(includes Ni’Ihau Island)
Haena (includes Na’Pali Coast)
●Ke’e Beach – North Highway 560; 800-464-2924 (GoHawaii); gohawaii.com/Kauai; great snorkeling.
●Tunnels Beach – North Highway 560; 800-464-2924 (GoHawaii); gohawaii.com/Kauai; great beach for snorkeling and sunbathing but hard to park; postcard-perfect, 2-mile stretch, golden sand, fringed with ironwood trees and tropical palms.
Sights & Sites
●Dry Cave – North Highway 560 (at highway end; as drive towards Kuhio Highway, road starts to thin as jungle encroaches more over pavement; on road’s left side, may see people exploring some caves, most of which visible from road; if come to stream flowing over street, have gone too far); tiny trail leads about 30 yards up to little cave full of water; swim to right and find little room that, once inside, makes water seem bright blue.
●Haena Beach Park – North Highway 560 (across from Dry Cave); beautiful white sand beach; bathrooms.
●Ka Ulu O Laka – Ke’e Beach (North Highway 560); ancient stone altar on knoll above beach boulders.
●Limahuli Botanical Gardens – 3530 Papalina Road (Kalaheo); 808-742-2623; ntbg.org; terraced gardens in verdant tropical valley overlooking ocean; includes plantation-era garden, as well as invasive species; Limahuli Stream, among last pristine waterways left in islands, provides indigenous aquatic life habitat.
●Aloha from Hanalei – Ching Young Village; 808-826-8970; handmade soaps and lotions from Kauai Kunana Dairy, sea salts, vintage aloha shirts, jewelry made from Kauai calcite, 1 of only gemstones found on island.
●Bambulei – 4-369D Kuhio Highway; 808-823-8641; bambulei.com; in 2 restored plantation houses set back from highway; dense bamboo and palm tree stands shade entrance; roosters run in tall grasses outside; stone fountain and statue welcome visitors; inside, housewares, jewelry, and muumuus; also, “tea timers,” traditional ladies’ silk blouses that are hybrid of tailored-fit Hawaiian shirts with kimono prints and mandarin collars.
●Hanalei Strings – 5-5190 Kuhio Highway; 808-826-9633; hanaleistrings.com; ukuleles.
●Ola’s Hanalei – Hanalei Dolphin Center, 5-5016 Kuhio Highway; 808-826-6937; art gallery.
●Yellowfish Trading Co. – Hanalei Center, 5-5161 Kuhio Highway; 808-826-1227; well-curated collection of old and new Hawaiiana; Art Deco furniture and teapots; vintage patterned textiles; hand-colored books, crafts, and photographs by local artists and/or writers; jewelry; 1-of-kind items, like 1940s “trench art” lamp made by WWII serviceman, painted with tropical scene and trimmed with shells and military decorations.
Hanapepe (island art capital, with many galleries, restaurants, and shops).
Sights & Sites
●Na Pali Coast – Kalalau Trail (from Ke’e Beach, strenuous 11 mile footpath) or get there by boat; napali.com; K' sheer cliffs.
●Island Soap & Candle Works – Kong Lung Center, 2484 Keneke Street; 808-828-1955; everything made by hand using local oils and traditional techniques; soap blocks cure on wooden racks behind counter; beeswax candles in coconut shells and bamboo vessels.
●Kong Lung Trading – Kong Lung Center, 2484 Keneke Street; 808-828-1822; konglung.com; complex of shops dating from 1892, housed in original Kong Lung Trading plantation company building; main store, with its elegant displays and vaulted ceilings, sells goods from all over world, including bone china vases with crinkly paper texture and linen table runners hand-printed with black and teal starfish; local offerings include giclée prints on bamboo paper by Kauai artist Troy Carney; in Mr. Lung’s Attic, clothing and consignment arm, vintage items.
Sights & Sites
●Alakai Wilderness Preserve – accessed from Alakai Swamp Trail in Koke’e State Park (see below).
●Kilauea Point Wildlife Refuge – Kilauea Light Station; 808-828-1413; fws.gov/kilaueapoint; scenic ocean overlook with lighthouse.
