7 Days in Paradise: Kauai, Hawaii

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One Week in Kauai

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! What a great way to start our one week in Kauai!

Kauai, Hawaii>> Find cheap flights and book today with Skyscanner <<

Aloha welcome to Kauai

Accommodations in Kauai

We called Alii Kai II, our “home away from home” for the week. We booked one week in Kauai through a timeshare exchange, though this property is also available to book through various booking sites. >>Check Availability & Current Prices<< 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!

Kauai, HawaiiFind great deals on accommodations in Kauai –  Booking.com | Expedia | TripAdvisor | VRBO

VRBOPlaces to Eat in Kauai

There is so much deliciousness happening on the island of the Kauai, we put together an entire separate post on places to eat in Kauai! We’ve included everything from traditional shave ice and quick bites to our most romantic dining experience ever!

Places to Eat in Kauai

Things to See In Kauai

 Kilauea Lighthouse

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!

Kauai, HawaiiHanalei Valley Scenic Overlook

Because we were based in Princeville during our time in Kauai, 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.

Kauai, HawaiiOther times, the sun was shining, illuminating the lush and vibrant green patches in the field.

Kauai, HawaiiIt 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.

Hertz logo 125x125 Kauai Island Helicopter Tour

Our big splurge during this trip was a private helicopter tour of the island. The one-hour flight cost us 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.

Kauai, Hawaii

Tree Tunnel

Located on 520, off of 50, on the way to the south side of the island is the famed Tree Tunnel.

Tree Tunnel Kauai

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.

Kauai, Hawaii

Best Beaches in Kauai

From the driftwood covered shores of Lydgate Beach to the rugged cliffs of Mahaulepu, there is no shortage of beautiful beaches on the island of Kauai. See Hawaiian monk seals lounging in the sun at Po’ipu Beach and swim with turtles at Tunnels Beach. For a closer look at our favorites beaches, check out our post on 5 of the best beaches in Kauai, and find out what we consider the be THE best beach in Kauai!

Kauai, Hawaii

Waterfalls in Kauai

Opeaka’a Falls

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!

Kauai, HawaiiWailua Falls

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.

Kauai, HawaiiBest Hikes in Kauai

 Kalalau Trail is one of the best hikes in Kauai. It’s path takes you along the stunning Nā Pali Coast.

Kauai, HawaiiOne of our absolute favorite finds of the week was Mahaulepu Heritage Trail.

Kauai, HawaiiAnother highlight of our trip was walking along the rim of Waimea Canyon.

Kauai, HawaiiIn 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.

Great Places to Watch the Sunset in Kauai

Hanalei Bay Scenic Lookout is a beautiful pull-off on the way from Princeville to Hanalei.

Hanalei Bay Scenic Lookout

It’s also a great place to watch the sunset. Be sure to get there early! Parking is very limited!

Hanalei Bay Scenic Lookout Sunset

The beach behind the St. Regis of Princeville is another spectacular spot to watch the sun set.

Kauai sunset

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… maybe next time!

Forget Someday Travel Blog Couple Kauai

Need help planning your own trip to the Garden Isle? Check out our other Kauai Travel Blogs and for less than a buck ($1 USD), you can download our printable 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 One Week in Kauai Itinerary

>> CLICK HERE to snag your copy! <<

Kauai Mahalo Rock

To inspire your visit to the Garden Isle, check out our video below!

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  1. So lucky – you got the VDB and upgraded to First! I never seem to get the VDB even when I’m first on the volunteer list.

    Looking forward to reading the rest of your posts on Kauai.

    • Yes, we considered ourselves very fortunate! We ended up being able to use the vouchers for a trip to NYC this summer and to Colorado later this month! I just can’t believe how much they were thanking us for giving up our seats. Are you kidding me?! A direct flight (in first class), instead of a 3 hour layover and $1,000 in vouchers! Thank YOU, United!! 🙂

  2. That is a lovely time in Paradise. I have not been to Hawaii yet though! I know, crazy, but i guess people don’t visit their own country enough (even the far away stuff). One day though, the shaved ice looks incredible!

    • To be honest, Hawaii wasn’t too high up on my MUST DO list, but a reasonably-priced opportunity presented itself and we couldn’t resist! I’d definitely recommend Kauai to others wanting to get away to relax and just take in stunning beauty! Thanks for checking out my blog!

  3. Thank you both so much for creating and sharing your experience to Kauai! My husband & I will be going there soon. We are very excited and seeing your pictures and information only heightens our anticipation! Mahalo!

  4. Loved the pictures, saw many of the same sites but not all!! Going back in October…want to make it yearly! Would love to fly first class next time! Long trip!!

    • I’d love to go to Kauai every year, but there are so many other places we want to visit! We’ll definitely be going back… eventually! It certainly was nice to fly first class! Wish we could do that more often! 🙂

  5. Your blog about Kauai has been wonderful to explore! I’ve taken lots of notes as I’m planning a trip there in September of 2014! Thanks!

  6. We are here and are IN LOVE WITH THIS ISLAND! Leaving shortly for the doors-off island tour with Mauna Loa. Thanks again for the recommendations!

  7. Wow! Love the photos..amazing place…its one of my dream destination so it makes me wanna go there now.

  8. Aloha!
    Awesome comments and pictures!! Thank you so much! I am going to the hawaiian islands for 2 weeks next July and I noted almost everything you posted about here!
    We will be on the garden island for 5 days and we will certainly make the most of it!


    • Oh and I wanted to ask you.. Would the Kalalau trail be too much for a almost 5 month pregnant and a 10 year old? How long did it take to complete it? Same question about the Mahulepu trail? We are mostly looking for loop trails, but you really convinced me to check those out!

      • We didn’t go very far on the Kalalau Trail, about a mile and a half in and then back. So long as the 10 year old isn’t a ‘bolter’ you should be ok. The trail is near a steep drop-off at some parts. It’s a little strenuous at the beginning and having never been pregnant, I honestly don’t know if it would be too much. The Mahulepu Trail wasn’t strenuous at all, just a nice seaside stroll, but the road to get there was very bumpy! Enjoy your time exploring Kauai!

    • Nice! Glad we could help. 🙂 You will fall in love with the beauty of Kauai!

  9. Aloha from Kauai!
    Great blog you have here. I was just enjoying the posts about the Grand Circle. We’re heading there in a few months and appreciate your tips and reviews! Next time you come to Kauai, I’d love to take you guys on a hike with our company (Windward Hikes). We offer shorter tours in Kapaa that help gear you up for the Kalalau trail.

    Mahalo for the fun reads!

    • Glad we could help with planning your trip to the Grand Circle. You will LOVE it! Amazing beautiful landscapes as far as the eye can see! And if we ever head back to Kauai (which we’d love to), we’ll look you up and take you up on your offer for a hike! 🙂

  10. Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your formatting! Love that you have it split into concise categories, with links to further explanation so it’s easy to browse through and pick and choose what to read about. Love the PDF availability. So glad I found your page, made planning QUICK and EASY (we fly out in the morning!) so THANK YOU

  11. virginia schulze

    Useful piece – I learned a lot from the insight . Does someone know where I would be able to find a blank a form form to type on ?

  12. Wow, the lush green ins simply stunning. Were are planning to go to Hawaii in January. So thanks for the inspiration guys!

  13. Hawaii is literally heaven on earth! All of these pictures are just gorgeous.Love the tropics.

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