Kauai is an island like no other.
The farthest of the Hawaiian islands, it has managed to stay very ‘Old Hawaii’ with its slow-paced island lifestyle and one-of-a-kind beauty. Nicknamed “The Garden Isle”, Kauai is home to canopies of lush tropical plants and trees that envelop the entire island, while its coastline is marked by impressive emerald-green seacliffs dropping dramatically to white-sand beaches and crystal-clear coral reefs below.
It is so mind-blowingly beautiful. So beautiful and idyllic, in fact, that many of the locals will tell you they actually came to vacation on Kauai and never flew back.
Kauai is just that kind of place. A small, blissful, contagious paradise.
Made famous by Hollywood as the setting of all of the Jurassic Park movies- as well as Lost, The Descendants, and Pirates of the Caribbean, among others – it’s no question why film-makers lust over this place’s beautiful terrain. Kauai makes you wonder “Could this all be real?” at every turn.
If this sounds like your heaven, you’re not alone. Here is your complete Kauai Travel Guide to plan your next amazing Hawaiian getaway.
Kauai has two main sides to it, Hanalei (North Shore), and Poipu (South Shore). They are about an hour and a half apart and have very different feels to them. Poipu is known as being the sunnier side of the island, while Princeville & Hanalei on the North Shore are home to some of the most beautiful settings. Here are my favorites for both locations.
The Princeville Resort is one of the most stunning, and all-around amazing, resorts I’ve ever set foot in. From it’s floor-to-ceiling panoramic lobby windows with sweeping views of mountains, a waterfall, and the picturesque Hanalei Bay, to its stunningly beautiful pool, to it’s world-class service, it is no question that this hotel defines luxury. The St. Regis Princeville ranks among Starwood Preferred Guests prestigious “level seven” resorts, and is home to the Makai Golf Course, ranked in the top 100 golf courses in the world. Sitting in their infinity pool looking out onto the backdrop of volcanic mountains on one-side and the beach on the other, I’m not kidding when I say I can’t imagine a better place in the world to be. ( check the best rates for your dates here )
This big, beautiful hotel is great for families and is quintessential-Hawaii. Expect an orchid lei upon arrival, a gorgeous pool, and a long stretch of beach.
What to do in Kauai
The Napali Coast
It goes without saying that seeing the ruggedly majestic Napali Coast of Kauai is a must-do. But how will you see it?
The Napili Coast National Park, specifically the Kalalau Trail, is home to one of the most beautiful- and toughest- hikes I’ve ever done. It takes about 3-4 hours total to do the Beach Hike of the Kalalau trail (4 tough miles to the beautiful beach and back) or about 6 hours and 11 miles to do the full hike to the waterfall. Although it can be treacherous (especially if you go after it’s rained and the trail is muddy), the views are more than worth it. ( Kalalau Trail, Napili Coast National Park Maps & Info )
Captain Andy’s Sailing
I cannot recommend Captain Andy’s Sail & Snorkel Tours enough. With 2 departing daily (one with snorkeling in the morning, and one with dinner and a sunset sail at night), these catamarans (and their amazing crew) are unbeatable. We took the morning tour, complete with beautiful calm morning waters, pods of dolphins chasing the boat, turquoise blue grottos, sea-side waterfalls, and unbelievable views of the Napili Coast. The trip also includes an open beer/wine bar and a delicious barbecue lunch (theres a barbecue on the back of the catamaran) so you can get your cheeseburger in paradise.
( Captain Andy’s Sailing https://www.napali.