Kauai Travel Guide

On Kauai you’ll find brilliant sunsets, pristine beaches, and aquamarine skies. Kauai, the oldest of the Hawaiian islands, appeals to a no-muss, no-fuss type of traveler. If you prefer a rural beach destination, then Kauai’s your island. There are only two major highways, and some regions can only be explored on foot. 

But , be forewarned: You might also need a little cash. Kauai has put a premium on its natural beauty and prized hiking trails, and room rates during the winter can reach $500 a night. See our section on when to go for the most economical time to visit Kauai. Start planning your vacation to Kauai. Continue reading our Kauai Travel Guide. For a list of all the great beaches in Kauai, visit our Hawaii Beaches.

Weather – When to Visit Kauai

The best time to visit Kauai is between September and November or from April to June, when the weather is pleasant and airfare and hotel rates drop. The rainy season that occurs from December to March doesn’t deter visitors looking for a winter getaway, but you’ll face the highest markup on rooms and flights if you visit at this time (it’s peak travel season in Kauai). If winter is too pricey for your liking, consider the spring and fall months as a compromise: Kauai sees a slight dip in prices after the peak season concludes and before families take summer vacations. Vacationing in Kauai during the summer won’t yield the same high prices as winter, but they won’t be a whole lot lower either. 

Kauai Attractions

Kauapea (Secrets) Beach

Kauapea (Secrets) Beach, Kauai Hawaii, Visit Kauai Hawaii, Kauai beaches, Hawaii beaches, things to do in Kauai Hawaii, best restaurants in Kauai Hawaii, Kauai Hawaii attractions, best nightlife in Kauai Hawaii, beach travel, beach travel destinations, best hotels in Kauai Hawaii

This 3,000 foot long north shore beach is known for its size, privacy, and scenery. Secret beach is between Kalihiwai Bayand Kilauea Point and is accessed by a steep trail which is of course, not marked. This beach is great because it’s so large and vast, that many times you feel like you are one of the only people there. Keep walking down the beach until you find a spot that suits you, and enjoy this beach.

Waimea Canyon and Koke’e State Park

Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Park, Kauai Hawaii, Visit Kauai Hawaii, Kauai beaches, Hawaii beaches, things to do in Kauai Hawaii, best restaurants in Kauai Hawaii, Kauai Hawaii attractions, best nightlife in Kauai Hawaii, beach travel, beach travel destinations, best hotels in Kauai Hawaii

This 14-mile-long, mile-wide and approximately 3,600-feet deep gorge is awash with spectacular scenery difficult to find elsewhere on the Hawaiian islands. Here, you’ll find craggy red cliffsides and crested buttes blanketed in lush, evergreen vegetation as far as the eye can see, with waterfalls and rivers dotted in between. There are multiple lookout points along Koke’e Road, including the popular Waimea Canyon and Puu Hinahina lookout points.

Napali Coast

Napali Coast, Kauai Hawaii, Visit Kauai Hawaii, Kauai beaches, Hawaii beaches, things to do in Kauai Hawaii, best restaurants in Kauai Hawaii, Kauai Hawaii attractions, best nightlife in Kauai Hawaii, beach travel, beach travel destinations, best hotels in Kauai Hawaii

The Napali coast is a 17-mile expanse of rocky, steep, but oh-so-gorgeous series of cliffs that stretch along Kauai’s northwest shore. Travelers agree there’s no better way to experience Kauai’s natural beauty and eye-catching terrain than at Napali, so you should make plans to marvel at it –  either on foot, from the water or from the air (there are no roads that go along the Napali Coast.

.

Polihale State Park

Polihale State Park, Kauai Hawaii, Visit Kauai Hawaii, Kauai beaches, Hawaii beaches, things to do in Kauai Hawaii, best restaurants in Kauai Hawaii, Kauai Hawaii attractions, best nightlife in Kauai Hawaii, beach travel, beach travel destinations, best hotels in Kauai Hawaii

Polihale State Park is the last beach before the Napali Coast begins. On the northern tip of the beach, you can enjoy an eyeful of the edge of Napali’s cliffs, and south of that, you’ll have a whopping 17 miles of shore all to yourself. Because the beach is so big, it’s rarely crowded.

