The Complete Guide to Kaua'i: The Garden Isle

 Kaua’i is the oldest Hawaiian island.   Time has perfected this stunning island forming the rugged and stunning Na Pali Coast and the most waterfalls, streams and rivers of any Hawaiian Island.  Travel and Leisure has named Kauai as one of the Top 10 Best Islands in the World.  

We spent 7 days on the beautiful island of Kaua’i in late November of 2016 and again in June of 2019.  The "Garden Isle" is my favorite Hawaiian island.  When I think of relaxing in Hawaii I really think of Kaua’i.

This is our third time to this amazing island and I have some recommendations for you!



The south shore is great for the most sunshine and I love it because there are so many great restaurants, shops, markets which makes it a great base. We have stayed here the majority of our time in Kauai and loved it. Shipwreck’s beach and Poipu beach are some of my favorite spots.


Another great area on the East side of the island, tons of local restaurants and cute shops. I personally haven’t stayed here, yet, but I really want to next time!

North Shore

In my opinion, the most beautiful side area of the island. It’s more mountainous, but can also get a lot more rain and clouds so it’s something to keep in mind if you prefer lots of sunshine.


The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa

My Personal favorite resorts are: The Grand Hyatt Kaua’i and Koa Kea (both in Poipu).


Poipu: Kukui'ula Village:  This village has shopping, art galleries and restaurants.  It was really fun and there was live music most nights we went there!  Try these places:

Tortilla Republic: Cantina and Margherita Bar: They have a really fun cocktail list and everyone loved what they got!

The Lanai Kauai.   Another fun place, with a great atomosphere. They're reasonably priced compared to what you would pay for meals at a resort.  

Keoki’s Paradise- this isn’t just a restaurant, it’s an experience! We had a blast and the ambiance is really fun! It may be on the more touristy side of places we typically go, but hey it was fun and the food was delicious! You must try the Hula Pie for dessert, it’s their specialty!

Lappert’s Hawaii-

Also check out:

Kilauea Bakery/Pau Hana Pizza: Coffee, pastries, smoothies and pizza on the Northeast side of the island. You might had a hard time deciding because there are so many delicious options!This place is definitely popular among locals so it’s not a touristy spot…love!

Acai Bowls, Juice Bars & Shaved Ice:

In Hawaii, Acai bowls and shaved ice are essential to your experience. You won't be disappointed by these delicious treats! We enjoyed an Acai Bowl almost every day of our trip!

Aloha Aina Juice CafeAnake's Juice BarWaikomo Shaved Ice (The guava flavor is amazing), and Kauai Juice Co.  

Don’t miss:

Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail

A nice, moderate hike right along the water located in Poipu right by The Grand Hyatt Resort. This hike offers gorgeous views without being strenuous! Use Shipwreck’s Beach as your starting point (The Grand Hyatt Resort) and head towards the large cliffs on your left and you will make your way towards the trail.

A Helicopter Tour

Most of the island is not accessible by car, so this a great way to see the island and really get a feel for its diverse landscape!  Whether you do doors on or off, make sure you budget for this!  I consider it a must do!  If you are serious about getting quality photos, I recommend a doors off tour.  If you want to sit back and enjoy the ride, then doors on would be great!  I've actually done both and trust me you really can't go wrong! Also, the afternoon tours are best for the Na Pali coast views because it's typically nice and sunny! For more details about this tour, check this post!


This neat little surf town on the North Shore is my favorite area of the island!  Walk along the beach and see the famous pier with the gorgeous Na Pali range behind it!  It's often a little misty, but when you've got this view, who cares! It'd simply be unfair to the rest of the island if it was sunny all the time here. It's so beautiful!  It usually clears up nicely for sunset and it's one of the best places to watch it!

A Boat Tour:

If you’re not keen on a helicopter tour, I highly recommend doing a boat tour. There are plenty of options for the type of adventure you crave. Whether it’s a snorkeling tour, raft/cave tour, or sunset dinner cruise! We chose Captain Andy’s Star Napali Snorkel BBQ Sail!

Waimea Canyon

Kalalua Lookout on the West side of the island.  

Other places to check out

Kapaa Town

Wailua Falls- which you can easily check out on your way to the North Shore

Kilauea Lighthouse

Hope you enjoyed this post!  If you have any other questions about Kauai, feel free to leave a comment and I will do my best to answer!  I have been to Kauai a few times and it always leaves me amazed by it's beauty!  I hope you get to go soon!

A hui hou (until next time),


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