Spend this summer or fall enjoying the paradise of Kauai, Hawaii. This small island with an abundance of undeveloped land and natural scenery is the ideal place to slow down the pace of life. Classic plantation style houses reminiscent of the island’s bygone sugar cane production days, small towns, and local boutique shops give Kauai its own distinct charm. At the same time, you’ll also find world-class white sand beaches, jaw-dropping waterfalls, and hiking trails that display stunning views all on this gem of an island. Exchange fall colors for the aqua blue hues of the Pacific when you escape to a Kauai Summer or Fall getaway!
When visitors head to the Hawaiian Islands, most head to Oahu, Hawaii (also known as the Big Island), Maui, or Kauai. Of these four, Kauai offers a more rural feel with spectacular scenery, so that you can truly experience the laid-back lifestyle of the islands. While the pace is slower, you’ll still find exciting activities that will add fun to your vacation days. Shopping, dining, and activities both on the water and away from the shore are all available on Kauai. Be sure to add some of these favorites to your summer or fall itinerary!
Top Kauai Summer & Fall Sights
Impossibly blue ocean waters, emerald-green sea cliffs, and long strips of white sand beaches can be spotted from above as you make your landing on the Island of Kauai. The majority of Kauai’s top sights are natural – from the jagged mountain peaks to the windswept beaches. Bring along your camera and be sure to capture some of these most-photographed spots on Kauai!
Hanalei Bay is a beautiful bay located on Kauai’s North Shore. The crescent-shaped beach extends for nearly two miles, curling up against aqua blue waters. Toward the east end of the bay, a picturesque fishing pier juts out into the sea, adding good perspective for snapping a photo and serving as a launching spot for local kids jumping off into the waters below. During parts of the summer, the sun sets just far enough over that you can catch it dip below the horizon from Hanalei Bay, despite its North Shore location. Hanalei Bay is a favorite spot for couples and families alike. During summer months, there are few waves here, with the area near the pier often offering calm, glassy waters. Generally, the further to the west you move along the beach, the larger the waves. Most surfers can be found toward the west end of the bay during summer and fall months, where beginners can still find some wave to ride. Hanalei town is set back just a few streets over from the beach, offering surf shops, boutiques, and restaurants. This surf town is a charming place to explore when you’re ready for a break from the sand and sun!
Poipu Beach Park is another favorite Kauai Summer & Fall attraction. Located on the opposite side of the island, this south side beach park is family friendly and great for beachgoers of all ages. Poipu Beach is actually two crescent beaches strung together, and the best spot to stake your claim in the sand depends on your desired activity. The far eastern end of the beach offers a shallow, protected area perfect for small children. With large lava rocks keeping rogue waves at bay, toddlers can splash and play freely. There’s also a new playground set just back from the sand. The two beach crescents are joined at a point and extend into a tombola, a narrow strip of sand that leads from the shore to a small island. The height of the tide determines the depth of the water that needs to be crossed, but at low tide you can often make your way to the small offshore island, where monk seals can sometimes be spotted lazing. Between the island and the shore, a reef system attracts tropical fish, making this a great snorkeling spot. And further west along the beach, you’ll find sandy entry points great for swimming and boogie boarding. From Poipu Beach Park, there are a handful of restaurants in walking distance and a larger selection just a few minutes’ drive away.
Kauai offers much more than stunning beaches, so be sure to head to the island’s interior to take in some of its other mesmerizing sights. Known as the Garden Island, this tropical isle is home to lush foliage and thundering waterfalls. While you’ll have to take on some strenuous hiking to reach some of Kauai’s waterfalls, Wailua Falls is one of the island’s most spectacular waterfalls that requires little more than taking a drive. Situated on the interior of the island’s east side, Wailua Falls is a picturesque waterfall that drops down into a river below. If it looks familiar, it may be because this cascade was featured on the television show Fantasy Island. Depending on the amount of recent rainfall, sometimes it appears as two cascades tumbling gracefully over the cliff, while at other times its raging waters rush in one strong gush. Either way, its beauty is apparent and if the lighting is right, you can sometimes catch a rainbow at the base of the spray. Wailua Falls is easily accessible, with the parking lot just steps from the viewing area. And unlike some other falls that have to be admired from a distance, this cascade’s viewing platform is located right near the top of the falls.
Things to Do on Kauai
Home to so many spectacular beaches, it’s probably no surprise that many of Kauai’s best activities center around the waterfront. There is a plethora of water activities available here no matter your experience level. If you’ve ever dreamed of trying surfing, Kauai is a great spot to do so. Kiahuna Beach (locally known as Sheraton’s), Kalapaki Bay, and Hanalei Bay are some of the most popular places for beginners to give this favorite water sport a try. Snorkeling, boogie boarding, stand up paddle boarding, and kayaking, among others, are all easily accessible and popular with residents and visitors alike. Taking a boat excursion is also a great way to enjoy the water from a different vantage point. Depending on the trip you select, these can include snorkeling at offshore locations, dolphin sightings, onboard dining, sunset viewing, and catching iconic sights such as the sea cliffs of the Na Pali Coast that are inaccessible by road.
