What comes to mind first when you think of Hawaii? Beautiful beaches with palm trees and possibly a lush mountain in the background? Sipping water straight from a coconut or healthy smoothies and eats? This describes this island perfectly. Kaua’i is the wettest spot on Earth, which makes it also the most lush, green and beautiful islands that are also easy to get to from the mainland.
Here’s how we spent a week adventuring in the North Shore of Kauai, Hawaii. Let me know what you think of this itinerary type of post!
Strolled around Hanalei Bay. Must try: Aloha Juice Bar. The smoothies are so fresh.
Snorkel Anini Beach –– We had arrived too close to the massive 50 year flood that had just devastated the north shore area of the island. What was once one of the top snorkeling areas is now (for a little while at least) covered in debris and mud. The reef actually protects the beach, which makes it perfect for swimming and snorkeling in the summer, that protection, does not allow the sediment to flow out with the tide.
Sunset at the Lighthouse — FYI, you cannot actually see the sunset from the lighthouse. The gates close at 4:00PM. I have no idea why the locals, or the bloggers talk about seeing the sunset from the lighthouse, when you really can’t but once a year on the anniversary. Really what you have to do is park your car on the road that leads to the gates and sit at a local hangout. Great view and you can get some typical Hawaiian sunset photos with palm trees and a horse farm in them. I would recommend heading down towards the St. Regis in Princeville. There is a fabulous sitting area with a killer view right before you reach the Puu Poa Condos.
DAY 2 – South Side
Salt Pond Beach
Oh man. Salt Pond Beach is perfect! It has a protected swimming area, beautiful scenery and amenities like picnic tables, restrooms, water faucet and a food truck.
Kipu Ranch Adventures – ATV Tour
This was a really cool experience. Growing up riding ATV’s I was sceptical. Don’t think that this will be just a “ride behind a whole caravan of other ATV and it will be boring. NO it is awesome! I think they said it’s 3000 acres. Owned by one family, sold in the 1700’s by a princess for $3000. Her stipulations were that they can never build up on it or sell it to a different family. So the Rice family has owned it ever since. Tons of movies have been filmed on this ranch. It was really cool driving up and down the mountains and through the valley. Below are a few pictures from scenes from Jurassic Park, King Kong, and Raiders of the Lost Ark.
DAY 3 Our Anniversary
Sunset Na Pali Coast Cruise with Na Pali Catamaran
The recent devastating flood had washed out the road past Hanalei Bay and down to the Trail to Na Pali. We could not get to tunnels beach, Kee beach or the trail. The boat tours had just started running again when we got to Kauai. Our sunset cruise was set as a “let’s see how this goes” according to the company. We got lucky y’all, it was INTENSE in the best ways possible. The views at sunset with the golden light radiating off the cliffs were unforgettable. Some tours even in the morning cruises (known for more gentle seas) had turn around and be cut short because of how bad the waves were. But on our night, we had the best weather and the calmest water in 3 months according to the captain. We explored the inside of sea caves, saw a handful of rainbows and truly lived in the moment.
Got up incredibly early to have queens bath practically to ourselves and at low tide. So calm and beautiful. 💙🖤 Located in Princeville, Kauai. Get there EARLY (6:30-7:00AM) even on a weekday, for a parking spot. Once down the crazy hike, keep going towards the left, further past the first tide “pool”. That’s not it. 🙂 Up over all the lava rocks for a ways and you are there! Please do all the research on high and low tides 💙💙💙 Queens Bath is extremely dangerous at high tide.
More Aloha Juice Bar
Lappert’s Ice Cream 🍦 There are two locations on the island. One is right there in Princeville. Very easy access from the North Shore. Pictured flavor is the Hula Pie.
TIP: Get the coconut ice cream (I paired mine with the Kona Coffee and it was AMAZING)
The Waimea Canyon is about a 2 hour drive from Princeville. The Grand Canyon of Hawaii it’s called. We did not get a lot of photos of the canyon side and my camera had a speck of dirt on the lens… So. Here are some shots of the trail we hiked. Of all our research, this was THE trail. FYI the trail is nothing spectacular. It is the view at the end… the VERY end (past the signs that tell you not to go out there) that is worth the boring, long, hard trail.
Hideaways Beach has a reputation of being treacherous to get to. Yes the path can get muddy, and it is a steep one! But there are ropes and some built-in type stairs to help you along. I would not bring a ton of items with you, as you’ll want at least one hand free to guide you down the path. The area is beautiful to snorkel in MID tide LOL . Low tide is a little hard because it’s too low and you can cut yourself on the coral. High tide, the water starts to get rough and murky. Although it’s beautiful to sit and enjoy the scenery at anytime. Our condo was right above this beach, walking distance, although if you need to drive be prepared, the parking lot for Hideaways only has about 6 spots in it.
Dinner at Piazza in Princeville
Hands down my favorite meal in Kauai. Well, besides Lapparts HAHA. This was legit Italian pizza, from the chunks of fresh mozzarella to the dough that tasted like it was just made. The restaurant looks like nothing from the outside, we had passed it by a ton of times this week. One night we finally went in. The decor is so trendy and cute and the restaurant is perfectly laid out. Beyond that, the staff was attentive, nice and filled my water like 8 times. HAHA 5 stars.
DAY 7 – Travel Day
WAYYYYY bigger açaí bowls for cheap…. Head to Kapaa – Ohana Juice Bar
Amazing prices, free honey, great view of the ocean if you walk around back.
We laid around this beach all afternoon after wandering around the Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail that starts here and ends at the tortoise farm. A few people were cliff jumping and a lot of surfers were out. This beach has almost no shade, so we quickly found a tree to relax under with our beach blanket.
Tortoise Farm & Cave
Puka Dog AGAIN for lunch.
It’s that good.
Oh and where we stayed:
Puu Poa Condos in Princeville, Kauai
We love choosing a condo to stay in over hotel. Unless that hotel is all inclusive, that’s a different story! When you get a condo, a lot of times it is much more quiet and you get a lot of amenities. Things like a full kitchen means you can go to the grocery store and cook meals yourself or grab bottles of water and fruit etc. We went out to eat and cooked meals ourselves about 50/50. We also had a large living area, washer and dryer which came in very handy and a large lanai. The grounds had a tennis court and pool.
Thank you so much for reading! If you are currently researching a trip to Kauai and have any questions, just post below. I’d love to help. Let’s connect on Instagram @terranelsonblog