Need help planning your own trip to the Garden Isle? For less than a buck ($1 USD), you can download our printable 4-page Kauai Destination Guide that includes information on: Transportation | Best Time to Visit | Weather | Recommended Lodgings and Restaurants | Suggested Activities Based on Interest | Money Saving Tips | Kauai Facts | Sample 7-Day Itinerary
Getting There is Half the Fun!
Our connecting flight to Honolulu was oversold, so we volunteered to give up our seats, got upgraded to first class on a direct flight to Lihue and were rewarded with $1,000 in travel vouchers! Cheers to that!
Accommodations in Kauai
We called Alii Kai II, our “home away from home” for the week. We booked a week through a timeshare exchange, though this property is also available to book through various booking sites. We appreciated having a full kitchen, so we could prepare a few meals in during our stay. The property is complete with a pool and a luxuriously large hot tub!
The Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge offers a dramatic backdrop of steep cliffs plunging to the ocean where birds nest and soar above the breathtaking scenery. The historic lighthouse at the end of the point is definitely worth a visit!
Because we were based in Princeville, we passed the Hanalei Valley Scenic Overlook on numerous occasions during our stay. Occasionally it was cloudy and overcast causing a mystical feel to the valley below.
It is highly recommended that you rent a car during your stay on the island of Kauai. Public transportation is fairly limited and having your own car will allow you the freedom to go wherever you want, whenever you want! We found a great deal on a fancy convertible with Hertz.
Our big splurge during this trip was a private helicopter tour of the island with Mauna Loa Tours. The one-hour flight cost more than one of our plane tickets to get to Kauai, but honestly, it was totally worth it! The views from the helicopter were unrivaled and we got to see parts of the islands, we definitely wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
The neighboring town of Hanalei is a great place to shop for souvenirs.
Located on 520, off of 50, on the way to the south side of the island is the famed Tree Tunnel.
Kauai Coffee Plantation
The Kauai Coffee Plantation in Kalaheo is a recommended stop for coffee lovers. I personally don’t not drink coffee, so this stop was all for Sam! The surrounding area was absolutely beautiful, so I simply enjoyed the scenery while Sam enjoyed some free samples of coffee; his favorite was the coconut caramel crunch.
Hanalei Bay Scenic Lookout is a beautiful pull-off on the way from Princeville to Hanalei.
It’s also a great place to watch the sunset. Be sure to get there early! Parking is very limited!
The beach behind the St. Regis of Princeville is another spectacular spot to watch the sun set.
Po’ipu Beach is not too far from Kalaheo on the south side of the island.
This is where visitors will find Spouting Horn, a place along the south shore where ocean waves erupt through the lava rocks like water coming out of the blowhole of a whale.
Of course, this is just one example of countless beautiful beaches in Kauai. Check out our completely separate post on 5 of the best beaches in Kauai.
Waterfalls in Kauai
On the way to Opeaka’a Falls, be sure to stop at the scenic lookout that overlooks the Wailua River. You’ll be able to see all the way out to the ocean. Just a little further down the road is the turnoff for Opeaka’a Falls. The waterfall is a little bit distant from the pullout, but still gorgeous nonetheless!
About further down the road from Opeaka’a Falls is Wailua Falls. The road we took to get there literally dead ends into the parking lot for the falls. Local vendors set up near the falls selling hand-made goods, such as woven baskets, pearl jewelry and leis. The woman we bought a lei from had just made it with fresh plumerias that morning… it smelled divine! Wailua Falls was made famous from being in the opening scene for a hit show in the 70’s called Fantasy Island.
Kalalau Trail is one of the best hikes in Kauai. It’s path takes you along the stunning Nā Pali Coast.
One of our absolute favorite finds of the week was Mahaulepu Heritage Trail.
Another highlight of our trip was walking along the rim of Waimea Canyon.
In my research I had found the westernmost bookstore in the US which I figured Sam would want to check out. Talk Story Bookstore is located fairly close to Waimea Canyon and has a very eclectic collection of new and rare books. Sam ended up finding a first edition of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
I told Sam to get ready to throw some elbows if they asked for volunteers to give up their seats on this flight. We wanted to fly first class and get more travel vouchers, but alas, this flight wasn’t overbooked. Oh well!
Again, if you need help planning your own trip to Kauai, please download our printable 4-page Kauai Destination Guide that includes information on: Transportation | Best Time to Visit | Weather | Recommended Lodgings and Restaurants | Suggested Activities Based on Interest | Money Saving Tips | Kauai Facts | Sample 7-Day Itinerary (You can see a sample of the guide before purchasing.)
To inspire your visit to Kauai, check out our video below!
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