Hawaiian island to visit

Been to Oahu and Maui. Going to be back to Maui with a group of friends in July but looking to tack on a few days with just the wife. Would like to visit one of the other islands. Anyone have a favorite?


^^ This ^^

Poipu Beach, Na Pali Coast, Waimea Canyon, quiet, gorgeous…

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Just a few extra days to tack on - its Kauai.
But big island is well worth a trip at some point.

Volcano. Observatory. South end green beach.
It’s a beautiful and somewhat different experience.

Thanks! recommendations of where to stay on Kauai? Best part of the island? Hotels?

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We stayed near Poipu last Thanksgiving. It’s a fine place for access to restaurants, cafes, coffee, shopping, decent beaches, but further away from what I consider the best parts of the island - the rugged nature hikes. We stayed at the Hilton, which was fine, but there are plenty of hotel options in the area. Little Fish Coffee is a great coffee/breakfast spot in Poipu, but it gets super busy, so arrive early or be prepared to wait in line for a bit.

If I go again, I’d stay on north side in order to hike Napali Coast, which I think is now open again (it was closed for over a year due to mud slides). The Okolehao trail was a fun, but steep and super muddy hike!

If you stay near Poipu, head out to Koke’e State Park & Waimea Canyon. The canyon itself is cool and lots of awesome hikes of various lengths/difficulty if follow 552 all the way to the end. I enjoyed the Awaawahpui trail as you can get awesome views of the Napali Coast from above (see pics below). Also some nice beaches (Barking Sands Beach bring one) out that way past Waimea that avoid the crowds founds on other beaches. Island Taco in Waimea was really good.

The area around Kapaa had good coffee shops and restaurants. Did not visit the beaches there, but worth stopping if driving from north side back to airport or from Poipu to north side. The Sleeping Giant Trail nearby is awesome, but can get very busy.

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I agree with Scott’s advice, the whole island is beautiful and the north/northwest coast especially so. Fortunately, the island is small, so almost everything will be within a day trip no matter where you stay. If you are looking for the “resort” experience:

  • the Grand Hyatt in Poipou is very nice: spectacular grounds, adult pool area (+), Tidepools restaurant, nice beach area, access to other restaurants nearby (we stayed here)
  • on the North side, the Princeville Resort is supposed to be very nice (never stayed)
  • a lower key “resort” at a lower tariff, is the Marriott Resort in Lihue , nice but not at the level of the first two (we stayed here)
    Top recommendations: Waimea Canyon, Na Pali Coast (Kee Beach magnificent location and snorkeling, Kalau Trail right there if you are adventurous), Kaapa for a feel of low key beach town and for shave ice and poke.

Would not deter anybody from Kauai but if you’re in Maui I would suggest considering Lanai for a short stay with the wife. You can take a quick ferry ride over from Maui. I don’t know that there is much to do beyond bask in the wonder of the Four Seasons there, but it is a wondrous resort. We played golf, lounged by pool, and over-ate seriously great food while staying in an awesome room.

Kauai is our favorite but love them all. We’ve been about 14 times so far and likely again in 2020. A couple of random comments about Kauai. If you want sun sun sun, Poipu. If you want good breezes and restaurant access, eh…maybe Kapaa. You want a little quieter than that and definitely cooler breezes with some cool snorkeling and hiking? North shore around Princeville, Hanalei, etc…

Not sure of the status of the recovery of the Hanalei area. They had bad floods. Guessing they are back up and operational at this point.

Traffic has gotten really bad in recent years on Kauai. It is particularly bad around Kapaa closely followed by Lihue. It is not unusual to get held up for an hour traveling through those areas so bear that in mind planning day trips.

No huge preference on where to stay. We typically rent a condo and visit the roaming Farmer’s markets and fish stores dotted throughout the island daily and buy whatever is fresh and in season for dinner most evenings. Lunches are when we dine out. Saves a fair amount of change if that matters.

We have spend time on all of the developed islands and Kauai is our fav. We currently stay in Princeville since Iniki swept the rental house we liked out to sea. Planning on using shuttles to get to Ke’e beach to avoid becoming part of the car problem. We love Hanalei and love the Tahiti Nui bar and weekly low key luau. Our wine bar is the Palate In Kilauea.

Thanks for the tips.

Im usually an apartment rental guy (we have a house on Maui the next week) opposed to a resort guy but this time we don’t want to deal with cooking etc and just want ease. Want to do some sightseeing, hiking kayaking snorkeling etc, then be able to be waited on at end of day.

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If money were no object to me, I would stay at the Princeville Resort, formerly the St. Regis Hotel.:star_struck:

When I rented, I usedNa PaliProperties In Hanalei.

Sounds to me almost like 4 different areas of the island. Sightseeing is literally all around the island. At least something to see around the entire ring road (that doesn’t literally ring the entire island). Kayaking is more of a grotto / river thing just south of Kapaa in Coconut Grove area. Snorkeling I prefer up north shore closer to tunnels beach. Resort wise I’d say Poipu. More offerings and tons more construction down there building lots of new restaurants and such.

I’d pick a spot and just be prepared to drive a bunch. Good news is it is small. Bad news is the aforementioned traffic.

Looked at it. No rooms available.

Sounds like I should just pick a nice place with a good swimming beach and move around for the rest.

Yes, but I’ll second the traffic comment. Our day trip to N Shore from Poipu involved a lot of car time, especially from south of Kapaa to Princeville

+1 Princeville
+1 Lanai and Lodge at Koele> Manele Bay: 2 different climates with shuttle, just awesome hotels

Check the nearby Westin Princeville. It is a magnificent timeshare property but often has villas available for rent.

Another vote for Kauai… we rented a waterfront condo in Princeville! The road had just opened when we were there… but they are restricting access to an extent. Strongly suggest arranging to see the Napali coast from a boat!