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Kauai for the quiet traveler

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Found this guide helpful

Kauai is the garden island and it earns that title. Everywhere it is green and beautiful. It is a paradise for those seeking peace and quiet. The frugal traveler can enjoy scenic beaches and sumptuous food. From snorkeling to dining this guide will help you plan your trip.

Good for
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Beach Goer
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Like a Local

22 Places

4 City Tips

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Map

22 Places

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa

Hotels

Kalypso Island Bar and Grill

Restaurants

Lydgate State Park

Parks

Keoki's Paradise

Restaurants

Bouchons Grill and Sushi Bar

Restaurants

The St. Regis Bar

Restaurants

Hanalei Beach

Beaches

Brick Oven Pizza

Restaurants

Brennecke's Beach Broiler

Restaurants

Marc at Princeville Pali Ke Kua

Hotels

Marriott's Kaua'i Beach Club

Hotels

Spouting Horn

Geologic Formations

Hanalei Dolphin

Restaurants

Bubba's Burger

Restaurants

Roy's Poipu Bar & Grill

Restaurants

Poipu Beach Park

Beaches, Parks

Queen's Bath

Geologic Formations

Hanalei Bay

Beaches

Hanalei Pier

Tunnels Beach

Beaches

Anini Beach

Beaches

Dave C's City Tips

  • South shore is for families. East shore is for extreme sports. North shore is for golf, peace and quiet.
  • "Stay someplace cheap and visit someplace expensive." Advice given to me 22 years ago that has worked well.
  • Beaches are free so start your vacation by renting snorkel gear. Cost is usually around $25/week. Cheapest entertainment possible.
  • Minimal public transportation. Small parking spots. I recommend a standard car or a minivan.
  • Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa
    Hotels
    See more photos
    Dave C Says:

    My wife and I stayed at the Grand Hyatt Kauai for two nights. I could not say enough about how beautiful it is there. The winding rivers and multiple pools are simply incredible. Our room was also beautiful and filled with top notch materials. It was very quiet. We enjoyed our visit very much BUT the food was easily the worst we had on the island while simultaneously being the most expensive. I would recommend visiting this resort but eating somewhere else.

    Good for
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Couples
    Tips
    • Don't bother looking for breakfast at this resort. It doesn't exist. Just order room service and swallow the gigantic bill.
    • Food service at the pool is very slow. If you want lunch at noon make sure to order early.
    • There is free music and dance every night. Great entertainment.
    • Apply for a Hyatt credit card, charge $1k to it, and get two free nights at this luxury hotel.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 7 Hotels in Poipu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Watch where you eat! 20/11/2018
    • 4-Star Hotel 20/11/2018
    • Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa
    Address:
    1571 Poipu Rd
    Poipu, Kauai, HI 96756-9402
    Phone:
    (808) 745-1649
    Other:
  • Kalypso Island Bar and Grill
    Restaurants (American, Bar, Seafood, Soups, Polynesian, Hawaiian)
    See more photos
    Dave C Says:

    The Kalypso is easily the best bar on the north shore. The location is great if you are shopping or coming from the beach. Space is limited and there will be a wait so be prepared. Meals are huge and easily shared by two people. I recommend the fish tacos or the pork nachos.

    Good for
    • Family
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Couples
    Tips
    • Huge meals make it easy to share.
    • Be prepared to wait.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #101 of 454 restaurants in Kauai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Dinner 19/11/2018
    • One of the better restaurants. 14/11/2018
    • Kalypso Island Bar and Grill
    Address:
    4483 Aku Road
    Hanalei, Kauai, HI 96714
    Phone:
    +1 808-826-9700
    Price range:
    US$7 - US$20
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    11:00 - 21:00
    Sat - Sun
    08:00 - 21:00
    Other:
  • Lydgate State Park
    Parks
    See more photos
    Dave C Says:

    Lydgate is the iconic children beach. With big rocks to break the waves this is easily the safest place to swim on the island. It is also the only place on the island where you can buy food to feed the fish. There are a TON of fish here. So if your kids want to snorkel or if you are a little nervous about snorkeling this is the place for you. There is also a big playground across the street for the kids to play on when they are done swimming.

    Good for
    • Family
    • Beach Goer
    Tips
    • Best place for the little ones to swim.
    • Pack a lunch to save money.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 7 things to do in Wailua
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Unique beach on Kauai 14/11/2018
    • Lovely beach to watch the sunrise 10/11/2018
    • Lydgate State Park
    Address:
    Nalu Road, Uninc Kauai County, Hawaii
    Wailua, Kauai, HI 96746
    Phone:
    +1 808-241-4463
    Other:
  • Keoki's Paradise
    Restaurants (American, Bar, Seafood, Polynesian, Hawaiian)
    See more photos
    Dave C Says:

    Keoki's is a beautiful south shore restaurant with streams running through it, no wall, and often live music. The food is excellent and you just can't go wrong. Price is reasonable also. I like the Mong Chong which may or may no the on the menu. Ask for it.