.

.

Ke’e Beach

Ke'e Beach, Kauai Hawaii, Visit Kauai Hawaii, Kauai beaches, Hawaii beaches, things to do in Kauai Hawaii, best restaurants in Kauai Hawaii, Kauai Hawaii attractions, best nightlife in Kauai Hawaii, beach travel, beach travel destinations, best hotels in Kauai Hawaii

Ke’e Beach is the safest beach to access for prime Napali views. Ke’e Beach is conveniently situated at the Kalalau trailhead, offering beachgoers sweeping views of the Napali cliffs from the comfort of the sand instead of the muddy Kalalau Trail. Unlike Polihale State Park, there are lifeguards posted here and depending on the time of year, it is safe to swim and snorkel, so long as you keep close to the shore. 

Things to do in Kauai

Na Pali Experience

Join them for a five-hour experience you will remember forever. Kauai’s Na Pali coast is one of the most spectacular attractions in the world. Avoid the crowds and climb aboard a vessel that allows you to have a closer look. Telephone: 808-635-1131 Web: Na Pali Experience

Blue Ocean Adventure Tours

Whether it is your honeymoon getaway to Kauai, or your family looking for fun, wonder and great times, Blue Ocean Adventure Tours is your personal adventure company. They strive for your satisfaction & amazement! They offer Napali Coast Snorkel & Adventure Tours, Whale watching tours, & Private Tours. Telephone: 1 800-451-6133 Web: Blue Ocean Adventure Tours

Koloa Zipline

Featuring their 1/2 mile Waita Zip. Each of their lines average over 1,000′ in length and have you Flying through the jungle, soaring above the forest and gliding across the water. They’re also the only Zipline on Kauai that offers headfirst ziplining with their Flyin’ Kauaian Harness!  Telephone: 808-742-2894 Web: Koloa Zipline

Wings Over Kauai

Climb aboard for your personalized Grand Deluxe Tour of the most beautiful landscape in the world! Soar through the Waimea Canyon, then catch your breath as the majestic cathedral spires of the Na Pali are suddenly beneath you. Fly alongside the ridgeline behind the lovely Hanalei Bay, and travel south to see the numerous waterfalls of Hanalei Valley as well as the crater below Kauai’s Mt. Wai`ale`ale. Telephone: 808-635-0815 Web: Wings Over Kauai

Kayak Wailua

Their kayaking/hiking guided tour adventure is one of the few activities which can be enjoyed by all members of your family including grandma and grandpa. They invite you to read their 2000+ reviews; then check availability and reserve space. Telephone: 808-822-3388 Web: Kayak Wailua

Best Restaurants in Kauai

$-Inexpensive     $$-Moderate     $$$-Pricey     $$$$-Ultra High End

$$$$ Bar Acuda

Bar Acuda is Kaua‘i’s coolest place to relax with friends, share tapas and sip some wine. Chef & owner Jim Moffat’s culinary sensibility originates from the people and food he experienced during years of travel to the Mediterranean regions of Europe – including Southern France, Italy, Spain and Portugal – as well as twenty-five years of honing his craft at his award winning San Francisco restaurants. Telephone: 808-826-7081 Web: Bar Acuda

$$$$ JO2 Natural Cuisine

JO2 transforms nature’s bounty into exquisite dishes incorporating Kaua`i-grown heirloom vegetables and the freshest ingredients from the sea. With the culinary influences of Josselin’s native France, clean flavors of Japanese cooking, and ingredients inspired by Hawai`i’s multiethnic community, JO2’s succulent offerings are both creative and rooted in tradition. Telephone: 808-212-1627 Web: JO2 Natural Cuisine

$$$$ Hukilau Lanai Restaurant

Serving delicious food using fresh local ingredients from Hawaii. Specializing in impeccable fresh fish caught by our local fishermen. Open air dining surrounded by lush tropical gardens with an ocean view. Telephone: 808-822-0600 Web: Hukilau Lanai Restaurant

