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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
You’ll enjoy nine traditional dances — and let me tell you, by the end, you’ll want to join them in dancing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are several restaurants and shops to putz around in as well. Plan to have lunch at Duke’s.
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.
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.
Some of the ladies in group did a morning helicopter ride they booked with KauibyStephanie.com. 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.