Kauai is What literal Dreams are Made of
Rainforests, dolphins, and beaches oh my.... Our trip to Kauai was my first time in one of Hawaii's beautiful islands, and I'm happy to say it won't be my last! I spent 8 wonderful days here and was able to experience most of what this island has to offer. A few misconceptions about Kauai that I want to squash.
Facts vs Myths
1. "It rains all the time" -Kauai is the wettest place on earth and sees different weather conditions every day. However, we went in mid December, which is part of their rainy season, however we were blessed with beautiful weather for 6 out of 8 of the days. Even with the rain, it was beautiful!
2. "It's really expensive" - Just like any other tropical place, yes it can be expensive - but there's a ton of ways to save! For example, you can hike, go to the beach, or visit the waterfalls! All for free. Visit a local grocery store to cook breakfast. I recommend spending the $6-8 on one of their famous Açaí bowls AND their shaved ice.... it'll change your life. :P
Where we stayed
We stayed on the south side of Kauai, near Poipu Beach. Kauai will get a lot of rain, but not necessarily over the entire island. We noticed we had better weather here and are very happy with our decision to stay on the south side!
My second choice would have been on the east side near Lihue - just because there were a lot of restaurants and beaches and it would have been a central driving spot to easily go up North or down south.
my first three days
I spent my first three days at a photography workshop where we were able to catch sunrises at excluded beaches, take photos of a few elopements, and meet different photographers from all over the U.S. One of my favorite spots was this little Red Dirt Waterfall near our drive up waimea canyon.... it makes a great photo opp! Beware - Don't stand on the water... it's clay and very slippery! I learned this the hard way. YIKES
After the workshop, my boyfriend, David, flew in and we spent 5 wonderful days exploring the island even more.
3 activities that are worth the money
Boat Tour - Napoli Coast
This tour was so nice... I did it TWICE! My #1 recommendation would be to do this 5 hour tour up the Napoli Coast, there is really no other way to describe this place, other than straight magic. We saw 100s of dolphins and even a few whales!
Rent a Car
This is a necessity. You need a car to really access all of the islands beauty. *Plus we got a convertible so we spent a few afternoons just driving around!* If you drive up towards Waimea, stop by the "Thai Food Coconut Corner" for a shaved ice, or 5...YOU WILL NOT BE SORRY.
I'm torn on whether to endorse this or not. I loved our helicopter tour and we got to see the entire island in 60 minutes... but since our tour, there was a crash on the island... so safe to say I won't be going on another any time soon. Just throwing that out there.
Free things to do
hike/drive up the west coast
Take your car up the windy roads to look at "the grand canyon of Hawaii" and all of its beauty. Take a 1/2-day to drive up (make some stops) to the trail and take the 3-4 mile hike (be prepared with snacks, water, and waterproof shoes! - it's muddy).
waimea canyon, kauai
take a dip
If you're feeling adventurous, hike down the Wailua River State park to take a secluded dip under this beautiful waterfall! Beware, this hike down is no joke!!! Bring bugspray, towels, and a change of clothes.
Wailua Rive State Park
watch the sunset
On the south side of Kauai, you can drive to the Sheraton Kauai Resort and watch the most gorgeous sunset, with a Mai Tai from the hotel bar. This is something you'll want to do every night, promise!!!
Poipu beach, kauai
PLanning a wedding?!
best places to elope in kauai
On the North side of Kauai, Hanalei Beach is the perfect location for a beach elopement, with an amazing sunset! Watch the surfers and say your vows on this beautiful beach!
This location is perfect if you want more of a mountain landscape. There's several options including hiking or just parking on the side of the road! Get up early and watch the sunrise over the canyon while saying your precious vows.