Places to Stay, See and Do in Kauai

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Magic. That’s the very best word to describe Kauai.

I had the pleasure of spending seven amazing days on the island recently. I have traveled many places, but Kauai is something special. I have never been on a trip where I felt so welcomed everywhere I went, so safe everywhere I visited or so relaxed. Not to mention the fact that every direction looked like a gorgeous movie set. I am already planning to head back next year so that I can show Kauai to my family. Seriously.

Things to do in Kauai

There are amazing things to do on the island. Every location we visited was breathtakingly beautiful. Here are some of my favorite experiences in Kauai.

The Villas of Poipu Kai 

Let me be honest for a moment. At this point in my life, I am not into roughing it. When I am on vacation, I want to enjoy where I rest my head at night as much as I enjoy the activities I am doing during the day.

This villa is heaven in #kauai. Wait till you see the pool @villasatpoipukai #blogkauai #kauailife #hawaii #hosted #bloggercreate

A photo posted by Spaceships and Laserbeams (@spaceshipsandlaserbeams) on

We were a big group — 10 women in two suites — and there was loads of room for all. Each bedroom was comfortable and roomy — and the private bathrooms were incredible! The master bedroom even included a clawfoot tub that I could have happily lived in.

The convenience of a laundry room was a life saver. Several times I was covered in mud from head to toe after our adventures (for real) after the busy days around the island. But with a laundry in the suite, I was able to bring only a carry on bag for the entire trip and not have to worry. I can’t imagine doing Kauai — especially with kids — any other way.

The Villas of Poipu Kai

Outside, there was a hot tub and swimming pool to enjoy — both at the perfect temperature. A soak in the hot tub was a great way to end the day!

It was minutes to the beach, shopping, several wonderful restaurants and to Starbucks for my morning coffee run. Best of all, even on our longest driving day, we were less than an hour in the car.

You can receive 20% off booking in May, September 1- November 15 when you call 1-866-407-0249 and mention “Blog Kauai”.

Shopping in Kauai

As our home base for the week, the Villas of Poipu Kai were practically perfect in every way.

Rainbow Kayak Tour Up Wailua River to Secret Falls

I don’t know if there are words to describe how in love I am with the experience I had with Rainbow Tours. Our trip consisted of a five mile kayak trip and a two mile hike over the course of about six hours. As someone who doesn’t hike and has never kayaked before, I was nervous beforehand. But after a quick lesson and running into the riverbank twice (and going backwards once), I figured things out and was on my way.

Rainbow Tours Secret Falls Kauai

Our guide, Thomas, was AMAZING! He is clearly in love with Kauai and shared many wonderful stories about the island, its history and what we were observing along the way. The hike took us  across a river and through a mango tree forest, which led to a waterfall — that we swam under! We had a lovely lunch on the water bank beside the friendliest chickens on Kauai.

Hiking Trip in Kauai

I would certainly recommend wearing quality shoes that you don’t mind getting muddy or wet and you will want to wear your bathing suit under your clothes for the swim. You will get a waterproof bag to carry so your towel, phone, etc. will stay dry. Although you won’t be :).

Queen’s Bath & The North Shore

We heard about Queen’s Bath online and decided it was a must see — I am so glad we did because it was truly breathtaking. From the Villas at Poipu Beach, it was an easy drive across the island to the north shore. The adventure started off with a steep hike downhill, which included Kauai’s beautiful walking trees and a small waterfall. Once we got down to the ocean’s edge, we were able to walk across some black lava rock and watch sea turtles swimming.

Queen's Bath

Waterfall at Queen's Bath

A little further down, you’re able to get in the Queen’s Bath and swim during low tide. (Please obey all signage, use caution and good judgment as people have died from swimming in the wrong areas or unsafe conditions!) It was an incredible experience. The water was so beautiful, it almost didn’t seem like it could be real. Be sure to wear quality tennis shoes or hiking shoes that you don’t mind getting muddy — flip flops and sandals will not cut it!

Aulii Luau

Our night at the Aulii Luau felt like a classic Hawaiian-tourist thing to do. And I ended up loving it.  The luau takes place right on the beach beside the Sheraton Kauai. It’s actually Kauai’s only oceanfront luau!

Aulii Luau Kauai

You’ll enjoy nine traditional dances — and let me tell you, by the end, you’ll want to join them in dancing.

Dancers at Aulli Luau

The food was served buffet style. As a bit of an adventurous eater, I was thrilled to be able to try taro buns and poi for the first time. There was also pork, chicken and beef with fresh vegetables, salads and pineapple — plus an ample dessert bar.

Food at Aulii Luau in Kauai

The sunset looked like something from a post card. During the luau, we had the opportunity to get up and take pictures plus shop the vendors that were set up by the hotel. Afterwards, you can take pictures with the dancers.

Aulii Luau Sheraton Kauai Poipu Beach

Poipu Beach

Any trip to Kauai should include some time relaxing on the beach! Just a few minutes from our villa was Poipu Beach. Because of the breakwater that’s created here there is a fantastic lagoon created for swimming or relaxing in the water — away from the waves. It’s intimate and perfect for families.

Poipu Beach Kauai

We were able to see plenty of fish and even a sea turtle up close! With bathrooms, picnic tables and a few trees for shade, this is a beach I’ll happily visit again.

Kalapaki Beach

This inlet beach was so gorgeous. The afternoon we visited, it was picture perfect. You can lay on the beach, swim in the ocean, or rent a paddle board.

Took a 20 minute drive from our home base at @villasatpoipukai today and discovered this slice of paradise.

A photo posted by Spaceships and Laserbeams (@spaceshipsandlaserbeams) on

There are several restaurants and shops to putz around in as well. Plan to have lunch at Duke’s.

Food at Duke's Kauai

Both the fish tacos and the pulled pork BBQ sandwich at Duke’s were delicious and I’m still dreaming of the (virgin) La Pina I had. There’s no better lunch experience than sitting by a koi pond, drinking from a pineapple and staring at the Pacific Ocean.

La Pina Dukes Kauai

Waimea Canyon

Known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, you’ll be amazed by this canyon that is ten miles long and up to 3,000 feet deep. There are waterfalls, beautiful layers of rock and lava and lots of lush green trees. It’s definitely worth the drive up when you’re on the west side of the Kauai.

Pretty much the most gorgeous place on earth. Left @villasatpoipukai, drove 40 minutes and landed here.

A photo posted by Spaceships and Laserbeams (@spaceshipsandlaserbeams) on

Other ideas…

Some of the ladies in group did a morning helicopter ride they booked with I heard it was completely magical — above the clouds, soaring over the mountains, seeing a bird’s eye view of the island!

Holo Holo Charters Sailing Trip also came highly recommended. The tour is about seven hours, up the Napali Coast and anchoring at Niihau. You’ll spend an hour snorkeling at the Niihau reef as well — I hear the fish they spotted were amazing!

Pure magic really is the best way to describe our week on Kauai. The only thing I would have changed about the trip was to bring my family with me for a second week and make it longer.


Stephanie Keeping

Stephanie is in love with a boy named Sam. He has taught her that it's okay to jump first and look later, to wear a dirty shirt to the park and to decide that today is a good day to take a nap in your rubber boots. She hangs out here blogging at Spaceships and Laser Beams and at our printable party shop on Etsy.