To add some excitement to the itinerary, consider booking an adventure activity during your stay on Kauai. Kauai may have postcard perfect beaches, but it is also home to stunning mountains, desert landscapes, lush valleys, and tropical rainforests, which make it an ideal place to explore off-road. Consider booking an ATV tour that takes you down some of Kauai’s famed red dirt roads with spectacular mountain landscapes spread out before you. Ziplining through a lush jungle canopy or water tubing down hidden canals are other options for experiencing the island from another vantage point. And if you’ve ever dreamed of horseback riding along the oceanfront, Kauai’s CJM Country Stables is the perfect place to do so.
With its stunning mountain terrain, Kauai is an excellent destination for avid hikers. From the island’s west side town of Waimea, head up the mountains to Waimea Canyon State Park and Koke’e State Park, where hiking trails abound. Along the way, stop at numerous viewpoints to take in the scenery across Waimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Waipo’o Falls can be spotted from across the valley, dropping an astounding 800 feet into the river below. Though it’s not possible to hike to the base of the falls, the Canyon Trail leads to the top, offering scenic canyon views along the way. To catch views of the elusive Na Pali coastline, consider hiking the Awa’awapuhi Trail or Pihea Trail, both of which offer breathtaking views of the emerald cliffs that make this coastline so renowned.
Best Kauai Restaurants
After spending the day hiking or getting active along the coastline, pause to refuel at one of Kauai’s best restaurants. Though you’ll find a handful of chain restaurants here, there are also a large number of local eateries that make up the majority of Kauai’s dining scene.
For breakfast, grab donuts from Holey Grail, a food truck situated in the North Shore town of Hanalei. This little stand open only Friday through Sunday offers taro donuts fried in coconut oil, and there’s often a long line of loyal customers waiting to get their donut fix. The Holey Grail donuts are made with many locally grown and crafted ingredients, such as chocolate grown on the Lydgate Farms and Kauai Nectar Company wildflower honey. Choose among flavors such as island chocolate, tangelo, maple and smoked coconut, and birthday cake.
Pause to refuel mid-day with lunch at Saimin Dojo, located in the east coast town of Kapa’a. This eatery is a local favorite, owned and operated by a resident born and raised on the island. Saimin Dojo serves up a variety of local style plate lunches, but the must-try is the chili pepper chicken. Fried with the perfect crisp and smothered in their tasty homemade sauce, this local favorite is accompanied by rice and a scoop of local style macaroni salad.
Head to Duke’s in the evening to celebrate a special occasion or to simply enjoy a delicious dinner overlooking the ocean. Set right on the beach at Kalapaki Bay, try to snag one of the tables along the balcony for unobstructed water views. Watch boats make their way in and out of Nawiliwili Harbor as you feast on steak or fresh seafood. The add-on salad bar offers fresh fruits, salads, and muffins. Be sure to save room for the hula pie, made with a chocolate cookie crust and topped with macadamia nut ice cream, hot fudge, macadamia nuts, and whipped cream. This generously portioned dessert is meant for sharing!
Kauai Shopping Guide
When it comes to shopping on Kauai, instead of oversized malls you’ll find charming outdoor shopping centers, surf shops, and boutiques. The Shops at Kukui’ula in the South Side town of Poipu is an outdoor shopping center beautifully constructed in the traditional plantation style. Stop in Déjà Vu and Poipu Surf for all the latest beachwear and surf-inspired casual wear. Mahina is a chic boutique with an island flavor on all the latest styles, and aloha wear for the whole family can be found in Blue Ginger. A handful of art galleries, restaurants, and dessert shops are also located in Shops at Kukui’ula.
Meander the streets of Kapa’a to discover more boutiques, ranging from home goods to clothing and gift items. Food trucks and open-air restaurants are intermixed, offering options for dining along the way. And Hanalei’s downtown area offers more shopping options in and around Ching Young Village. Of course, you’ll also find box stores such as Costco and Walmart on Kauai, great for picking up grocery items and beach gear.
Summer & Fall Accommodations on Kauai
Stay near all the best Kauai sights and attractions when you book a rental with us at Premier Kauai. The majority of our Kauai vacation rentals are situated on the island’s desirable east coast, with excellent access to white sand beaches, shopping, and dining. The majority of our rentals are one- or two-bedroom accommodations, complete with a living room and full kitchen. Settle in and make yourself at home, relishing in the spacious square footage and cool island breezes. Many of these accommodations are situated right along the shoreline, offering magnificent water views and putting a day on the beach just steps from your door. Enjoy extra perks such as a spacious lanai, swimming pool, and hot tub right onsite from many of these accommodations!
Put something to look forward to on the calendar and book your accommodations for a summer or fall getaway to Kauai today! Contact us at Premier Kauai, where we take pride in ensuring visitors enjoy our island as much as we do.