$$$$ Kauai ONO 560

Kauai Ono provides a Farm-to-Table concept dinner twice weekly to the public.  Menus are varied and based on locally sourced proteins as well as fruits and veggies from the local farmers markets. Telephone: 808-634-3244 Web: Kauai ONO 560

$$ – $$$ Sam’s Ocean View

Sam’s Ocean View Restaurant is known for it’s Fabulous Kauai Ocean Views, ambiance, great food and drinks. Locals  and tourists alike, consider this one of the ten best restaurants in Kauai.  Enjoy island fresh foods prepared daily just for you, from garden to table, you are certain to enjoy every bite. Telephone: 808-822-7887 Web: Sam’s Ocean View

Best Nightlife in Kauai

Tahiti Nui

The comfortable hangout welcomes folks craving homestyle sustenance, as well as those who come to enjoy a tropical drink and great entertainment. Every night, there’s some sort of activity, be it karaoke performances, bands playing local tunes, or impromptu dancing. Fun-loving patrons and a casual ambiance guarantee its appeal in the eyes of North Shore natives and visitors alike. Telephone: 808-826-6277 Web: Tahiti Nui

Bar Acuda

Hip, gleaming Bar Acuda has a stylish atmosphere and scrumptious food. It’s a great destination for dinner and drinks with friends or with a romantic interest. A carefully chosen wine list highlights vintages from western Europe and the western US, and a fantastic social scene is part and parcel of the goings-on. Telephone: 808-826-7081 Web: Bar Acuda

Hanalei Gourmet

Although this casual restaurant serves food all day, it’s also known for its nightlife scene. It’s a former schoolhouse and almost seems like sacrilege to enjoy loud music in the space. Still, patrons kick back at the bar and rock to live music, which is played several nights a week. You may encounter jazz, island folk, or even rock when you come. Telephone: 808-826-2524 Web: Hanalei Gourmet

Keoki’s Paradise

Keoki’s bar is a fantastic hangout for those who want to drink, socialize, and munch on appetizers and light fare. On weekends, you’ll catch live bands playing terrific Hawaiian tunes and folks dancing to the catchy rhythms. Fun and beautiful. Telephone: 808-742-7534 Web: Keoki’s Paradise

Stevenson’s Library

This refined bar has the feel of a Victorian gentleman’s club, thanks to dark woods, upholstered sofas, books, and parlor games. Other diversions include billiards tables, TVs, and a player piano. Single-malt scotches are a specialty, along with cognacs and ports. Best of all, live jazz performers play nightly. Telephone: 808-742-1234 Web: Stevenson’s Library

Best Hotels on Kauai

Whalers Cove Oceanfront Resort

Whalers Cove Oceanfront Resort, Kauai Hawaii, Visit Kauai Hawaii, Kauai beaches, Hawaii beaches, things to do in Kauai Hawaii, best restaurants in Kauai Hawaii, Kauai Hawaii attractions, best nightlife in Kauai Hawaii, beach travel, beach travel destinations, best hotels in Kauai Hawaii

Their 1, 2 & 3 bedroom Poipu accommodations provide an experience of luxury, relaxation and rejuvenation from the ordinary on Kauai’s magnificent beach shores. Each are uniquely decorated providing fully equipped kitchens and offer either partial or full ocean views. Choose these exceptional Poipu Beach condo rentals for the space and convenience you deserve. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Whalers Cove Oceanfront Resort.

Koa Kea Hotel & Resort

Koa Kea Hotel & Resort, Kauai Hawaii, Visit Kauai Hawaii, Kauai beaches, Hawaii beaches, things to do in Kauai Hawaii, best restaurants in Kauai Hawaii, Kauai Hawaii attractions, best nightlife in Kauai Hawaii, beach travel, beach travel destinations, best hotels in Kauai Hawaii

Represented by coral found throughout the resort, Ko’a Kea Resort & Spa embodies rebirth and rejuvenation as Kauai’s closest hotel accommodations to the water. From the sand to the guest rooms, you’ll find delicate touches that keep true to the essence of Hawaii while welcoming a sense of romantic relaxation at this 2018 Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Award winning resort. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit the Koa Kea Hotel & Resort.