    Good for
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • You WILL need a reservation.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #36 of 454 restaurants in Kauai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • LAST DINNER in Poipu 20/11/2018
    • Very good food with Kimo's Hula Pie 18/11/2018
    • Keoki's Paradise
    Address:
    2360 Kiahuna Plantation Dr
    Poipu, Kauai, HI 96756-9552
    Phone:
    +1 808-742-7534
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    11:00 - 22:30
    Other:
  • Bouchons Grill and Sushi Bar
    Restaurants (Japanese, Seafood, Sushi)
    See more photos
    Dave C Says:

    I can't say enough about this north shore restaurant. It has a great view of the Hanalei school shopping area, the food is incredible, and the prices are good. There is a really nice sushi bar also. I recommend this restaurant for dinner vs lunch as the menu is better. I recommend the Hanalei Seafood dinner.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • The dinner menu is more extensive than lunch.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 restaurants in
    • Worst Dining Experience Ever - anywhere 18/02/2018
    • Sushi and Cocktails 23/01/2018
    • Bouchons Grill and Sushi Bar
    Address:
    5-5190 Kuhio Hwy.
    Hanalei
    Hanalei, Kauai, HI 96714
    Phone:
    +1 808-826-9701
    Price range:
    US$9 - US$32
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    11:00 - 21:00
    Other:
  • The St. Regis Bar
    Restaurants (Bar, Hawaiian, American, Sushi)
    See more photos
    Dave C Says:

    The St. Regis is easily the fanciest place to eat on the north shore. It is also easily the most expensive. Prices here are CRAZY high. I recommend going to the bar during happy hour to take advantage of the better prices. Call ahead as they have different music every night. You can also check on the champagne ceremony that happens at dusk every night.

    Good for
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Luxury Traveller
    Tips
    • Call ahead to find out what music is being played. It changes every night.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #106 of 454 restaurants in Kauai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Sunset Views and Drinks 08/11/2018
    • Sunset a flop, but everything else great! 24/10/2018
    • The St. Regis Bar
    Address:
    5520 Ka Haku Rd
    Princeville Hotel
    Princeville, Kauai, HI 96722-5214
    Phone:
    +1 808-826-9644
    Price range:
    US$15 - US$30
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    12:30 - 23:00
    Other:
  • Hanalei Beach
    Beaches
    See more photos
    Dave C Says:

    The Hanalei beach is so iconic and famous I'm not sure what I can say about it. The beach is split into four (at least) distinct areas with their own parking lots. Most people will want to stay close to the pier where you can enjoy swimming, jumping off the pier, kayaking etc. This is a great spot for the kids to play. Make your way further west and it is a good spot to surf. There is a fish taco truck near the river mouth or you can take food with you to save money. After dark this turns into a locals hangout. Most are friendly and will invite you to sit with them if you have a six pack of beer.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Arrive early to get a good spot and use LOTS of sunscreen.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 16 things to do in Hanalei
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Fun beach to surf 17/11/2018
    • Pleasant stroll 16/11/2018
    • Hanalei Beach
  • Brick Oven Pizza
    Restaurants (Italian, Pizza)
    See more photos
    Dave C Says:

    Great pizza at a great price. No frills. No thrills. No Hawaiian atmosphere at all. Just a great pizza at a great price. A nice stop if you are tired of expensive restaurants or if the kids need a taste of home.

    Good for
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • No Hawaiian atmosphere but cheap.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #158 of 454 restaurants in Kauai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • What an amazing GF Pizza 18/11/2018
    • Shep13 17/11/2018
    • Brick Oven Pizza
    Address:
    4-4361 Kuhio Highway
    Kapaa, Kauai, HI 96746-1414
    Phone:
    +1 808-823-8561
    Hours:
    Wed - Mon
    11:00 - 21:00
    Other:
  • Brennecke's Beach Broiler
    Restaurants (American, Bar, Seafood, Soups, Hawaiian)
    See more photos
    Dave C Says:

    Brennecke's!!!! Everyone must stop at Brennecke's on a trip to Kauai. This is an iconic south shore restaurant. The food is excellent and it is located directly across the street from a great beach. The food is reasonably priced and excellent. The view is of the beach. There is often a short wait.

