Top Places to Check Out in Kauai

We are about to head to Kauai for the third time (so this post may be updated soon), but we often get questions about what our favorite places are and don’t want to wait to share with you all.

Here are some of our top places to visit on the island of Kauai in Hawaii:

Hotel: Kauai Shores

The Beach at the Kauai Shores Hotel
The Beach at the Kauai Shores Hotel

We’ve stayed at the Kauai Shores three separate times during our last two trips and we booked it again for our upcoming stay in Kauai!  We love Kauai Shores as it’s in a great location, has a great restaurant/bar onsite, is a great value, and right on the beach!  We’ve stayed a few other hotels and checked out various options and always come back to Kauai Shores! We recommend booking right with the hotel as they have great deals right on their site that major travel booking sites don’t offer.  It’s location is great as it’s in Kapaa and centrally located.  It’s an easy drive there from the Lihue Airport. Want to visit both sides of the island like Poipu to Princeville?  This hotel is located right in the middle of both! Making it easy to get to where ever you want on the island of Kauai.

Bar: Lava Lava Beach Club

Enjoying a Mai Tai at the Lava Lava Beach Club
Enjoying a Mai Tai at the Lava Lava Beach Club in Kapaa

We love the Lava Lava Beach Club!  Whether it’s brunch, a late night snack or a few mai tais, Lava Lava Beach Club offers a great menu selection!  The main reason we love this place? It’s right on the beach! You can sit with your feet in the sand while at a table and lookout to the beautiful view!   It’s a must see!

Beach: Shipwreck’s Beach in Poipu

Shipwreck's Beach in Kauai
Shipwreck’s Beach in Kauai

Although we love the beach at the Kauai Shores Hotel, we still feel like you should get out and explore the island we on our first trip we ended up at Shipwreck’s Beach and loved it!  We were there during the sunset and it was absolutely beautiful.  A beautiful beach with hiking trails for additional exploration!   We will actually be going back to Shipswreck’s Beach on our next trip.  It was easy to get to, we were able to find parking with no issues and they have restrooms onsite as well.

Breakfast: Wake Up Cafe in Hanalei

Wake Up Cafe in Hanalei

We wanted to find a quick breakfast spot prior to our hike to the Hanakapiai Falls and stumbled upon the cutest cafe in Hanalei!  You can sit on the patio and enjoy your breakfast while checking out the views!

Brunch: Gaylord’s Brunch Buffett (Kilohana Kauai)

We enjoyed live music while eating our brunch at Gaylord’s.

Looking for the best brunch spot in Kauai? Check out Gaylord’s Brunch Buffet on Sundays!  Located on the Kilohana Plantation Kauai – enjoy the beautiful scenery, amazing brunch and even live music!  Afterwards, explore the Kilohana Plantation!

Distillery: Koloa Rum

Before our rum tasting at Koloa Rum!

Looking to find a distillery and enjoy a FREE tasting? Check out Koloa Rum’s Tasting Room (which is also located on the Kilohana Plantation)!   Learn about Koloa Rum, the history about sugar cane in Kauai, and enjoy a few tasty samples. This is obviously a 21+ activity so for those of you under 21, you’ll just have to check it out next time.

Nā Pali Coast Sailing: Holoholo Boat Tours

A great way to check out the Na Pali Coast!

Want to see the Na Pali Coast? You have to check out Holoholo Boat Tours! They have various options for all day sails, snorkeling or evening sails.  We tried the Sunset Sail on a Catamaran last year and it was an AMAZING experience with BREATHTAKING views!  The Na Pali Coast is a MUST SEE while in Kauai and this is one of the best ways to do it!

Day Excursion: Kauai Back Country Tubing 

Checking out a major scene from Jurassic Park before the tubing experience!

Looking for a family friendly, fun event that is also extremely relaxing?  Check out Kauai Back Country Tubing!   You start out the excursion with a bus ride up to where they shot a few iconic scenes of Jurassic Park (and yes, you get to stop to take photos), then ride down to the starting point of the Tubing Adventure where you ride through the historic irrigation system of the former Lihue Plantation, then enjoy lunch with those that enjoyed the adventure with you!

L’uau:  Hawaii Alive Luau

Looking for a Luau in Kauai?  We’ve seen the a few Luaus during our stays in Hawaii and we enjoyed the Hawaii Alive Show!  Great food, drinks and entertainment!  An extra bonus point of why we loved this show?  It’s location was right off the Beach in Kapaa! We were able to walk down the beach to and from our hotel (Kauai Shores)!

Coffee: Kauai Coffee

Playing around after a tour at Kauai Coffee!

Looking to learn more about Coffee while enjoying some great coffee? Check out Kauai Coffee!  They have free tours (which we def have taken advantage of their guided free tour), free samples of their various coffee offerings (my favorite is the Coconut Caramel Crunch), and a shop to buy and bring your favorite coffee and swag home!

Restaurant: Sam’s Ocean View

My delicious meal the last time we were at Sam’s! Can’t wait to be back!

When we heard there was a fire here recently, we were devastated as it’s been our top recommendation to our friends and family as it’s our favorite dinner destination in Kauai.  We did just get the good news that they are reopening their doors shortly and they will be open in time for our return to Kauai!  As it says in their name, Sam’s Ocean View provides a stunning view like non-other from their 2nd Story restaurant!  Want to enjoy a beautiful meal and delicious drink? This is your stop.  Do not skip this place when you’re in Kauai!  I promise you won’t regret it!

Hike:  Hanakapiai Falls 

The hike to Hanakapiai Falls was worth it!

I may not be a hiker, but this hike was totally worth it!  It is not an easy hike, so please make sure to read up on it prior to going and bring a lot of water and snacks (like Cliff Bars) to stay hydrated and keep the energy flowing.   I have linked to the Trip Advisor page for Hanakapiai Falls as the page provides quite a bit of insight into the experience (as well as safety tips and things to know).  We hiked all the way to the falls and it was a full day event.   Once we finally got to the falls, we enjoyed a nice swim inside the falls and relaxed while enjoying the beautiful view!

“These are a few of our favorite things…” to do in Hawaii!   Want more recommendations or ask us a question? Feel free to reach out to me directly on Facebook!  More than happy to chat about it! 

Want to know how we’ve been able to book so many trips to Hawaii? Check out the post I wrote on how we were able to go to Hawaii twice in 6 months by leveraging flight deals!