.

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, Kauai Hawaii, Visit Kauai Hawaii, Kauai beaches, Hawaii beaches, things to do in Kauai Hawaii, best restaurants in Kauai Hawaii, Kauai Hawaii attractions, best nightlife in Kauai Hawaii, beach travel, beach travel destinations, best hotels in Kauai Hawaii

Set along the soothing white sands of Poipu, this breathtaking Kauai beachfront resort is balanced between magnificent lush mountains and the azure sea. One of the best luxury resorts on Kauai, the 602-room Grand Hyatt Kauai draws guests with spacious, Hawaiian-inspired rooms, three incredible pools, a behemoth saltwater lagoon, 10 dining options, including a host of high-end restaurants, a renowned spa, a twice-weekly luau, and immaculately kept tropical grounds.  For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa.

The Villas at Poipu Kai

The Villas at Poipu Kai, Kauai Hawaii, Visit Kauai Hawaii, Kauai beaches, Hawaii beaches, things to do in Kauai Hawaii, best restaurants in Kauai Hawaii, Kauai Hawaii attractions, best nightlife in Kauai Hawaii, beach travel, beach travel destinations, best hotels in Kauai Hawaii

Poipu Beach Park is just a 12-minute walk from this Koloa resort, which features a tropical outdoor pool, hot tub and fitness center. Complimentary umbrellas, coolers, chairs, boogie boards and pool toys are provided. Each villa has a full kitchen, living room with a flat-screen TV and sofa. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your villa visit The Villas at Poipu Kai.

.

.

Hotel Coral Reef

Hotel Coral Reef, Kauai Hawaii, Visit Kauai Hawaii, Kauai beaches, Hawaii beaches, things to do in Kauai Hawaii, best restaurants in Kauai Hawaii, Kauai Hawaii attractions, best nightlife in Kauai Hawaii, beach travel, beach travel destinations, best hotels in Kauai Hawaii

This enviable beachfront location ensures you will enjoy beautiful, uninterrupted views and access to the breathtaking coastline of “‘the garden island”. They are situated in one of the most captivating tourist areas— the quaint and eclectic Kapa’a town— with its’ wonderful little shops, restaurants, live entertainment, farmers markets, small boat harbor, adventure tours and local conveniences.  For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit the Hotel Coral Reef.



Booking.com

26 Comments

  1. Mina

    Wow! Kauai is indeed a heaven!
    You have laid all the important details that a traveler should know.
    From weather, to hotels and attractions.

    Kauai would be definitely in my list!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Mina! You will have a ball! Please let me know if I can provide you with any additional information.

      Reply
  2. Oneal22

    This is a very nice review on the Kauai, it is just so revealing and rich. The description is so amazing, it makes me want to be in Hawaii already. I have always dreamed of going to Hawaii, living the Hawaiian dream for a vacation, but I have not gotten the chance yet, financially and otherwise. But the part that caught my eye the most was the Koloa zipline that spans 1.2 mile it gave me the chills. And reading this today has heightened my Hawaiian expectations. Cheers.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You will love Hawaii once you to visit.  Really Kauai is probably a lot easier on your pocket book than some of the other Hawaiian Islands.  Thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  3. Katya

    Oh my God, Kauai is a heaven on earth! It looks so wild and pristine yet super luxurious and a place to spoil yourself. Do temperatures drop during wet season or is it still hot and muggy? 

