
Poipu Beach - Poipu Beach was beautiful and by far the most packed out of any of the beaches we visited. The water was warm, but what surprised us was how powerful it is! To avoid being knocked down, be sure to swim out into the water so you can ride with the waves.
where to eat + drink
Koloa Fish Market - Hands down the most delicious meal Kelda has ever had. The avocado spread on the salmon was to die for. Keep in mind that this place is cash only and there is no where inside to sit down.
St. Regis - Princeville - Kelda came here on her last night in Kauai for drinks and it was hard to say goodbye! Sit out on the deck above the Pacific Ocean and watch the sunset as the surfers ride the waves. Every night at sunset there is a champagne toast. The sushi here is also pretty yummy!
Aloha Aina Juice Cafe - This was Kelda’s breakfast spot on the way to Waimea Canyon and was a delicious pitstop for an acai bowl. A fresh, quick breakfast was the perfect start to the day!
tips + tricks
Everything in Kauai closes pretty early. This is not the island to visit if you are looking for great nightlife. Everything closed by 10pm, even Kauai Beer Company! That being said, it does make it easy to wake up early the next day to explore the beautiful island.
We would highly recommend renting a car. We rented a Jeep Wrangler that was very reasonably priced and did the trick! Uber is available, and we did Uber twice to/from dinner our first night.
Kauai is a very small island and it is easy to get from one end to the other fairly quickly. Kelda found that 48 hours was perfect and with a red eye flight there and back it was easy to do in a weekend if you’re leaving from the west coast. One day on the north shore and one day on the south shore gave her enough time to do everything she wanted, including time to relax on the beach both days!