●Koke’e State Park – Highway 550; 808-241-3444; hawaiistateparks.org/parks/Kauai; see below.
Koloa (includes Poipu)
●Poipu Beach – 2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka Street; 808-742-7444; poipubeach.org; for Hawaiian Monk Seals.
●Brennecke’s Ledge – Hoone Road; dolphins, giant humpbacks, gray reef sharks, and tuna.
●Koloa Landing – Poipu Beach; popular night & shore dive site.
●Sheraton Caverns – Hoone Road; swim through lavatubes & archways; swarming with green sea turtles.
●Turtle Bluffs – General Store; turtles by score, just waiting to be photographed.Hotels
●Koa Kea Hotel & Resort – 2251 Poipu Road; 808-828-8888 or 877-806-2288; koakea.com; coast’s 1st boutique hotel; small central pool; all rooms have lanais, flat-screen televisions; excellent bathrooms with sit-down benched showers; average food.
●Merriman’s Fish House – 2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka Road; 808-742-8385; merrimanshawaii.com/fish-house; famous for fresh, farm-to-table ingredients.
Sights & Sites
●Allerton Garden – 4425 Lawai Road; 808-742-2623; ntbg.org/index.php.
●McBryde National Tropical Botanical Gardens – 4425 Lawai Road (Koloa); 808-742-2623; ntbg.org/gardens/mcbryde.php.
●Hawaiian Wildlife Tours – 2637 Apapane Street; 808-639-2968; hawaiianwildlifetours.com; birding tours.
●Pakala Plantation Estate – 2nd driveway on left after Makaweli Post Office; 808-742-9303; vrbo.com/271979; 4 bedrooms, 5.5 baths; island-style estate located on secluded Pakala Beach on Kauai’s west side; serene property bordering orchard, sprinkled with mature shade trees and palms; long driveway leads guests through breathtaking panorama to welcoming portico; large, southern-style veranda looks out across expansive landscape and low, lava rock wall to Pacific Ocean; living room decorated with antique furniture and oriental carpets; separate dining room and large, eat-in kitchen (opens onto deck overlooking gardens); all bedrooms spacious and comfortably furnished (some are actually suites and several open onto veranda).
●St. Regis Princeville Resort – 5520 Ka Haku Road; 808-826-9644 or 877-787-3447; stregisprinceville.com; ask for junior suite. with view.NI’IHAU ISLAND (notable for diving)
●Seasport Divers – 2827 Poipu Road (Koloa); 808-742-9303; www.seasportdivers.com; spinner dolphins, beaked whales, monk seals, and 3 shark species; boat makes trip twice weekly.
Waimea (includes Kekaha)
Bakeries, Coffee, Ice Cream, Juice & Tea
●JoJo’s Clubhouse – 9734 Kaumualii Highway; 808-338-9727; shave ice.
●Terran Tours – David Kuhn; 808-335-0398 or 808-335-3313; soundshawaiian.com; birding trips.
Sights & Sites
●Koke’e Museum & State Park – Koke’e Road (Kekaha, Highway 550); 808-335-9975; kokee.org; 4.5K plateau acres at 3.2-4.2K' above sea level; forest, hiking trails (45 miles), and wild flowers; birds like apapane, iwi, and moa; some trails lead to views of Waimea Canyon, others wind through wet forests with sweeping valley views opening up to North Shore (Pihea Trail takes you through Alaka’i Swamp, which is surreal); Koke’e Natural History Museum is must-stop shop for information about park and trails; 2 amazing lookouts, Kalalau and Puu O Kila Lookouts; note that temperature drops as you climb from 3.2K-4.2K' elevations so dress warmly.
●Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park – Highway 50; tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=190&ResourceType=Structure; begun sometime in 1817, large stone structure reflects Russian-American Company efforts to gain influence in Hawaiian Islands.
●Waimea Canyon State Park – Koke’e Road (Highway 550); 808-245-3971; “Grand Canyon of Pacific.”