For our honeymoon, 4 years ago, Brandon and I went to Maui. Ever since then we have been wanting to get back to the islands of Hawaii. We hadn’t taken a real vacation in a couple of years, so when August rolled around we figured we were about due.
I knew I didn’t want to go back to Maui, not because we didn’t love it, we most definitely did! I just wanted to go somewhere new. To be honest, other than knowing my Aunt absolutely loved it, I knew nothing about Kauai, but it was the island we decided should be our next visit.
Like I said we loved Maui, but Kauai has topped that love. Kauai, compared to Maui, is so much more laid back. There isn’t a whole lot going on, it’s absolutely beautiful and it is exactly what you imagine “island life” to be.
Kauai Travel Guide
Where We Stayed
Kaua’i Marriott Resort & Beach Club in Lihue. We ended up choosing this hotel because my Aunt said it had the best beach of any of the hotels she stayed at. The beach did not disappoint. It was perfect. Probably the best beach we came across during our trip. It is not the chicest, most up to date hotel, but too be honest, I’d rather have the beach when in Kauai than an Instagramable hotel room.
Another great thing about this hotel is the location in Lihue. For one, it is like a 5-minute drive from the airport. It’s also in the middle of the island, pretty much equal driving distance to the Northside of the island and the Southside.
What We Did
I feel like we did A LOT. Maui was a super relaxing trip where we spent most of our time at the beach. Kauai though, we wanted to experience as much as possible. These worth definitely worth a mention in our Kauai travel guide.
Sleeping Giant – This was a pretty moderate hike. What made it the most difficult was that it was VERY muddy (I did not know Kauai was one of the wettest places on earth!) which made it slippery and kind of scary at some points. It’s about a 4-mile round hike and took us about 2.5 hours. When we get to the top you have pretty much 360-degree views of the island. It is nothing short of amazing!
Queens Bath – This isn’t much of a hike, although you do have to climb a few rocks. The mud, once again, was the only thing that made it difficult. The bath itself is actually a tide pool or sinkhole surrounded by rock and overlooking the ocean. I read A LOT of scary things about not swimming in it (there was even a sign on the trail with tally’s for how many people have drowned in it), but when we got there it was SUPER calm and several people were in it. I jumped in for a real hot minute. It’s definitely worth the hike because it is an absolutely beautiful location overlooking the ocean. Just for sure be careful!
Ho’opi’i Falls – This was an absolutely beautiful hike! More like a walk actually. It was about 2 miles out and back with the opportunity to see two beautiful waterfalls. We actually missed the first one on our way in, but somehow stumbled upon it on our way out. The whole walk is along a river and the scenery is breathtaking.
Lawa’i Beach – I had several beaches on my “to-do” list before we left. This was not one of them, but I’m so glad we stumbled upon it! It’s not much of a beach, but if you are wanting to snorkel, this is a great place to go! TONS of fish and coral to see. There were also lots of surfers here which is always fun to watch.
Lumahai Beach – We just happened to stumble upon this beach on our drive up the coast. There were a few cars parked on the side, so we decided to check it out. It was a gorgeous beach with big black rocks everywhere. It also wasn’t very crowded which is always a plus when it comes to the beach! We tried to snorkel here but didn’t see much however it was a great place to lounge for a bit.
Tubing Tunnels with Kauai Backcountry Adventures – This was something Brandon really wanted to do. To be honest, I wasn’t 100% sold on the idea, I’m not one for guided tours. However, this ended up being so much fun and incredibly informative. I’d highly suggest this if you want something a little different to do!
One thing we did not get to do (because of poor planning, we tried last minute, but it didn’t pan out), was a helicopter tour. It comes HIGHLY recommended because 70% of Kauai is not accessible. So we didn’t get to see the Napali Coast or the Jurassic Park waterfall, but it’s at the top of our to-do list next time we!
Where To Eat
We had a lot of hits and misses when it came to the restaurants. These are just the ones we really enjoyed the food at and thought deserved a mention in the Kauai travel guide.
Java Kai – This was a super cute breakfast/coffee shop in Kapaa. The food was delicious and the coffee even better!
Anuenue – We ventured to this place twice for breakfast and it was delicious both times! Brand had french toast with coconut pudding while I had the eggs benedict…we both ordered the same thing each time we went. Lol.
Duke’s – Basically a Hawaii staple. It was located at our hotel and was just as delicious as it was in Maui. Their desert, the Hula Pie, is literally to die for.
Portofino – This was another restaurant at our hotel. It was Italian and incredibly delicious. We went for dinner one night but also got pizza from there another time.
Kauai Beer Company – We always like to try out the local breweries when we travel. This one was right in Lihue and thought both the food and beer were great!
Beach House – We didn’t eat here because we just popped in after snorkeling, but we did enjoy some cocktails outside overlooking the ocean. This place comes highly recommended for a sunset dinner and I can totally see why. We were there at the perfect time, but it was super cloudy. Still gorgeous nonetheless.
Hee Fat General Store – Okay, so you can’t go to Hawaii and not get shave ice, it is heaven! Wailua Shave Ice came highly recommended, so we tried that first. Then we saw some lady carrying a massive thing of shaved ice and tracked down where it came from. Hee Fat was the winner. We made it there twice and agreed it was the best shave ice on the island.
Tortilla Republic – This was our last stop on the island. TBH I’ve seen the RHOOC eat here in Laguna (I’m embarrassed), so I recommended it to Brand. We both ended up loving it and I would 100% go back. Plus it’s in the cutest little shopping village!
Hope you enjoyed our Kauai Travel Guide!