The second stop on our Hawaiian Island vacation was Kauai.  We learned all about the island using the GyPSy app which gave us a driving tour of the island while also getting history lesson.  This app is a MUST if you have a car. After leaving the very busy island of Oahu, Kauai was a wonderful change of pace.  Very laid back with lush vegetation and amazing beaches. And chickens. Lots and lots of chickens.

Here’s some of the locations we visited:

Waimea Canyon – The Waimea Canyon is nicknamed the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.  The day we visited it was a bit overcast and some low clouds (fog?) were hanging around.  But wait just a minute and the view will change! The light winds swept the clouds away and we were presented with an amazing view of the canyon.  

We loved all of the chickens that were roaming around this area.  Especially this little guy who was just blissfully running along the canyon wall.

Waimea Canyon is a drivable destination, so you can follow the road along the canyon and hop out of the car for beautiful sights.  Along the way there are numerous trails to explore too. Some are short and some will take you all day.

The red dirt in this area is quite a sight too.

The Kalalau Lookout is the “other side” of what you will see when you visit the Napali Coast.  The Napali Coast tour is a must do! I was bummed to find out that you have to get advance reservations to hike the Kalalau trail now, which we did not.  We did take a boat tour on a Zodiac boat of the coastline. It was quite the adventure! A smooth ride going there, a bumpy splashy ride going back!

The zodiac was small enough to go through all of the caves.  

We even got to see many spinner dolphins swimming close by.  That’s a bucket list item for me!!

Our tour was from North Shore Charters and I highly recommend them.  We had delicious sandwiches for lunch after we snorkeled.  The waters had lots of fish and sea turtles.

Wailau River & Falls – The Wailua river is a beautiful, serene area.  The falls are a popular attraction, especially because you can see them right from the parking lot!  No need to go farther than your car.  

For a fun half day, visit the Kamokila Hawaiian Village and book the Secret Falls excursion.  Get there when the place opens because the reservations fill up fast! You will kayak over to the hiking trail.

Hike to Secret Falls (not really a secret to anyone!)

Then you can spend the rest of your time kayaking on the peaceful river.

Kuilau Trail – you DO NOT want to miss this trail.  This turned out to be the place you see in magazines and on Instagram.  WOW is all that I can say on this one.

Shave Ice – we fell in love with a local favorite flavor – “Bali Hai Sunset”.  Coconut ice cream on the bottom and delicious fruit flavors on top. Yum!!

Tunnels Beach – there are beaches to make everyone happy on Kauai! Tunnels beach has calm waters and great snorkeling.  A seal was resting on the shore when we visited. Watch out for the shallow waters when snorkeling though. You might quickly find yourself in a spot where it’s too shallow to move around without hitting the coral and getting scratched!  Be on the lookout for sea turtles swimming around here too.

Poipu Beach – this beach is bit more crowded due to the large hotel located there, but no worries, there is plenty to share.  The waves are bit stronger in this area which makes it the perfect place to try out surfing or body boarding.

Don’t forget to stop by and get a Puka Dog if you’re in area.  Who knew hot dogs in “sleeping bags” would be so popular?

Lodging – we rented a beachfront condo at Waipouli Beach.  It was huge and clean and best of all, conveniently located less than a mile from a bike trail where I could run and see the sunrise!

We were only on Kauai for 4 nights, so we still have a list of places to visit next time we go back.  It did not disappoint!

More travel tips: Oahu vacation recap

Q: Have you ever been to Kauai? Any favorites there that I missed?

2 thoughts on “Kauai – travel tips and vacation recap”

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