    Good for
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Be prepared to wait for a table.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #108 of 454 restaurants in Kauai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great venue for meals in Poipu 20/11/2018
    • Fantastic Value! 19/11/2018
    • Brennecke's Beach Broiler
    Address:
    2100 Hoone Rd
    Poipu, Kauai, HI 96756-9716
    Phone:
    +1 808-742-7588
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    11:00 - 22:00
    Other:
  • Marc at Princeville Pali Ke Kua
    Hotels
    See more photos
    Dave C Says:

    This condo complex has one of the best views of the ocean of any place I have stayed. It is perched on a north shore cliff facing the water. Having two bedrooms is great when you bring kids. A full, and deluxe kitchen, is also great. The prices are really good in comparison to a hotel and you will likely find a cooler and other convenient items. The only downsides I can list are the lack of air conditioning and the lack of privacy. These units are really packed close so you WILL hear your neighbors stumble in on their return from a luau. It is otherwise quiet.

    Good for
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Thrifty Traveller
    Tips
    • Cell service is spotty so don't be surprised if your neighbor stands in front of your lani to make a call.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 13 Accommodation in Princeville
    • Don’t rent condo 8 building 12 18/09/2018
    • Pali Ke Kua #233 08/05/2018
    • Marc at Princeville Pali Ke Kua
    Address:
    5454 Ka Haku Rd
    Suite C
    Princeville, Kauai, HI 96722-5233
  • Marriott's Kaua'i Beach Club
    Hotels
    See more photos
    Dave C Says:

    Easily the worst place I have stayed on the island. This south shore hotel has a beautiful exterior but their rooms are outdated. Their beds are inexcusably soft. I would never consider staying at this location again. Overpriced, flashy and run down.

    Good for
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Luxury Traveller
    Tips
    • Fancy on the outside. Shabby rooms.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 11 Hotels in Lihue
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Huge Oaradise Resort 16/11/2018
    • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.... 13/11/2018
    • Marriott's Kaua'i Beach Club
    Address:
    3610 Rice St
    Kalapaki Beach
    Lihue, Kauai, HI 96766-1705
    Other:
  • Spouting Horn
    Geologic Formations
    See more photos
    Dave C Says:

    Spouting horn is a popular tourist attraction. There is a small parking lot overlooking the ocean. The water rushes onto the volcanic rock, through underground tunnels, and shoots up through the "spout." Truth be told it isn't that amazing. Save this for a day when your sun burn is hurting and you need an alternative activity. The best part of this location are the local vendors. Five or six vendors with rock bottom prices.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Thrifty Traveller
    Tips
    • Best place to buy trinkets to take home. My favorite is the rings which cost around $25. Around a third of normal prices.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #9 of 17 things to do in Poipu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Unexceptional 20/11/2018
    • Short Visit, Worth It! 18/11/2018
    • Spouting Horn
    Address:
    South Shore
    Poipu, Kauai, HI
    Phone:
    +1 808-742-7444
    Other:
  • Hanalei Dolphin
    Restaurants (American)
    See more photos
    Dave C Says:

    The Hanalei Dolphin is on the north shore overlooking the Hanalei river. You can eat dinner and watch the stand-up-paddle boarders go by as well as the kayakers. The cooking style is blackened which may not be to everyone's taste. I prefer to order a rare mong chong or ebbi. They also have a sushi bar.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Be prepared to wait for a table.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #112 of 454 restaurants in Kauai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Date Night In The Best Seafood Restaurant 18/11/2018
    • Best sushi in town 13/11/2018
    • Hanalei Dolphin
    Address:
    5-5016 Kuhio Hwy.
    Hanalei Trader Building
    Hanalei, Kauai, HI 96714
    Phone:
    +1 808-826-6113
    Price range:
    US$20 - US$35
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    08:00 - 22:00
    Other:
  • Bubba's Burger
    Restaurants
    See more photos
    Dave C Says:

    Bubba burgers is super popular on the island and has multiple locations. They serve basic hamburgers and fries. Imagine the cheapest hamburger your grocery store carries being cooked on a commercial grill with flames shooting up two feet due to the high fat content. That's what Bubba Burgers is. If that's what you want then great but don't expect a good meal here.

