Man, guys. I feel so lucky to have been able to go to Kauai this past week! The Hawaiian Islands just keep getting better. Last year was Oahu, this year was Kauai, and next year will be Maui! This dream just keeps getting better!
I thought I would share some of my favorites and tips to go along (:
We rented a house in Koloa, by Poipu Beach. I hands-down loved this part of the island. We also stayed right next to the Hyatt and their beach, which was a BLAST. The Hyatt was stunning and was great to walk around and shop. I would’ve loved to stay at the Hyatt if we had a smaller group, but having such a large group, a beach house was ideal.
This worked out great because we went to Costco our first morning, which had great prices that compared to the mainland, and we stocked up on groceries/drinks. We ate breakfasts and a few dinners, at the house. I would HIGHLY recommend renting a beach house for bigger groups.
Also, it was nice to wake up and grab a drink from the fridge then sit on the deck to watch the sunrise. One of my favorite times during our trip.
Oh man, was there some delicious food or what?! The odd thing about it all was that some of the best food we had was Mexican or hot dogs… LOL! You would think Hawaii would have some great Hawaiian food, but I’ve found over the two trips that Hawaii is not the easiest place to find Hawaiian food.. Here were my top favs in Kauai:
- Puka Dogs- I’m a big hot dog lover, but this hot dog comes with a delicious sauce and fruit relish. YUM! Also, they make homemade lemonade. Not the best I’ve had, but definitely refreshing.
- Uncles Shave Ice– Hands down the best shave ice I’ve had in the Hawaiian Islands thus far. Guys, I finished this stuff in under 5 minutes. It was light and fluffy, melted in my mouth, just like shave ice should! Take it from me.. I managed a shave ice shack for a few years… I know my shave ice (;
- Tortilla Republic- I know there are a few other locations, but I thought this was a great stop for a nicer dinner. We celebrated Reagan’s birthday here and they were very friendly, accommodating, and the food was spot on. Some of the best Mexican food I had.
- Waimea Plantation- Brax and I stopped here for breakfast on our way out of Waimea Canyon. Did not disappoint! We got the breakfast burritos and they hit the spot! I wouldn’t drive out of my way to go here, but if you’re around, there’s not a lot of food choices, so I recommend stopping by here. It’s got a pretty view and some walking areas. And, some nice high chairs for babies! Lol!
- Chicken In a Barrel vs. L&L’s- Unfortunately, we never got Chicken In a Barrel because we did not feel like spending $20 on each of our meals, at the time. However, you pay for what you receive. You literally can smell them smoking their meat out back. Meanwhile, L&L’s reminds me of the Taco Bell of Hawaiian Food. It’s cheap and good, but has a good chance of messing up your stomach a little bit. So, pick or choose your battle for Hawaiian Food!
- Costco- Did I mention that Costco is by the airport? Wait, oh ya! $5 or less for a meal. I’ll take it.
- Brenneckes- Food with a view. This overlooks Poipu Beach and this spot includes some history of the tsunami that wiped out this part of the island. Let me mention one thing I loved about Brenneckes… When they sat us down, they pulled up a high chair for Ivy and put a little toy in front of her that stuck to the table. LOVED THIS. They were so friendly and it was a great atmosphere for the whole family
- Fruit stands- I LOVE fruit stands, but one I loved the most was up by Waimea Canyon. We bought Strawberry Papaya and it could be considered one of my fav fruits now (;
- Farmers Markets- My mom stopped by one at the Kukui’ula Village Shopping Center. I was sad because Ivy was dead asleep and we didn’t want to get her out, so we stayed with her. But, they brought back some amazing treats and fruits. I regret not going to this.
- The Fresh Shave- Okay, if you are looking for something more natural for shave ice,this is your place. This girl hand shaves the ice then uses fruit syrups and fresh fruit. I’m not a natural shave ice girl, so I wouldn’t say it was my favorite, but others rave about it.
- Brenneckes Beach- The boys loved boogie boarding on this small beach. I guess it’s known to be a good boogie boarding beach? I played mommy during this time, so I actually didn’t get to try out any of the waves.