    I cannot stop scrolling up and down your post, Polihale State Park and Waimea Canyon looks absolutely stunning!!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      It stays about the same temperature year round.  I don’t consider it to be hot and muggy though.  Nice temperature with some humidity.  But then I am in Florida.  And you are right, you can spoil yourself in Kauai!  Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  4. Daniella

    Hi Matt,
    Oh, my Goodness:) This place is so beautiful!
    I can already imagine myself there. I’ll sure visit this place very soon. I love the green and blue sky, and I enjoy hiking too. Perfect!
    There are many fun activities to indulge in. It must be great to do kayak there or a boating tour.
    The hotel that I like very much is The Villas at Poipu Kai. I’ll take a look at this one right now. How many days will be enough to visit all these places?
    Thanks for this excellent post!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I am not sure where you are traveling from Daniella, but I would set aside 2 days for getting there and getting home. Then I would spend at least a week and a half enjoying what all Kauai has to offer. Thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  5. Hanna

    Kauai looks amazing on the video! I know Hawaii has been one of the crowded places for tourists, but this one looks perfect!
    You mentioned going there around September.. do you think it is not as expensive?
    Anyway, thanks for the review.. this is i think one of the best place to go in Hawaii:)

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      It is not as expensive Hanna. And yes, it is the best place in Hawaii budget wise 🙂 Thanks for visiting my Kauai Travel Guide!

      Reply
  6. Kirsti

    Wow, I´ve always wanted to go to Hawaii, and this post makes me want to go there even more. Are there a little less tourists on Kauai than on the most popular islands? A rural beach destination sounds awesome.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes! Compared to Maui, Oahu and the Big Island, Kauai is far less touristy. You won’t find the overcrowded mega-resorts, and in fact, building restrictions don’t even allow for hotels to reach more than a few stories in height. This offers a drastically different experience than what you’d find at some of the popular destinations on the coasts of the other islands. So, it will be an awesome beach vacation!

      Reply
  7. Wei

    Oh Hawaii!

    It’s so so famous and yet I haven’t get the chance to visit that amazing place. Thank you so much for sharing your guide. I’m again excited! Oh holidays holidays…

    Can you also introduce me to the local cuisine? Which restaurant should I go to meet some locals and try what they eat?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, I have one recommended on my review which is J02 Natural Cuisine. A couple more choices would be Mark’s Place and Keoki’s Paradise. Please let me know if you have any additional questions and thank you for stopping by my Kauai Travel review.

      Reply
  8. Carmeta

    Hawai is a beautiful place with very nice restaurants. In my country there are similar hotels and restaurants with a wonderful seaview which reminds me of them. I’m sure that anyone reading this will be ready to make their booking to travel there. Great article! Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome Carmeta. Thank you for stopping by!

      Reply
  9. Effie

    Hawaii has always been a dream of mine! I must say that your article offers a detailed description of the place and a lot of advice on what to do, where to go and eat. Thanks you Leahrae!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are so welcome Effie! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Reply
  10. Derek Marshall

    Thank you kindly for the info regarding Kauai travel, I tend to go for backpacking and backpacker option simply because that is the kind of vibe that I like within the travel community (I travel non-stop mostly Asia!) Hawai islands represent a pretty cool stop over on the way from Asia to the Americas.

    Backpacker destination on these islands apprecaited.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes Derek, definitely can do some back packing here 🙂 Glad you enjoyed!

      Reply
  11. Boby

    Well, Kauai has just made it to the top of my list of dream destinations!
    I like what I’m seeing and I like it a lot.
    The hotels, the restaurant and the place itself look magical and definitely something that shouldn’t be missed.
    And I think I’ll have time in April – you said it’s one of the best times of the year to visit, right?
    Thanks for sharing, I’ll certainly consider it!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, April is great ! Dreams definitely come true, you will get there 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  12. Monica

    I have always wanted to travel to Kauai! It looks incredibly beautiful. I appreciate the recommendations on the best time to visit Kauai, between the months of September and November or from April to June. This is where there is going to the best deals. Thank you for the valuable information.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Monica for visiting beach travel destinations. I am glad you enjoyed my Kauai Travel Guide. Stop by when you are ready to plan.

      Reply
  13. Stella

    Thank you for wonderful info on the Island of Islands.
    The exotic romantic ora enfolding Hawaii is always so enticing to visit.
    Your site has all the information needed to make it your next destination.

    A wonderful review.
    Stella
    Bush Lady

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Stella! I am truly glad you enjoyed. Yes, Hawaii is a wonderful destination. Plenty for everyone, that is for sure!

      Reply

Leave a Reply to Hanna Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On PinterestCheck Our Feed