    Good for
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Cheep food. Cheep prices.
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 restaurants in
    • Great Burgers! 02/10/2018
    • Best burgers in ages 14/09/2018
    • Bubba's Burger
    Address:
    5-5183 Kuhio Highway
    Hanalei, Kauai, HI 96714
    Phone:
    +1 808-826-7839
    Price range:
    US$1 - US$20
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:30 - 20:00
    Other:
  • Roy's Poipu Bar & Grill
    Restaurants (Seafood, Asian)
    See more photos
    Dave C Says:

    One of the fanciest and nicest restaurants on the south shore. Roy's is famous and you won't regret having dinner at this location. The prices are sky high though so be prepared.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Family
    Tips
    • They recently moved so ask for directions.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 restaurants in
    • Location Closed 22/04/2018
    • Family dinner 19/03/2018
    • Roy's Poipu Bar & Grill
    Address:
    2360 Kiahuna Plantation Dr
    Poipu Shopping Village
    Poipu, Kauai, HI 96756-9552
    Phone:
    +1 808-742-5000
    Price range:
    US$20 - US$40
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    17:30 - 21:30
    Other:
  • Poipu Beach Park
    Beaches, Parks
    See more photos
    Dave C Says:

    Located in front of Brenecki's this is a great family beach. You can snorkel here in safety and see lots of fish. You may even see a turtle. Good bathrooms with a changing location.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Beach Goer
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Great family beach. Easily the most crowded on the island though.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 17 things to do in Poipu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Nice beach for families 19/11/2018
    • Great Beach for the family 19/11/2018
    • Poipu Beach Park
    Address:
    Hoona Rd
    Poipu, Kauai, HI 96756
    Phone:
    +1 808-742-7444
    Other:
  • Queen's Bath
    Geologic Formations
    See more photos
    Dave C Says:

    The Queen's Bath is a very controversial location on the island due to how dangerous it is. Park near the trail, hike down while holding onto roots for balance, then walk across the lava rock so you can jump off a boulder into the Queen's Bath. I'm really glad I did this but I was smart. I went during the summer when the waves are lower. During the winter rogue waves can crash in and sweep you out to sea. Does it sound scary? It should because over a dozen people have died here just like this. Be smart and go when the waves are calm. This is NOT a spot for little kids.

    Good for
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Nature Lover
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 10 things to do in Princeville
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Challenging hike, Wonderful sites! 14/11/2018
    • Dangerous Beware Check Tides Kauai Hanalei 09/11/2018
    • Queen's Bath
    Address:
    Kapiolani Rd
    Princeville, Kauai, HI 96722
    Other:
  • Hanalei Bay
    Beaches
    See more photos
    Dave C Says:

    The Hanalei beach is so iconic and famous I'm not sure what I can say about it. The beach is split into four (at least) distinct areas with their own parking lots. Most people will want to stay close to the pier where you can enjoy swimming, jumping off the pier, kayaking etc. This is a great spot for the kids to play. Make your way further west and it is a good spot to surf. There is a fish taco truck near the river mouth or you can take food with you to save money. After dark this turns into a locals hangout. Most are friendly and will invite you to sit with them if you have a six pack of beer.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #23 of 240 things to do in Kauai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Very scenic 17/11/2018
    • great beach to spend the day at! 17/11/2018
    • Hanalei Bay
  • Hanalei Pier
    See more photos
    Dave C Says:

    Hanalei Pier is very picturesque and everyone should visit. Watch the kids jump off or jump off yourself!

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Enjoy the fish taco truck.
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 16 things to do in Hanalei
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Hanalei Pier 11/11/2018
    • Not sure why this is thing 28/10/2018
    • Hanalei Pier
    Phone:
    +1 800-464-2924
    Other:
  • Tunnels Beach
    Beaches
    See more photos
    Dave C Says:

    Tunnels is a bit of a drive and then it is a bit of a walk but once you arrive it is great. You can snorkel among the fish and the lava rocks. Expect to see the largest fish on the island here. Best snorkeling on the island. Pack a lunch as there is no food once you arrive.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Bring a paddle board, kayak or a body board.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #27 of 240 things to do in Kauai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Not accessible by road until further notice. Road Closed 09/11/2018
    • Best snorkeling on the island!! 02/11/2018
    • Tunnels Beach
    Address:
    7640 Kuhio Hwy
    Kauai, HI 96714
  • Anini Beach
    Beaches
    See more photos
    Dave C Says:

    This is my favorite beach on the island. There is a long stretch of sand fronted by a park. You can swim out as far as you want to go and easily stand up. Technically it is considered a dead reef but I see tons of fish at this location and usually turtles as well. The park has bathrooms and an eating area. Very quiet and beautiful.

    Good for
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #43 of 240 things to do in Kauai
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great swimming and snorkeling 17/11/2018
    • Beautiful mellow beach! 09/11/2018
    • Anini Beach
    Address:
    Anini Road
    off Kalihiwai Road, North Shore
    Kauai, HI
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