- Poipu Beach- This is right by Brenneckes Beach and I thought it was a cute family beach. There were some seals sitting on a part of the beach and their was also a rocky area you could walk out to and find fun sea creatures. Brax and I spotted a crab eating another crab. I joked that it was really Tamatoa from Moana. Haha!
- Hyatt’s beach- I LOVED this beach, especially because one day they had some massive waves. Like literally I’ve never caught such big waves while boogie boarding. It was INSANE! Also, cliff jumping for the win on this beach.
- Poipu Athletic Beach Club- I put this under the swimming category, but it is honestly was so much more. They have a fun swimming pool for kids that includes a mini sandy beach, which was so fun for Ivy. The pool included a slide and a hot tub, as well. At the club, there were games like Shuffle Board, Pickleball, tennis, and basketball. You can also enjoy fitness classes as well as food. We signed up for the Beach Club during the week we would be there.
- Salt Sand Park- Brax and I made a quick stop here with Ivy. There was a mini cove that was perfect for swimming with Ivy. The waves would splash over a natural rock barrier that ended up creating this cute waterfall effect. I thought this beach was cozy and perfect for an hour or so.
Hiking, Activites, Etc.:
- Sleeping Turtles outside of Brenneckes- After our dinner at Brenneckes, some guy stopped us and told us to go out to the beach and look at the turtles. Sure enough, tons of massive sea turtles were sleeping on the edge of the beach. SO COOL!
- Queen’s Bath- This was a great little sight seeing adventure. However, the hike down was SO muddy. The downside was that back at the top, where we parked, there weren’t any water pumps to wash off at, so we ran over to the golf course and wiped off on their grass… Hahaha! However, it was amazing to see! I know lots of eople swim in this; personally, I would NOT recommend this. If you asked my husband, he would say go for it… Literally, almost peed my pants when he about jumped in. I’m all for adventuring, but mommy instincts are getting the best of me now! (I spy a sea turtle swimming in Queen’s Bath)
- Catamaran, Raft, or Helicopter Tour to see the Nepali Coast- Okay, I was SO excited for our Catamaran Sunset Cruise to see the Nepali Coast, but unfortunately the wind/waves were too bad for us to make it that far. I would recommend taking a tour, but do not count on seeing the Nepali Coast. We talked to a family that had tried to see the coast 5 times and every single time the weather got in the way. Though we didn’t see the coast, we saw some amazing whales and had a great time eating dinner in the middle of the ocean.
- Wailua Falls- Super quick stop on our way to the Kalalau Trail, but breathtaking!
- Hike the Kalalau Trail– This trail was unbelievably beautiful. But, I don’t think I was prepared.. Tips– EAT a big meal before going. This hike could take about 4 hours if you go to the beach. It took us 1 1/2 hours up and 1 hour down (we hustled on the way back.) Also, make sure you are ready to endure the mud. Wear some good water shoes (Don’t wear nice ones because Hawaiian mud stains) and bring extra socks in case you start to get blisters from the way your feet move through the mud. DO NOT wear a cute outfit. On the way back, I was so happy I wore an older outfit instead of a newer one. The mud might get everywhere if you visit during a rainy time.
Waimea Canyon- Beautiful sight seeing, that won’t take too long (besides the drive). Personally, I didn’t feel like we needed to spend much time up there because it was beautiful to see within 10 minutes.
Spouting Horn- Fun to see, if you have some time. It’s nothing spectacular, but I love to see all of nature’s little pretties!
Overall, I think Kauai was one of the most beautiful places we have visited, thus far in our adventures. I would love to go back, but I also want to keep venturing on! Feel free to comment with questions or maybe some of your fav places to visit in Kauai. Especially because we stayed mainly on the south end.
TIP: Stay on south coast during the Spring because up north gets hit pretty hard with rain. This is their winter time! ALSO, send your prayers to the north side of the island. They have received a flooding tragedy this week 😦 So glad we were out before it all happened.